DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Immediately following the 56th annual DAYTONA 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race last Sunday, construction began in the tri-oval area between pit road and the start/finish line to create the demanding and challenging course for the Daytona Supercross By Honda, scheduled for Saturday night, March 8.
On Thursday, Supercross legend and five-time Daytona Supercross By Honda champion Ricky Carmichael, who is serving as the course designer for the seventh straight year, paid a visit to the “World Center of Racing” to view the on-going construction.
“It’s really special to be able to be associated with Daytona International Speedway,” Carmichael said as he walked the course on Thursday. “I love this place, I really do. Five-time winner and my heart is here. I’m a Florida native. It’s an honor to be affiliated with Daytona, and to have the chance to design this track is special. I take it seriously and I’m thankful for the opportunity.”
Carmichael retired from Supercross in 2007 as the most decorated rider in history with 15 AMA championships and 150 wins.
This year’s Ricky Carmichael Signature Design course is similar to last year’s layout with some tweaks.
The starting gate will remain on pit road providing fans with a great view of the first turn and riders will have to conquer 40 jumps and two whoop sections over the 3,290 foot course.
“I think that what makes this track cool as opposed to other Supercross tracks is that it is somewhat of an outdoor track,” Carmichael said. “It has a lot of those kinds of obstacles. (It’s) real sandy and not as congested, but way rougher than a traditional Supercross track. This is really where you see who is tough and who isn’t. That’s what’s so cool. There’s a lot of history behind this Supercross race and it’s just very prestigious because of those factors of it being rougher and really the toughest track on the circuit.”
Daytona International Speedway has been home to the original Supercross since 1971 – the longest continuous Supercross event in America – and this marks the 23rd year that Honda has sponsored the event.
Among the Supercross greats that have captured the Daytona Supercross By Honda include Bob Hannah, Jeff Stanton, Jeremy McGrath, Carmichael and Ryan Villopoto, who has won the event three out of the past four years.
Here’s a look at some of the numbers behind the construction of this year’s Daytona Supercross By Honda course:
264 – Number of truck loads of dirt
5,000 – Number in tons of dirt
8 – Number of trucks used to transport the dirt into the Speedway
2 – Number of days to bring all of the dirt into the track
40 – Number of jumps on the Supercross course
2 – Number of whoop sections
450 –Number of tuff blocks with Honda covers for safety
3,280 – Mileage in feet of the Supercross course
500 – Number of man-hours (approximate) to set up the Daytona Supercross By Honda course
In addition, one crawler, one front loader and two skid steers are used to move the dirt during construction.
The paddock for Supercross teams will again be staged in the blue garages, which are located adjacent to the Sprint FANZONE and provide easy access for the fans.
On Sunday and Monday in the Ricky Carmichael Amateur Supercross, the amateur Supercross racers will have an opportunity to test their skills on the same course used in the Daytona Supercross By Honda. For more information on the Ricky Carmichael Amateur Supercross, visitwww.racedaytona.com.
For more information and tickets for the Daytona Supercross By Honda, visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.
Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for the latest news all season long. Fans can also follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising on Twitter or visiting www.daytonarising.com.