car racing

Formula 1 fans race out of Austin – with souvenirs

Austin Formula 1

Austin is hosting the Formula One United States Grand Prix this weekend and thousands of race fans are passing through Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Passenger traffic at the airport is expected to be the highest on Sunday night (Nov 2) and on Monday, (Nov 3), as race fans head home. So to help the process go smoothly AUS airport is offering expanded customer services, special post-race live music send-offs and a special website section.

Sunday is Souvenir Sunday at, so we should also mention that the airport shops will be offering official licensed F1 and Circuit of the Americas merchandise, including t-shirts, caps, mugs, lanyards and books.

Live music performances start Sunday afternoon with a performance by the Flying Balalaika Brothers at 4:30 p.m. More live music is scheduled on Monday Nov. 3 from 9 a.m. until 6:30 p.m, with a total of 12 music performances to be held Sunday and Monday.

Indy 500 cars displayed at IND Airport

The Indianapolis 500 takes place in about a month and Indianapolis International Airport is revving up for the race with a new display of some vintage race cars.


This 1950 Russo–Nichels Special, known as “Basement Bessie,” was built by driver Paul Russo and chief mechanic Ray Nichels in the basement of Russo’s home in Hammond, Ind. and had to be partially dismantled in order to move it to the ground floor. Look for this car on Concourse A near the exit to Civic Plaza.

IND _Mickey Thompson

1962 Mickey Thompson Harvey Aluminum Special

Look for this car on Concourse B near the exit to Civic Plaza

(Photos courtesy Indianapolis International Airport)

Daytona International Speedway reaches for the sky

Daytona history photo

Auto-to-plane transfer stunt on Daytona Beach. 1921. State Library and Archives of Florida, via Flickr Commons.

They’ve come a long way in Daytona since the days when stock cars were raced on the beach and catching a plane was this easy.

Now they race the cars at Daytona International Speedway – the site of last Sunday’s Daytona 500 and a slew of other big races.

And now that NASCAR’s biggest and most prestigious race is over, work can resume on the major renovation underway at the Speedway, which first opened in 1959.

“In the sports world, you’re seeing massive investment in infrastructure, specifically new football, baseball and basketball venues,” said Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood. “And if you’ve been to a new arena and then come to a property like ours that’s more than 50 years old, there’s a stark difference.”

“We decided we’d have to make improvements,” said Chitwood. “And instead of Band-aiding this or that, we decided to go all in.”

The $400 million, 2½-year project should be finished in 2016.

DAYTONA Rising, as the upgrade project is called, includes the rebuilding of the front stretch of the grandstand, which seats more than 100,000 and runs for nearly a mile along the 2.5-mile tri-oval track.

New Daytona International Speedway

Source: Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Rising is a complete overhaul of the racetrack facilities to offer more opportunities for both fans and sponsors.


When complete, there will be five new entrances leading fans into a taller grandstand with three new concourse levels and football field-sized social areas. New amenities will include the speedway’s first escalators, 14 new elevators, twice as many restrooms, five dozen luxury track-side suites, more than 101,000 wider, more comfortable grandstand seats and technology for watching the action and telling others about it.

“The younger generation, especially, expects all these things in sports arenas now, and they expect to be able to be totally connected,” said Chitwood, “So our goal is to go from being a race track to being a motor sports stadium.”

The upgrades also appear to dovetail with some of NASCAR’s goals, which include expanding beyond the mostly white, male fan base and appealing to the millennial generation and a more diverse fan base.

“We’re investing in a lot of new technology in the sport to attract the new fan and this new facility does that as well with all digital innovations that will be inclusive and encourage more fan engagement,” said Brent Dewar, NASCAR’s chief operating officer.

The upgrades extend beyond the speedway grounds: The Daytona International Speedway Corp. has partnered with Jacoby Development to build ONE DAYTONA, a $1.2 billion, 181-acre, mixed-used entertainment, dining and retail center across from the speedway that will operate year-round.

“ONE DAYTONA is not ‘Speedway Station.’ We won’t have checkerboard sidewalks,” said Brian Leary, managing director of Jacoby Development. “But it will come alive during activities at the track and provide an alternative and option for those attending the events.”

Fans who do attend events at the speedway “are a little different than those that attend other sports events,” said Leary. “They come earlier, stay later and travel farther to do so,” and spend an estimated $1.2 billion in the Daytona community throughout the year.

“I understand there will be a promenade and lots of technological improvements,” said Berry Chatas, 45, of Winter Haven, Fla., who attends several NASCAR events at Daytona International Speedway each year with his wife Carol, 44. “But Daytona will always be Daytona and full of race history. The improvements— especially those wider seats—will just make it cooler.”

NASCAR  Nationwide Quailiyfing session

(My story about upgrades to Daytona International Speedway first appeared on CNBC Road Warrior in a slightly different version.)


Vintage Indy 500 cars at Indianpolis Int’l Airport

Car racing fan?

Then you might like the fresh set of vintage Indianapolis 500 race cars that are on display at the Indianapolis International Airport (IND).

IND 14 car

The #14 Bardahl Special led more laps of the 1966 Indianapolis 500 than any other car.

Driver Lloyd Ruby took the lead from defending world champion Jim Clark on lap 65 and proceeded to lead 68 of the next 86 laps. Just when it appeared the race might be Ruby’s, a chronic oil leak developed, causing the car to be black-flagged twice and finally retired after 166 of the 200 laps. In the summer of 1968, sporting a different paint job, it was one of the cars used in the making of the motion picture “Winning” starring Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Robert Wagner

Find it: on Concourse A near the exit to Civic Plaza.



“This car appeared at Indianapolis three times, driven in 1957 and 1958 by Rodger Ward (winner of the “500” in 1959 and 1962, but in different cars) and in 1959 by Len Sutton (who finished second to Ward in 1962, also in another car). Although it was entered each time with a 170-cubic-inch supercharged Offenhauser engine, it was decided for 1958 to switch to a more standard 255-cubic-inch non-supercharged version. Ward was running second in 1958 when a magneto failed after 93 laps, but later that summer he won the prestigious 200-mile race at Milwaukee.”

Find it: on Concourse B near the exit to Civic Plaza

Austin airport revs up for US Formula 1 Grand Prix

Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, United States of America. Sunday 18th November 2012. World Copyright:Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic  ref: Digital Image _79P7324

Austin is hosting the United States Formula 1 Grand Prix again this year and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is revved up and ready to deal with the crowds that will begin arriving on Wednesday, November 13.

On deck: everything from extra customer service representatives in “Feel the Rush” t-shirts to special post-race live music send-offs and a race-specific website.