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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Riding Motorsports’ Momentum, NASCAR Set to Open With Sellout

  • Sellout for NASCAR's marquee race comes days before the Cup Series kicks off on Sunday.
  • Seating capacity at Daytona International Speedway is 31% less than it was a decade ago.
A view of the crowd, track, and fighter jet flyover before the Daytona 500.
Mike Ehrmann/NASCAR for Getty Images

Just days before NASCAR’s season-opening Daytona 500, the racing series announced a complete sellout of Sunday’s race.

Monday’s sellout announcement included Daytona’s fan zone and hospitality slots. Tickets for the race — which will again be broadcast by Fox — on the secondary market started at $150 as of Tuesday.

With the strong showing at the venue, the Daytona 500 hopes the trend of broadcast eyeballs continues to improve. After significant drops in viewership in 2020 and 2021 due to delays and shortened races, 2022 saw a rise of 8.9 million viewers after seeing 4.8 million in 2021.

The eighth consecutive sellout for NASCAR’s marquee race comes nearly a month after Daytona International Speedway president Frank Kelleher said all the grandstand seats and camping spots had been sold. 

It’s a bit easier to sell out at the famed 2.5-mile oval these days. 

  • Before 2013’s “Daytona Rising” renovation, which was completed before the 2016 race, seating capacity was 147,000
  • About 46,000 backstretch grandstand seats were removed as part of recent downsizing efforts (Atlanta, 17,000 seats removed; Charlotte, 41,000). 
  • Daytona currently has 101,500 permanent seats — a 31% reduction compared to 2013.

Johnson Returns

The Daytona 500 has kicked off the NASCAR Cup Series schedule since 1982, although the racing schedule has had a soft launch since 2022 with the Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the latest edition being held on Sunday. 

Seven-time Cup Series champion and two-time Daytona 500 winner Jimmie Johnson, who retired from stock car racing in 2020, will return to action. He’ll be one of 42 driver/car combinations competing for 40 slots at Thursday’s Bluegreen Vacations Duel races, which will set the field for Daytona.

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