Thursday, October 5, 2017 : From Saint Augustine to Crystal River


We are cursed.

 

We already came to Daytona Beach in March 1996, under a pouring rain. We come again in October 2017 ... under a pouring rain. Yes, we really have to be cursed !

 

There's of course no point in attempting to drive at 10 mph on the beach. First, it's high tide, and then the enduring wind, the rain that does not stop and the algae spread everywhere de not allow that. Too bad, we have to do with a few grayish pics.

 

20171005 000 001 540

Daytona International Speedway

 

We visit Daytona International Speedway, the auto race track built just outside Daytona Beach in 1959, when NASCAR promoters at last understood the hazards of a race that was half-beach, half-downtown boulevard. Today the speedway hosts all kinds of events : motorbikes, go-karts, and most North American car racing series : Indycar, IMSA and, of course, NASCAR.

 

The visit takes 90 minutes and is commented by Gary, who can find something to say, or, rather, to yell, at any point of the circuit. Everything goes, from the arcane rules of Victory Lane to the even more arcane technical inspections performed before and after each race. I can't see time elapse. A part about the main video control room has to be shortened due to the persisting rain but, for the remainder, it's extremely detailed. Thanks, Gary.

 

20171005 000 002 540

The 2017 Daytona 500 winner NASCAR Ford

 

The guided tour ends with the circuit museum, which showcases plenty of cars, artefacts, and a Hall of Fame of champions dating back from the origins of the racetrack to the current year. Of course, the visit would not be complete without the inescapable gift shop.

 

Then under a pouring rain (for a change ...), we take the road again. We cross Florida East to West, to Crystal River, where we are very kindly greeted by the organizer of our excursion tomorrow.

 

The weather seems to be getting slightly better, I am cautiously more optimistic. Anyway, we'll see.