Daytona International Speedway suffers “moderate damage” from Hurricane Matthew

Daytona International Speedway suffered moderate damage from Hurricane Matthew Friday with impacts to lights, speakers, signage, fences, gates, awnings and palm trees but no flooding. (Getty Images photo from July 2016)
Daytona International Speedway suffered moderate damage from Hurricane Matthew Friday with impacts to lights, speakers, signage, fences, gates, awnings and palm trees but no flooding. (Getty Images photo from July 2016)
Daytona International Speedway suffered moderate damage from Hurricane Matthew Friday with impacts to lights, speakers, signage, fences, gates, awnings and palm trees but no flooding. (Getty Images photo from July 2016)

Daytona International Speedway suffered moderate damage from Hurricane Matthew Friday with impacts to lights, speakers, signage, fences, gates, awnings and palm trees.  The category 3 Hurricane roared up the east coast of Florida overnight Thursday into Friday.

The storm weakened from a category 4 to a category 3, and never made official landfall, passing by Daytona Beach Friday afternoon and evening, with some winds over 100 miles per hour near the beaches. The Speedway is about 5 miles from the coast.

Along Florida’s coast south of Daytona Beach, there was widespread damage and as of Friday evening at least four fatalities in the State.

Initial damage reports from Volusia County, where the Speedway is, showed somewhat heavier damage than areas to the south.  Friday evening the beach area was still closed and power was out in most of the area.  The Speedway underwent a multi-million dollar renovation in the last few years with much of the speedway getting new facilities, including new grandstand areas.

In a press release issued by the Speedway Friday evening, the Speedway said they are once again serving as a staging area for Florida Power & Light crews, as they did during Tropical Storm Fay in 2008.

The Speedway also addressed photos circulating on social media Friday that purported to show massive flooding at the track.  Those photos actually came from flooding at the Speedway during a heavy rain event in 2009.

“There was no flood damage to the facility from Hurricane Matthew,” the statement said.

The Speedway said they will be closed Saturday and Sunday for cleanup and to support recovery efforts for the rest of the area.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been impacted by this weather system,” the statement said.

Hurricane Matthew had weakened to a category 1 storm by Friday evening as it continued its slow march up the east coast. It impacted NASCAR events at Charlotte Motor Speedway Friday as outer bands from the storm brought rain to that speedway forcing NASCAR to cancel on-track activity for the day.  The Xfinity race scheduled for Friday was rescheduled for Sunday.  The Sprint Cup race is still on schedule for Saturday night.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.