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A view of the future central entrance, or "Injector," envisioned for the revamped Daytona International Speedway. (Image by Rossetti) 

Daytona International Speedway, one of NASCAR's preeminent racetracks, used the spotlight of its July 4th weekend racing events to announce the pending start of a $400-million renovation of its grandstands. Barton Malow Co. and architectural firm Rossetti, both of Southfield, Mich., will lead the design-build project, slated to finish by January 2016.

A Barton Malow press release touted the project's aspirations as "emphasiz(ing) a complete street-to-seat fan experience ... that will immerse fans in the experience." In place of the current grandstand will be a modern, 120-ft-high structure that run for nearly a mile along the track's front straightaway. Additionally, the contractor states the project—dubbed Daytona Rising—will replace seating, reconstruct the existing tower, add amenities and improve  the facility's access and egress.

Speedway officials had been seeking some financial help from the state of Florida, in the form of a $2 million-per-year break on property taxes for a period of 30 years. But the legislature failed to approve a proposed subsidy for the Daytona speedway—and also rejected stipends for other sports facilities in Miami and Orlando. While some speculated that setback would stop the project, International Speedway Corp.—the speedway's owner—nevertheless went ahead with what it is calling "the single largest investment" in the company's history.

The need for some kind of upgrade was evident this past February, when a multi-car crash occurred in front of the grandstands during one of the races leading up to the Daytona 500. Debris, including a tire from one of the cars, flew up into the stands, injuring 28 fans.

The Daytona International Speedway posted this video to Youtube touting the Daytona Rising project.

Notable in its own right, the project also marks the beginning of a slate of sports-related construction projects planned around the Southeast. Most notable among those, of course, is the new Atlanta Falcons statdium project, estimated at $1 billion, to be built by a team led by Holder Construction and Hunt Construction Group. But there are others.

For instance, Orlando is moving forward with improvements to the city-owned Citrus Bowl—as well as discussing ways to build a new Major League Soccer stadium. The National Football League's Jacksonville Jaguars are moving ahead with $63 million in upgrades to EverBank Field. Duke University is still planning to upgrade its football stadium in Durham, N.C. And Rodgers Builders, Barton Malow and R.J. Leeper Construction are constructing a minor-league baseball park in Charlotte, N.C.

Stay tuned for more information about the speedway's renovations, as well as developments related to the Southeast's other major sports projects.