Published February 11, 2019
First downs at Daytona International Speedway? It could happen.
Not during NASCAR’s Daytona 500, but in a football game.
The idea of hosting one at the track has been bouncing around for a couple of years now, and the facility’s public relations director, Andrew Booth, told Forbes that it is still under consideration.
When the track was renovated ahead of the 2017 NASCAR season, the designers made sure that the strip of grass in front of the main grandstands that divides the racing line from pit lane was wide enough to fit a football field.
With a seating capacity of 101,000 in the grandstand alone, Daytona could potentially have a larger attendance than Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at the University of Florida, which maxes out around at 90,000.
It wouldn’t be the first time there’s been a gridiron next to the starting grid, either. Several high school and college games were held at the track between when it opened in 1959 through 1975.
It also wouldn’t be the first time in recent years that there was a football game at a major NASCAR track. The stadium-style Bristol Motor Speedway broke an NCAA record in 2016 when it held a game between the University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech that drew over 156,000 fans, and the track is looking to do it again with yet to be determined teams.
Of course, neither track has anything like the football history of Winston-Salem’s Bowman Gray Stadium, which has been the home of the Winston-Salem State University Rams alongside NASCAR-sanctioned stock car racing since 1956.