Daytona 500 tickets to go on sale; reduction in seats could mean sellout

Tickets for NASCAR's most prestigious event go on sale Monday morning for the newly remodeled, decreased-capacity Daytona International Speedway grandstands.

With the removal of its backstretch grandstands and a $400 million overhaul of its frontstretch seating to a more modern, stadium-type structure, Daytona's seating capacity will decrease from 147,000 to 101,500 for the 2016 Daytona 500, which is scheduled for Feb. 22.

The reduction of seats could mean the first sellout of the Daytona 500 since 2008. The processing of renewals will be completed this weekend, and sales to the general public open at 9 a.m. Monday. A DIS spokesman declined to say how many tickets are available.

The speedway at one time sat 168,000 but began decreasing capacity in 2008 amid the economic downturn. Its parent company, the France-family-controlled International Speedway Corp., has reduced seats at most of its facilities to create an urgency for fans to purchase tickets and not wait on weather forecasts. Many tracks have widened seats and have torn down many non-frontstretch seats, which typically are further away from fan midways and don't have a view of prerace concerts and other prerace events.

Daytona already has removed its backstretch grandstands, so the seating capacity will be 50,000 of the new seats for its upcoming July 3-5 race weekend culminating in the Coke Zero 400 Sprint Cup race Sunday night on July 5. When complete, the new grandstands will feature thousands of club-type seats, 40 escalators, twice as many restrooms and three times as many concession stands.