Scheduled for Sunday, February 23rd, the Daytona 500 is perhaps the most recognizable event in professional racing. The 500-mile-long race has been the opening race for the Sprint Cup Series since 1982, and will kick off the racing season once again this year.
The Daytona 500 is the final race of Budweiser Speedweeks, which is a series of races at Daytona Motor Speedway throughout January and February leading up to The Great American Race. Daytona 500 tickets for this year’s race have risen in price over last year, currently selling for an average of $259.70 on the secondary market. This is a 3.2% increase over last year’s average price of $251.58. Both of those prices reflect substantial increases from the 2012 average price of $194.79, working out to about a 25% price increase over the two year span. Relative to other NASCAR tickets this season, the Daytona 500 remains one of the most expensive races to attend. Only the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway has a higher average ticket price, at $355 dollars. Although prices for this year’s Daytona 500 are high, the $73 dollar get-in price for the race is a bit lower than last year’s least expensive ticket of $95, so there are still bargains to be had.
Despite awarding Sprint Cup points in the same fashion as any other race, the Daytona 500 carries by far the largest purse of any event on the calendar. Because of this in addition to its institutionalization within racing culture, the Daytona 500 is recognized as the most prestigious and important of the NASCAR season. The weekend surrounding the Daytona 500, including qualifying, is filled with events that serve as the racing equivalent of those during Super Bowl weekend. For racing fans, the Daytona 500 is their Super Bowl of sorts– turning Daytona Beach, FL into one big NASCAR party for the entire week leading up to the race.