On July 5th, Cat® machines participated in the groundbreaking of DAYTONA Rising, a historic $400 million redevelopment project at Daytona International Speedway. The significance for Daytona parent company International Speedway Corporation (ISC) and Caterpillar Inc. is the long-standing 20-year partnership between the two companies. Additionally, the project marks the largest redevelopment ever at ISC’s 54-year-old flagship motorsports facility and is the first time a Cat 336E H Hydraulic Hybrid Excavator has been used for such a significant undertaking.
“There’s no better way to showcase our machines than through participation in the DAYTONA Rising groundbreaking,” said Greg Towles, manager of the Cat racing program. “When ISC asked us what machines would make sense for an event and project like this, we immediately thought of our new state-of-the-art hydraulic hybrid excavator.”
As part of the event, current and former NASCAR stars were pitted against each other in a competition to see who would win the opportunity to pilot the 336E H and actually break ground at Daytona. Current drivers Jeff Burton and Ryan Newman and Trevor Bayne and Greg Biffle competed against former NASCAR greats Darrell Waltrip and crew chief Larry McReynolds in a unique relay race. Each had to operate a Cat 950K Wheel Loader safely through a course with skill and speed, and the team of Bayne and Biffle came out on top.
“When I was approached to do the competition, I was excited because we use Cat equipment at my rock quarry business in Virginia, and I understand the importance of owning fuel-efficient equipment,” said Biffle. “We have a Cat 980 Wheel Loader, so I may have had the upper hand. Trevor and I spent time strategizing because we wanted to win and be the first in the seat of the new hybrid. Being the first person to use the hybrid to break ground for the new grandstands at Daytona was truly an honor.”
The vision for the redevelopment of the Daytona International Speedway places an emphasis on enhancing the complete fan experience while celebrating the history of the speedway and its many unforgettable moments throughout more than 50 years of racing. Every seat will be replaced with wider and more comfortable seats, and more restrooms and concession stands will be added throughout the facility.
Before that work begins, however, site preparation using more Cat gear will take place. And that’s where Mark Scott, president of RA Scott Construction, comes in. His company now owns the 336E H Hybrid Excavator used in the groundbreaking and many other Cat machines.
“Over the next 90 days or so, our company will be removing existing utilities and installing new storm, sewer, and water lines for the speedway,”l said Scott. “We’ll be using the 336E H Hybrid Excavator along with a standard 336E, a 320E, a 314E, two D3Ks, and three 938Ks. We are really looking forward to seeing the fuel savings from the new hybrid Cat.”
The redevelopment is expected to be complete by January 2016—just in time for the 58th DAYTONA 500.
“The redevelopment of Daytona International Speedway reaffirms its status as the ‘World Center of Racing’ for years to come,” said Lesa France Kennedy, ISC vice chairperson and CEO and granddaughter of NASCAR co-founder Bill France Sr. “It is imperative that we build upon my grandfather’s vision to create a world-class facility with premium amenities to provide unparalleled experiences for our guests and partners. Doing so will ensure that the DAYTONA 500 and all our other events continue to drive our business while serving as a significant economic engine for the region.”
More information on the groundbreaking, including a video of the Cat gear and NASCAR drivers in action, can be found at www.daytonarising.com.