After 2 1/2 year project, Daytona ready for use ahead of 2016 season

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As of today, hard hats are no longer required on the grounds of Daytona International Speedway.

That’s what track president Joie Chitwood III told The Daytona Beach News-Journal on Monday in an update on the $400 million “Daytona Rising” renovation project.

Tuesday marks the day where the 2.5-mile track should receive a signed certificate of occupancy from the Daytona Beach permits and licensing department, 2 1/2 years after the project began in July 2013.

“It will then be ‘in service.’ That doesn’t mean we still won’t be working on it,” Chitwood said of the project, which Sprint Cup drivers Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson gave their approval of on Saturday during the Rolex 24 at Daytona media day. “It means we have satisfied all the regulations, the zoning, the codes, to have a venue ready to go. We will continue to work on sponsorship areas, the video boards.”

The project, which transformed the historic track into a 101, 500 seat facility, will have its final details finished out of sight of race fans during the Rolex 24 at Daytona (Jan. 30-31) and the Daytona 500 (Feb. 21).

“It will be a couple of months after the Daytona 500 when we truly get through all the punch lists and all those final items,” Chitwood said. “There will be some things beyond that, but those are of a small nature. There is nothing left to do that would inhibit the public from the enjoyment of the stadium itself.”

So you can leave your hard hats at home when packing for Speedweeks.