The iconic Daytona International Speedway, The World Center of Racing, is known for a host of momentous events, like the DAYTONA 500 and the upcoming Coke Zero Sugar 400 on August 28th. However, there are other activities at the speedway that end up attracting thousands of fans throughout the year. Track Tours, offered daily, are prime examples, thanks to the skilled, educated, and enthusiastic tour guides who help create life-long memories of guests.
There are two different kinds of Tours - the Speedway Tour and the VIP Tour. The Speedway Tour is an hour-long experience that takes fans to multiple areas of interest on the track and inside the infield including the start/finish line, the 31-degree banking, Ruoff Mortgage Victory Lane, the Axalta Injector, and an incredible view of the 2.5-mile trioval from tower seating. In addition, there is a stop at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, filled with historical artifacts from all types of racing, including the actual car that Michael McDowell drove to victory in the 2021 DAYTONA 500 in February. The VIP Tour is 2.5 hours and has the same offerings as the Speedway Tour, but the VIP Tour also stops at the NASCAR Archives and Research Center and the Press Box. Both tours include a digital photo package.
What separates the Daytona International Speedway Tours from other similar experiences is the passionate and knowledgeable Tram Tour guides. They come from many different backgrounds, and all share a deep love for NASCAR and the historic track and express those feelings to race fans in a unique way to make guests have the ultimate experience at the ultimate venue. While on the Tram Tour, each guide speaks to guests via a PA system within their truck before getting out at different destinations for one-on-one time with all guests.
“We have a Reverend and a Preacher, a fire fighter and a teacher as our guides. There are also former press members from both television and print,” said Dave Tlstovic, Speedway Senior Manager, Tours and Guest Transportation. “Each of them has their individual personalities and styles, but all share the same passion for this incredible track. The diverse group of men and women that has assembled here over the years is what makes it a pleasure for me to come to work each and every day.”
Editor’s Note: To see additional photos of DIS Tram/Tour drivers and logo, click here.
“All the fans have interesting stories and questions,” said Tram/Tour Guide Jim Andrews. “I intentionally strike up a conversation with all of them prior to the start of their tour. I like to get to know them before we fire up the engine of my truck (that pulls the tram).”
Andrews is 59 years old, and originally from Kansas City, Missouri. He initially moved to Lake City, Florida, but in 2010 moved to Daytona Beach. In 2014 he applied to be a tram “race weekend event” driver but, after waiting seven years, he applied for a year-round tour guide position and was hired in late 2020.
“Listening to people who are visiting for the first time, and then hearing them say that they are now NASCAR fans and wanting to go to a race after the tour, makes me excited to learn even more myself about our sport’s entire history.”
Tour Guide Jeff Lantzer also has a story to tell. Growing up in the same town as Mario Andretti (the 1967 DAYTONA Champion) - Nazareth, Pennsylvania - Lantzer, 63, was always a fan of the IndyCar Series. He was a teacher for almost 30 years, and moved to Port Orange, Florida to bring his daughter to a private school that helped students with learning disabilities. In 2011, he began working at Daytona International Speedway for events because he lost his teaching job due to cutbacks. After six years of doing events, he was asked to be a tour guide.
“I just love being around people, and we meet people from all over the world” said Lantzer. “Just the interaction with the people, also the tour guides that I work with, it’s just a lot of fun. You know, coming to work is a lot of fun and it’s because of who I work with - the guests and our team here at DIS. I love this place and the sport of NASCAR.”
Ray Stephens is a 69-year-old retired public speaker who made his way to Daytona by getting a job with the Daytona Beach News Journal. After working at the Journal for around 30 years, a friend’s wife made Stephens aware of the opportunity to be a Speedway Tour Guide.
“I like talking to our guests. I know this place pretty well because I’ve been here so long, and I’ve been involved with what’s happened here in Daytona, specifically at the Speedway,” said Stephens. “So, when people ask about different historical things at the track, in most cases, I was right there. I watched it when this or that happened, especially the last 30 years. It’s been pretty interesting to share some experiences with so many people.”
The Daytona International Speedway has been a special place in the state of Florida since 1959, with so many memorable, historical moments. The Speedway Tram Tours are a great way to relive the past, see the present and learn about what is, indeed, The World Center of Racing. Thanks to these tour guides, the Speedway Tours will have a lasting impression on the fans.
The Speedway Tour runs daily and leaves every 30 minutes beginning at 9:30 a.m. with the last tour of the day running at 3:00 p.m. These tours last about 60 minutes. Tickets for the Speedway Tour are $25 for adults, $20 for kids ages 5 to 12 and free for kids under 4. The VIP Tour runs every Tuesday and Thursday at 1:00 p.m. Tickets are $47 per person. Both types of tour tickets can be purchased online at www.