The Daytona International Speedway recently underwent a complete transformation, evolving from a grandstand to the world’s only motorsports stadium. The $400 million renovation, which began in 2013 and was completed in 2016, changed everything about the iconic speedway, from the fan experience to the operational logistics to the facility’s security needs.

In the old facility, many operations areas were mixed with fan areas, as crews’ trucks or vehicles were accessible from fan walkways. In the new facility, fans are let into the stadium through five entrances, or “injectors,” leading them immediately up to level one, with access to social areas, concession stands, restrooms and more.

Using new escalators and elevators to move fans up and off the ground floor enabled the Daytona International Speedway staff to designate the ground floor the back of house or “service alley,” where no fans are allowed. This area can fit a full semi-truck to enable easier movement of goods and equipment, and it enables employees to do their jobs more efficiently without worrying about dodging wayward fans.

“The existing stadium was older and lacked fan amenities,” says Rodney Ward, Sr. Director of Venue Technology of the International Speedway Corporation. “We wanted to ensure fans are safe and secure and the back of house areas are protected.” For this, the Speedway was looking for a converged security solution.

According to Del Stokes, Senior Account Executive for the DAYTONA Rising’s security dealer and integrator Security 101, the Speedway officials knew exactly what they wanted in place: video analytics, access control and an all-new security system to go with the all-new stadium. Stokes and Security 101 recommended that the Speedway work with Honeywell’s product suites, which could meet the facility’s needs and specification list at a lower price point. Honeywell’s MAXPRO video management software is also camera-agnostic, so the project could proceed with a number of specialty cameras in high-risk or essential areas – including multi-megapixel video cameras from Arecont Vision – while using lower-cost cameras for general use.

The key, Stokes says, was to understand the expectations of the customer and communicate the critical objectives of the project with all parties.

However, the project wasn’t without some substantial challenges. Mainly, the Speedway had to remain operational during the entire renovation process, so one section of the Speedway was demolished and rebuilt at a time, and security had to be added gradually right alongside it.

In addition, the scale of the project was massive. The Daytona International Speedway’s frontstretch alone is nearly a mile long, and the project required 560 cameras, 260 access controlled doors and miles of cabling. Security 101 had to coordinate with other contractors on-site during the three-year process and strive to leave other events unimpeded by the installation.  

While the project had to be undertaken in small, carefully planned steps, selecting the correct, scalable, sustainable technology helped to enable a smoother transition. Previously, the Speedway relied primarily on manual locks for the back of house. Now, it runs on Power over Ethernet (PoE) IP-based locks (the ASSA ABLOY Profile lock series running on the Honeywell ProWatch security management suite) for the back of house and restricted access areas. The decision to use PoE helped the Speedway to utilize existing infrastructure and decrease operational maintenance needs. In addition, this enables security personnel to monitor the system remotely if needed.

The access control system is also compatible with the International Speedway Corporation’s headquarters across the street from the Speedway, which builds a cohesion to the facility’s security operations.

The Speedway moved away from pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras as well, moving toward more multi-megapixel video surveillance equipment, says Ward. “With PTZ, you only get what the camera is pointing at. With megapixel, we can capture more and use digital zoom for detail. It doesn’t require the operator to physically move the camera view,” which adds the risk for error, he adds.

Officials at the Speedway, law enforcement or even tenants or contractors could use the video data after the fact to apply analytics to measure area usage, traffic, signage popularity or needs.

To address storage needs, the Speedway uses different compression algorithms to reduce storage requirements, recording is triggered by movement, and video is only retained for a limited time. The saved storage space is utilized for digital signage.

As the project is wrapped up, fans can clearly see the difference in services and amenities, and Speedway personnel can feel the difference in the separation of guest areas and staff areas, and the technology solutions implemented help to ensure both sides of the DAYTONA International Speedway remain secured.