15 Reasons Why We Loved the 2018 Edition
Our production team has had the privilege of producing a variety of events at the DAYTONA 500 for 19 years. After months of preparation, we oversaw a well-choreographed dance featuring VIP and partner introductions; a nationally-televised Rascal Flatts performance along with televised driver introductions; the national anthem with the United States Air Force Thunderbirds flyover, and the return of the 2017 Ford of Kurt Busch to its rightful owner. All this took place over the course of 125 minutes.
In celebration of the premier race, we are sharing 15 reasons why we loved the 2018 DAYTONA 500:
- Sunday, Feb. 18 marked the 60th Running of The Great American Race.
- More than 50 of our team members contributed to the DAYTONA 500’s myriad events.
- Leading up to the DAYTONA 500 weekend, the live shows team produced seven opening ceremonies, including Thursday’s Can-Am Duels, Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250, Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series PowerShares QQQ 300 and Sunday’s DAYTONA 500.
- Three designers from the creative services team produced eight stage designs for Daytona Speedweeks. Opening ceremonies required 153 individual pieces of signage, whilst 16 individual pieces of signage were ordered for the Daytona 500 drivers meeting.
- Four nationally-recognized VIPs graced the driver introduction stage, built by our Production team – former MLB third baseman Chipper Jones served as the honorary race official; former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning drove the pace car; actress and producer Charlize Theron waved the green flag, and former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the grand marshal.
- We enhanced the mandatory drivers meeting experience, for the 40 Daytona 500 drivers present, with a creative backdrop, lighting, scrim and fencing.
- Freightliner hospitality served up an exceptional experience that delighted more than 200 guests over four days, with visits by Jimmie Johnson, Jamie McMurray, Joey Logano and Eric Jones.
- Long-time TV partner, Fox Sports 1, returned with its EBay pit box, the first stop of 10 for the upcoming season.
- A Sunoco Injector display fuelled our efforts, which entailed custom show car stands at the DAYTONA 500. In addition, we custom-designed and produced seven Sunoco Instagram frames.
- Our production team unveiled a newly-designed concert stage for Rascal Flatts’ televised performance. Known as one of the hottest-selling touring acts in any genre, Rascal Flatts performed on a 21ft-tall x 40ft-wide main stage which featured our newest 16ft x 9ft Absen X3v LED walls.
- The driver introductions brought more excitement to the premier event, which featured a 53ft-wide x 8ft-deep x 12ft-tall stage adorned with a 172-foot catwalk.
- The drivers then loaded into red, white and blue Toyota Tundras that proudly displayed American Flags and Olympic-themed partner flags. Our production team also managed the logistics for the parade lap around the speedway.
- The team removed all evidence of the set within ten minutes of the conclusion of the driver introductions.
- The United States Air Force Thunderbirds roared overhead at 500 mph, as the Navy Band Southeast performed the last note of the national anthem.
- Seconds after the flyover passed, Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile continued the long tradition of formally handing the winning car from the previous year’s DAYTONA 500 back to the team owner. In this case, it was giving the No. 41 Ford of Kurt Busch back to Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas. We custom-built and managed the display riser and produced the run of show for the presentation.
While the victory burnouts of Austin Dillon are still fresh in the infield grass, plans for the 2019 DAYTONA 500 are already under way. Until next year…