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Lighting Up Daytona

5 July 1997

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - Daytona International Speedway will light up the night on July 4, 1998 for the 40th running of the NASCAR Winston Cup Pepsi 400.

DIS and International Speedway Corporation officials announced the ambitious project during a press conference held today at the speedway.

"Although the 4th of July is already synonymous with good times and big gatherings," said John Graham, Daytona International Speedway President, "next year's Pepsi 400 will be the largest celebration in the country. As the lights go on, more than 40 of NASCAR's greatest starts will compete at night in a theater-like setting which is sure to be the greatest sports spectacle of the country."

The event will be the first stock car race held at night in the more than 39-year history at the famed race track.

Graham continued, "We're partnering with Musco Lighting, the leaders in sports and large-scale lighting, to put up more than 130 light poles with 2200 fixtures around Daytona's 2.5-mile tri-oval."

The main motivation behind lighting the speedway according to Graham is, "because the fans asked for it. They've asked for it directly through letters and phone calls and they've also requested it indirectly through their overwhelming support of other big-time night races."

Among those on hand for the announcement was seven-time Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt. "Leave it to the Frances and the NASCAR family to do something bigger and better," he said. "They're always doing something exciting. I know every driver is going to have a different opinion about racing under the lights but NASCAR's been doing it for a lot of years. When I drove into this place in 1976, I never thought I'd be racing here. Then I got to racing here and I never thought we'd be racing under the lights. I think it's a pretty exciting venture. We've had some great races under the lights at other tracks and I'm sure Daytona can do it even better."

Lori Vizza - The Auto Channel