Daytona USA gets THEA Award from Entertainment Industry
17 September 1997
Entertainment Industry Salutes DAYTONA USA Attraction Honored with THEA Award for Outstanding Achievement DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Since its opening in July 1996, DAYTONA USA has celebrated the racing accomplishments of thousands of men and women who have competed in Daytona Beach since the early 1900s. On Saturday, Sept. 13, "The Ultimate Motorsports Attraction" celebrated its own accomplishments as it was honored with a Themed Entertainment Association THEA Award of Outstanding Achievement at a black-tie awards gala in Beverly Hills, Calif. Known as the "Oscars" of the entertainment industry, the THEA award is given to either an individual "achiever" or to a particular "achievement" for recent outstanding contributions to the themed entertainment industry. DAYTONA USA, located at the world-famous Daytona International Speedway, opened its doors to the public on July 5, 1996. The interactive attraction, the only one of its kind, received international acclaim in its first year of operation. Through a variety of hands-on activities and live shows designed for fans of all ages and all levels of racing interest, the attraction celebrates the world of motorsports at Daytona International Speedway and the history of racing in the Daytona Beach area dating back to 1903. Guests of the attraction can participate in a live pit stop competition, computer-design and video-test their own NASCAR Winston Cup stock car, "call" a famous Daytona race finish like professional broadcasters, interview famous racing personalities through laser-disc technology and much more. Additionally, visitors can witness the attraction's feature presentation, the high-energy experience of "The Daytona 500" ThunderRound-Sound_ movie. Following the movie, guests have an opportunity to have their picture taken with the actual race car which carried NASCAR superstar Jeff Gordon to the biggest victory of his young career in the 1997 Daytona 500. An additional must-see opportunity at DAYTONA USA is Western Auto's Parts America Speedway Tour which give fans a behind-the-scenes look at the 480-acre facility known as the "World Center of Racing." For the more adventurous, DAYTONA USA offers the Richard Petty Riding Experience, a once-in-a-lifetime three-lap ride in an authentic NASCAR Winston Cup stock car around the high banks of Daytona. The annual THEA selection process is handled by an Awards Committee, which is comprised of a representative group of professionals who thoroughly review nominees for consideration. During an unannounced visit in May 1997 by Nominating Committee Chairman Monty Lunde and TEA President Peter Chernack, DAYTONA USA was judged on various criteria. On June 23, 1997, International Speedway Corporation's (ISC) Executive Vice President Lesa Kennedy, the driving force behind the construction of DAYTONA USA, was notified by Lunde of DAYTONA USA's selection for the award. Kennedy, along with ISC President Jim France and DAYTONA USA General Manager Sarah Gurtis accepted the THEA award on ISC's behalf. Additionally, several members of the design and construction teams accompanied the group to the event at the Beverly Hills Hotel. For information on DAYTONA USA call (904) 947-6800. For ticket information to a Speedway event, call (904) 253-7223. For additional information on DAYTONA USA or any Daytona race event visit http://daytonausa.com.