DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 14, 2024) – It was one Valentine’s Day Brendon Smith and Candie Handyside didn’t have to make a reservation. Happily munching on hot dogs served up by Daytona International Speedway track president Frank Kelleher, the couple was thrilled to be spending the year’s most romantic holiday with hundreds of other race fans at the World Center of Racing.

Jennifer Southern and her family from Winston-Salem, North Carolina enjoy Valentine’s Day at the Daytona International Speedway. Flagler News Weekly

Scoring tickets from her sister, a season passholder, they arrived from Seattle, Washington to experience their first ever Daytona 500.

“This is like the best Valentine’s Day gift ever,” Handyside said.

Surrounded by family, Jennifer Southern didn’t need a fancy dinner either to cap off her Valentine’s Day. Enjoying the complimentary hot dogs, she and her family were just excited to be there from Winston Salem, North Carolina.

Fans hold a flag to be autographed by their favorite drivers during the 2024 Speedweeks events. Flagler News Weekly

“It’s awesome. If we can come every year, we’re always here,” she said, a fan of Noah Gragson, who was among the NASCAR drivers signing autographs just steps away.

“We’re all mixed up, none of us like the same driver,” said Southern, laughing.

Daytona Internatinal Speedway Track President Frank Kelleher serves up “Franks with Frank” on Wednesday afternoon. Flagler News Weekly

As part of the Speedweeks presented by AdventHealth, a number of fan-based activities are taking place at and around the Daytona International Speedway including Camperfest, welcoming race fans from across the United States as they settle in for the week with their campers and RVs.

Noah Gragson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Erik Jones Sign Autographs for fans. Flagler News Weekly

Getting cozy, neighbors have set up pop up cantinas, barbecue stations, and even recreated living rooms between some of the most luxurious RVs out there. It’s a welcoming, safe community of people who look forward to getting together and seeing each other at the races according to Kerri Henderson.

“Like this gentleman said here, it’s like the first day of school,” said Henderson. “We get to see all of our friends again here at Camperfest. The same people camp pretty much every year and it’s nice to see everybody. We’re all friends here and we’re here for one reason, NASCAR and to root on our favorite drivers this weekend.”

Wednesday’s qualifying event are among several leading up to the main event on Sunday, February 18th where the Daytona International Speedway will host the 66th running of the Daytona 500, starting at 2:30 p.m.

Visit for details.

Kerri Henderson and friends kick it off with Camperfest on Wednesday, nabbing commemorative branded gear as part of the first 200 fans. Flagler News Weekly
Corey LaJoie, Joey Logano and Austin Dillon sign autographs for fans on Wednesday, February 14, 2024 to kick off Speedweeks at the Daytona International Speedway. Flagler News Weekly
Happy campers wait for an autograph at the Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2024. Flagler News Weekly