2020 Florida Speedweek – Itinerary
NASCAR have now announced their 2020 race schedule and although there are many changes on it in relation to race dates at tracks across the country, there has been no alteration to the Daytona 500 and its associated Florida Speedweek events.
The 2020 Daytona 500 will be raced on Sunday February 16th and you can readily assume that the World of Outlaws, the All Stars and USAC will schedule their racing at Volusia Speedway and other tracks accordingly.
Hence our Florida tour in 2020 is now offered for sale. If sufficient participants confirm their intention to travel with us, then the tour will leave January 27th 2020 and would return to Australia on February 20th. You will have 21 nights away.
Our next Florida Speedweek tour will depart Australia on January 27th 2020, returning February 20th 2020.
The 2012, 2014 and 2018 tours were extremely well received, but we believe that running it as a special event tour makes it more attractive. And therefore likely to receive sufficient customer interest to ensure that each time we offer it, it’ll be a goer.
The 2020 itinerary is set out below following confirmation from the Daytona Speedway that the 500 will be raced on Sunday February 16th 2020. The World Racing Group, who control the activities of the World of Outlaws, have not yet scheduled their Winternationals at Volusia Speedway to coincide with these dates. But when they do the dates should be from Wed Feb 5th through to the 15th 2020. We do reserve the right to alter the dates of the tour should that not be the case when their 2020 calendar is released. But that is highly unlikely.
If you’re a sprintcar fan who always goes to Warrnambool for the Grand Annual Classic, then luck is on your side. Departing Australia on Tuesday January 28th gives you time to return home and then head for the nearest airport to start your holiday of a lifetime.
We invite you to settle in and read the itinerary about the fun and the places you will go to, should you be able to join us in 2020.
If you just want the short version of the itinerary, then here it is in table format.
And if you need further incentive to whet your appetite, then please click on the two following links to read the Blogs as they recorded the fun and adventures of Florida 2012, Florida 2014 and Florida 2018.
Just let us know of your interest.
And now brand new to our website is the opportunity to watch the movie of our 2012 Florida tour. All 12 chapters starting from San Francisco and ending at Daytona Beach. You can start by clicking here. If you are prompted for a password at any stage use florida12
And don’t forget that every word or phrase in the itinerary below which is highlighted in orange, is a live link that you can click on to get further info.
Day 1: Tuesday January 28th 2020
(We recommend that where possible tour members from outside of Sydney should catch domestic flights from their home towns the previous day [Monday] in order to have sufficient time on Tuesday morning to fulfil check-in obligations at Sydney International Airport. We can arrange accommodation for you at nearby Airport Hotels.)
Today you’ll have a mid morning departure from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane travelling through the night to arrive in San Francisco early on the morning of the same day. After clearing Customs and Immigration, we will board our shuttle service to drive into San Francisco to spend the first of three days and nights in one of the world’s most exciting cities.
You’ll be staying at the Handlery Hotel in Geary Street just off Powell, which is the starting point for the Cable Car. Adjacent to Union Square, this Hotel is wonderfully located for everything you have ever wanted to see in San Francisco. Nothing organised officially today, but you can either sleep, or begin to plan the huge array of things to see. Why not start using your included three day Muni Visitor pass which allows unlimited rides on the City buses, the historic streetcars and the iconic cable cars.
Day 2: Wednesday January 29th 2020
After awaking refreshed today you’ll see why San Francisco is acknowledged as one of the world’s greatest cities. Included in your tour price is a two day Hop on Hop off Big Bus Tour pass which will allow you to explore San Fran at your leisure and your own pace during the day and at night. Unlike most other Double Decker bus tour companies operating in the city, this tour will also take you across the Golden Gate Bridge to allow you to see it from the north side and visit Sausalito by separate connection trolley.
If you start your day early enough, with some luck the Bridge may still be shrouded in fog which will then clear in typical San Francisco fashion to a bright and beautiful day. At night we’ll have an optional group dinner in Fisherman’s Wharf followed by a cable car trip back to the Hotel.
Day 3: Thursday January 30th 2020
One of the absolute “must do” things in San Francisco is to visit Alcatraz and experience this incredible sightseeing attraction. Alcatraz and history go hand in hand. Once home to some of America’s most notorious criminals, the federal penitentiary which operated on the island from 1934 to 1963 brought a dark mystique to the Rock. The presence of infamous inmates like Al “Scarface” Capone and the “Birdman” Robert Stroud helped to establish the island’s notoriety. To this day, Alcatraz is best known as the world’s most legendary prison and this morning you will be out there on the bay. Your admission tickets and the Ferry ride out to Alcatraz are inclusions in your tour price.
The afternoon can be spent at your leisure walking around Fisherman’s Wharf sampling the fare, or commencing the shopping for the “folks back home”. Or jump back on board the Double Decker bus and check out those attractions you didn’t see yesterday.
In the evening you may want to take the included Night Tour on the Big Bus for a look at the lights of San Francisco.
Day 4: Friday January 31st 2020
Today is a big travel day as we now need to get right over to the other side of the USA and into Florida. We’ll leave San Francisco early in the morning on a direct United Airlines Miami bound flight and with the five hour flight (and three hour time difference), we’ll get there late in the afternoon.
Your night is at leisure staying near Miami Airport at the fabulous Hilton Miami Airport Hotel although we may choose to drive down to South Beach tonight and have dinner on Ocean Drive.
Day 5: Saturday February 1st 2020
Just a couple of hours west by road from Miami is Key West and that is where we are headed for the next two days. As we drive down to the southernmost point of the continental USA, it is unlikely that you will ever again see such beautiful scenery as we make our way through the Florida Keys.
We will spend two nights in this extraordinary place where you will witness the most incredible sunsets imaginable and at the same time, enjoying everything this unbelievable party town has to offer. One of the best ways to see Key West is to hire a moped for the two days and use it to provide your own transport around the island. Thousands do it, so you may as well too. Perhaps you’ll just be getting home as the sun rises, because it’s spectacular as well….
Our accommodation for the next two nights is in the delightful La Concha Hotel and Spa right on the Duvall Street, the heartbeat of Key West. If nightlife is your go then this is absolutely the place for you. And if water sports are what floats your boat, then you’ll find exactly what you want surrounding this spectacular town.
Day 6: Sunday February 2nd 2020
Grab that moped and ride it to your heart’s content to see everything that Key West has to offer. The night life is fantastic, but the “daylife” can be equally as illuminating, depending on what it is you exactly want to see and do.
Tonight we will have an optional group dinner in Mallory Square right on the harbour. Last time we chose the Red Fish Blue Fish restaurant and had a ball. Our bus will be parked for the time we spend in Key West by the way, so it will be an easy stroll home tonight … or on the moped!!
Day 7: Monday February 3rd 2020
We leave this amazing place this afternoon and travel back up the ribbon of road that connects the Keys to the mainland. On the way through we will stop at Islamorada to watch our final Florida Keys sunset.
Day 8: Tuesday February 4th 2020
Today we will drive along the Tamiami Trail (US41), otherwise known as the Alligator Highway. You will be amazed at the wildlife that exists here and you will experience it all first hand when you board a traditional Airboat for a ride into the tranquillity that is the Florida Everglades. Have a quick look at our adventures in 2012 at Gator Park and find out what to expect.
Day 9: Wednesday February 5th 2020
We say farewell to Tampa this morning and make our way east to Daytona Beach passing straight through Orlando which will be our home in a week or so’s time.
The greater metropolitan area of Daytona Beach has a permanent population of 500,000, but those residents get a little swamped by the eight million visitors that come into the region each year. Partly because of Daytona’s NASCAR Budweiser Speedweek and the Sprintcars, Late Models and Modifieds in the Dirt Car Nationals (watch a video highlights package of the 2015 and / or the 2016 Nationals), but mainly it’s because of the climate.
Our accommodation will be in oceanfront rooms overlooking the Atlantic at the Lexington Inn & Suites right on Daytona Beach and close handy to everything. Apart from Days 14, 15 & 16 you will be in this accommodation for the rest of the trip. The ocean views are unsurpassable and you’ll wake up every morning to the sound of the waves gently crashing onto the beach.
Tonight we travel the 22 miles to Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville to see the All Stars take on the World of Outlaws in 410 winged sprintcar action at the 2017 Dirt Car Nationals. You will rarely see a better line up of drivers outside the Knoxville Nationals. Here’s a look at the Global Speedway Tours fun from Volusia in 2012.
Florida is used by all the teams to firstly, get away from the cold climate in the north, but also to get ready for the summer season. The All Stars sanction tonight and tomorrow night and the racing is intense, always supported by what seems to be 100 or so UMP Modifieds.
Day 10: Thursday February 6th 2020
This morning we will make our first visit to the mammoth Daytona Speedway, which by the way lies in the heart of the city on International Speedway Boulevard. What a great name for a road!! Whilst on previous tours our tour dates coincided with those of the giant Richard Petty Driving Experience organisation, the 2018 tour will not, as RPDE has lost track time due to Daytona shifting its race dates around. So the optional opportunity for those members who may have wanted to do up to 24 laps around the 2.5 mile (4 km) tri-oval has disappeared we’re sorry to say. However we will take the very informative Daytona All-Access track tour before returning to the Beach and cruising up and down it in the bus, just to say we’ve been there, done that.
On the 2012 and 2014 tours our “home away from home” was the Oyster Pub just off Atlantic Avenue. Just maybe we’ll visit it this afternoon for the first time.
At night we travel back to Volusia for night 2 of the All Stars sanctioned racing v the Outlaws. Plus those exciting UMP V8 Modifieds.
Day 11: Friday February 7th 2020
Shopping is always a much loved past time on any Global Speedway Tours trip. This morning we will make our way up to St Augustine Outlet Stores, 50 miles north of Daytona on I-95. The bargains are many and the amount of purchases made always requires the tyres to be pumped up on the way back.
Night time sees us back at Volusia again for the first full points race of the World of Outlaws 2017 season. Raced under WoO sanction this time, most of the All Star teams and many from Pennsylvania remain for the continuing on track battles between drivers.
Day 12: Saturday February 8th 2020
The day is free for you to choose at your leisure as to how you will spend it. Generally it’s warm enough to swim, or you can prepare yourself for the start of Daytona Speedweek. Because tonight (if you want to), you can switch from sprintcars to NASCARS.
Or, you can go to Volusia to watch the Outlaws again. In 2012 the tour members were divided as to where they wanted to go and it finished up as a 50/50 split with both groups very satisfied with their respective decisions. However in 2014 everybody went to the sprintcars at Volusia, but as usual we will get you to whichever race you choose. The tour price includes the cost of entry at Volusia and if you want to go to the Daytona Speedway instead, we will cover the entry cost up to the same price as Volusia.
Day 13: Sunday February 9th 2020
After waking this morning you will have only two decisions to make.
1. How do I get back to Daytona Speedway in time to watch Qualifying at 1.00pm for the 500 to be raced next Sunday and the Advance Auto Parts Clash a no-holds barred, non points invitational race featuring the top stars of the NASCAR Monster Cup series in a 75 lap battle. This was formerly known as the Budweiser Shootout and is now a night race which means that you have another decision to make!!
2. And / or will I have the stamina to again get to Volusia Speedway at night to watch the World of Outlaws sanction their racing against the All Stars? This will once again be a full points race for eventual Outlaw honours.
3. Before tonight’s racing at Volusia we will try to grab an early dinner at what is surely the best steak place in the USA. It’s the Texas Roadhouse chain of restaurants and after clicking on the link and seeing the menu and photos, you’ll see why. Believe us, it will be a very pleasant change from racetrack food over the last five days.
Oh, and don’t forget those Modifieds. They’ll still be there at Volusia ….
Day 14: Monday February 10th 2020
Racing slows up a bit for three days at this point, so we’ll leave Daytona Beach for a while and head off to Cape Canaveral & the Kennedy Space Centre just 54 miles south down I-95.
This place is eight times bigger than Manhattan and is extraordinary, not only in its size, but in the enormous range of things to do and see.
Your entry price is included for this fabulous day, which won’t finish until about 5.00pm. We then continue on to Orlando where we move into our new accommodation for the next three nights…. the Comfort Suites Maingate East in Kissimmee.
The classic Theme Park of Old Town is straight across the road. We’ll walk right through the middle of it on our way to the Golden Corral Restaurant for dinner tonight. A fabulous “all you can eat buffet” that will beat anybody.
Day 15: Tuesday February 11th 2020
What an entertainment / holiday place is Orlando!! Suggest you click here to start checking out what you might want to visit during the next two days.
We’ll cover the accommodation and breakfast, but you’ll need to pay for whatever you choose to do, because we couldn’t possibly make those decisions for you!!
Day 16: Wednesday February 12th 2020
You’ll be tired this morning, but you’ve got to get up and do it all again today….. somewhere else.
Old Town has a ride called the Skycoaster. You can see it and read about it by taking the link. Global Speedway Tours hereby issues a challenge to any tour member who has the courage to ride it. 300 feet high, 76 miles per hour and the longest 90 seconds of your life. The author describes it as the single scariest thrill ride he’s ever encountered.
Tonight as a group we’ll return to Old Town for the Little Darlins’ Cruise-In. Classic car collectors bring their vehicles from the 50’s & 60’s into Old Town and you can chat with them as they proudly show off their prized possessions. The accompanying music is from the same era whilst you enjoy dinner, a few drinks and whatever takes your fancy to occupy the night.
Day 17: Thursday February 13th 2020
After a leisurely breakfast we’re off to visit the incredible Bass Pro store in Orlando. Male or female, you’ll love this place. But if you’re a male, you might just love it a bit more. Lunch will be on the run somewhere along Route 91 as we head for Ocala. A town known for two things in the racing world. Firstly it’s the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing where we’ll stop for a couple of hours before heading for the second reason to be on Ocala.
It’s time to go racing again, but not in Daytona Beach or at Volusia. Tonight we’ll be at the quaintly named Bubba Raceway Park to watch night 1 of USAC’s “Winter Dirt Games”. Three nights of sensational 410 non winged sprintcar racing and you will see the opening rumble. This race is to be confirmed, but we expect it to be on once again in 2018.
After the races we then head east for 75 miles back to our Lexington Inn & Suites accommodation right on Daytona Beach and a move back into NASCAR and Late Model mode for the rest of the tour.
Day 18: Friday February 14th 2020
A totally free day to replenish some energy. Explore Daytona Beach or perhaps just walk south down Atlantic Avenue to the Boardwalk and Pier for lunch and then a stroll back along the beach to the hotel might be in order before we return to the massive Daytona Speedway for the Gander Outdoors Trucks as they shape up for the Next-Era 250. Click on that Next-Era 250 link to watch some of the carnage from 2012, exactly as our Global Speedway Tours folk saw it .
Day 19: Saturday February 15th 2020
It’s another monster day. Hope you’ve still got some get-up-and-go because from about Midday we’re at Daytona for the X-FINITY Cars as they race for the Powershares QQQ 300 trophy.
Today (and tomorrow at the 500) you’ll have a view that is made in heaven. High up in the stands at Daytona is the Trioval Club which features a private open-air bar and patio area. Take in all of the racing action from reserved 21-inch seats overlooking the start/finish line along DAYTONA’s famed front stretch and access the stadium through a dedicated entrance. You’ll have an exclusive concourse experience located directly behind your seating area to enjoy food and beverage options for purchase, access to free Wi-Fi and comfortable seating, with plenty of televisions so you don’t miss any of the on-track action.
At night we will again make the short drive to Volusia Speedway for the spectacular WoO Late Models when they take on the half mile of dirt. Up to 60 Late Models are expected, plus the big block Modifieds from New York State are also on the card. Those UMP Dirt Modifieds have gone and in their place are the beasts from the east.
Day 20: Sunday February 16th 2020
Today is the big one. The Daytona 500 is launched upon us with all the pomp and ceremony and noise you can imagine. This may be the highlight of the trip so far. That is if you can forget about the Outlaws on the half mile at Volusia!!
Like yesterday, we will have you very prominently positioned for this super race up in the Trioval Club in top class seating in the brand new configuration of Daytona Speedway. It will be a day to remember and we’ll be making a very early start to the track this morning.
Day 21: Monday February 17th 2020
As all keen speedway fans would know, it is important to leave the day after a race free and available in case of a rain out the previous day!! Florida is not immune to rain. Just witness what happened to us in 2012 when the race finished after midnight on the Tuesday!! Juan Pablo Montoya didn’t help things either when he crashed into the Jet Dryer on the back straight. So just in case we have to stay over for the completion of a weather delayed Daytona 500, we have allocated today as a spare! We’ll either be watching some racing, or saying our farewells to new found friends.
More than likely however we will drive a few miles along Atlantic Boulevard down to Ponce Inlet where it all started for the good old boys on the sands of Daytona back in the fifties. The North Turn is where it all happened and some enterprising folks have reconstructed the Beach Bar and Grille which makes for a perfect place to have lunch and spend your last afternoon in Daytona Beach.
Day 22: Tuesday February 18th 2020
Time to say goodbye to Florida and the USA. We will drive back to Miami from where you will depart for Los Angeles around 5.00pm ready to meet your pilot and crew for the flight back across the Pacific.
Of course you don’t have to go home just yet if you don’t want to. Miami is the hub of perhaps the best cruising in the world. Ships leave there constantly and Karen Caba at ECM Travel will be able to give you a myriad of different options for you to take a Caribbean Cruise perhaps. The prices are extraordinary, so just maybe you can top off your Florida Speedweek Tour with a relaxing five day cruise to recover!
Or maybe a flying visit to Vegas or New York City on the way through to home perhaps?
If you are going home today, your flight will take you to San Francisco and then on to Sydney.
Remember that you will lose Wednesday Feb 19th entirely on the flight home thanks to the intricacies of the International dateline.
Day 23: Thursday February 20th 2020
Upon arrival into Australia very early in the morning, you’ll be looking for all your friends to tell them about this trip which will have been a racing holiday of a lifetime.
Why not take the time to read what the outstanding author Kevin Eckert thinks of Florida in February.
Watch all 12 chapters of our 2012 Florida tour movie. If it asks for a password, use florida12