Daytona International Speedway is known as The World Center of Racing, and true to its name, the iconic venue attracts fans from all over the globe. Afterall, it plays host to the DAYTONA 500, the Great American Race, the Coke Zero Sugar 400 (coming up Aug. 28), The Rolex 24, North America’s most prestigious sports car race, and a host of other international events. It is only natural that fans want to visit the hallowed grounds of the track’s trioval and road course.
Luckily for those fans, they can buy a ticket for a guided Tram Track Tour that will showcase the rich, Daytona racing legacy. The tours are already one of a kind, thanks to the facility they take place in, but that’s not all. Enter 65-year-old Mamie Pollock. The Daytona Track Tours employ some of the best, most knowledgeable tour guides in all entertainment, and just like the rest of them, Mamie’s high-spirited personality makes her a favorite of all those she meets.
A Speedway staffer since July of 2018, Mamie is from Lewistown, PA, and after retiring from the United Parcel Service in 2014, she and her husband decided they would prefer some warmer weather. First, they moved to Huntersville, NC but decided after a few years that it was still too cold. Finally, they settled on coming to Florida which led to Mamie getting a job as a tour guide at the speedway.
“My husband (Gary) had been ill since 2014 and we moved down here in July of 2018, and he started to get better,” said Mamie. “So, as he got better, I finally felt comfortable enough and I said ‘Gary, I feel like a prisoner of this house, and I have to get a job.’ It just so happened that my neighbor who lived beside us, Phil Truett, was a tour guide here at DIS. Gary said to me ‘you have to become a tour guide at Daytona International Speedway.’ So, I went online and applied. Phil told his boss that ‘this girl is the real thing.’ So low and behold, I got a call for an interview.”
Mamie’s hiring story does not end there. She made a successful first step, but the next obstacle was her in-person interview. Not a bashful bone in her body, the outgoing, fun-loving, well-spoken, avid talker who now knows the complete history of the Speedway got a call back – she got the job. Since then, Mamie, who always sports a straw hat, has become very popular with guests.
“The best thing about being a tour guide here at Daytona International Speedway is getting to meet people from all over the world and letting them know just how special this place is,” said Mamie. “I can be taking anywhere from 25-30 or so guests on a tour now that we are back to normalcy. And, I love meeting every one of them.
“You get to interact with the people a lot and that’s just wonderful. I try and interact with every person on the tours…to make some kind of connection. I just love it. I like telling people the story of this place, the brainchild of NASCAR founder Bill France, Sr.”
Mamie has been a lover of motorsports for a long time. Originally a fan of horse racing before becoming a fan of cars and engines, Mamie likes to say, “it’s always been about horsepower.” The first race she attended happened to be at Daytona International Speedway, long before she had any connections to it, back in the late ‘80s. Mamie was amazed at her first NASCAR experience saying “when that race started, I know that I probably had everyone that was behind me mad because I must of stood up for the first 75 laps or so, because I was just in awe. I still am.”
“Mamie is one of the most unique personalities that I’ve ever encountered,” said Dave Tlstovic, Senior Manager, Guest and Tours Transportation for the Speedway. “Always with a smile, she is humorous and entertaining while sharing her vast knowledge of the Daytona Speedway. Mamie is an incredibly caring person as she takes exceptional care of our guests with extra needs. Her patience is exemplary as she guides guest from around the world and unveils the rich history of The World Center of Racing.”
Mamie is just one of the talented Track Tour guides at Daytona International Speedway. There are many others with equally fascinating stories and knowledge of the track that opened in 1959, and the sport of NASCAR. Thanks to these individuals, the Daytona International Speedway Track Tours are a hit with guests and will continue to be in the future.
It’s easy to take a Track Tour, and guests have two options to choose from – the Speedway Tour and the VIP Tour. The Speedway Tour is an hour-long experience that takes fans to multiple areas of interest on the track and inside the infield including the start/finish line, the 31-degree banking, Ruoff Mortgage Victory Lane, the Axalta Injector, and an incredible view of the 2.5-mile trioval from tower seating. In addition, there is a stop at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, filled with historical artifacts from all types of racing, including the actual car that Michael McDowell drove to victory in the 2021 DAYTONA 500 in February. Speedway Tours run daily and leave every 30 minutes beginning at 9:30 a.m. with the last tour of the day running at 3:00 p.m. These tours last about 60 minutes. Tickets for the Speedway Tour are $25 for adults, $20 for kids ages 5 to 12 and free for kids under 4.
The VIP Tour is 2.5 hours and has the same offerings as the Speedway Tour, but the VIP Tour also stops at the NASCAR Archives and Research Center and the Press Box. Both tours include a digital photo package. It runs every Tuesday and Thursday at 1:00 p.m. VIP Tour Tickets are $47 per person. Both types of tour tickets can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/tours/ or by calling 1-800-PIT-SHOP (1-800-748-7467).
Thanks to these talented tram drivers, the speedway tours are a success that leaves a positive impression on the fans, even when it is not race day.
Daytona International Speedway’s next NASCAR weekend, featuring the regular-season finale Coke Zero Sugar 400, is set for Aug. 27-28. The event will serve as the last-chance race to for a driver to make the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs on Saturday, Aug. 28. The Wawa 250 Powered by Coca-Cola for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 27. For ticket information, visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.