Vroom, Vroom

The next few months in Central Florida are chock-full of high-speed fun.

Written By Cynthia McFarland & Melissa Peterson 

From the annual Daytona 500 and Gainesville’s own Gatornationals to bike celebrations in both Daytona Beach and Leesburg, there are plenty of ways to fulfill your need for speed in around the 352. Here’s a rundown of what’s happening and how you can join in. 

2024 Speedweeks at Bubba Raceway Park

February 1-3, 8-10, 14-17

Looking for racing fun close to home? February is full of world-class racing at Ocala’s own Bubba Raceway Park.

This month includes the Brick City Nationals at the Winter Games on February 1-3, the 15th Annual Winter Dirt Games with USAC sprint cars February 8-10 and the USAC Amsoil Sprint Car National Championship February 14-17. 

Bubba Raceway Park began operations in 1952. This year will mark its 72nd year of operation, making it the oldest continuously operating race track in the state of Florida. Bubba Raceway Park is a 3/8-mile, semi-banked, clay D-shaped track.

Tickets to most events are $20 for adults, with special pricing for military, first responders, seniors and teens. Kids 12 and under are free. Pit passes are also available, starting at $35 for adults and $20 for kids under 12. Children under 3 get pit passes for free. Some special events may have individual pricing, so check the website before you attend. 

For more information about these and other upcoming events, visit bubbaracewaypark.com.

Speedweeks Presented by AdventHealth

February 9-18

Tis the season for speed and fun, making Daytona Beach the place to be.

All the action kicks off in February with Speedweeks leading up to The Great American Race, the DAYTONA 500, on February 18.

“Speedweeks Presented by AdventHealth has an atmosphere unlike any other race week on the NASCAR schedule, with drivers, teams and fans all eager to kick off the new season,” says Daytona International Speedway President Frank Kelleher. 

“The fact that this year’s DAYTONA 500 sold out nearly three months in advance is a testament to the energy and passion that only come with racing at Daytona,” says Frank. “Between the entertainment, fan activations and multiple days of intense competition in all three NASCAR national series, there’s no better place to be than The World Center of Racing during Speedweeks.”

 Pole position for the DAYTONA 500 is on the line in the DAYTONA 500 Qualifying Presented by Busch Light on Wednesday, February 14.

The Bluegreen Vacations Duel on Thursday, February 15 reveals those racing into The Great American Race.

Be there for the start of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season with the Fresh From Florida 250 on Friday, February 16. And catch the doubleheader on Saturday, February 17 with the United Rentals 300 and ARCA Menards Series.

The thrilling week concludes with the DAYTONA 500 on February 18.

Don’t miss the UNOH Fanzone for memorable moments that make your race day experience the best ever. See the full schedule at daytonainternationalspeedway.com.

Daytona Bike Week

March 1-10

Bike Week is on the bucket list of many motorcycle enthusiasts—and for good reason.

Over half a million motorcycles will roll into Daytona for the 83rd Annual Daytona Bike Week from March 1-10.

Start your adventure at the Official Bike Week Welcome Center at ONE DAYTONA.

Everyone wants to cruise Main Street from the Main Street bridge to State Road A1A. Consider this people- and bike-watching central as you take in all the sights and sounds of Bike Week. 

Explore the 2024 Fastlane Motorcycle Swap Meet and Bike Show at Volusia County Fairgrounds for daily bike shows, food, beer and live music. You’ll find all manner of bike items (and more!) for sale or trade from acres of vendors.  

Head to New Smyrna Speedway on March 2 for the Sons of Speed Vintage Outlaw Motorcycle Racing. 

The 23-mile Ormond Loop is a must-ride for many motorcyclists, thanks to the incredible scenery.

Events at the Daytona International Speedway include the Daytona Supercross March 2, the Ricky Carmichael Daytona Amateur Supercross March 3-5, Daytona Short Track March 7-8 and the Daytona 200 March 7-9.

Many Bike Week attendees stay at Fastland Campground in Deland for RV and tent camping.

Check out officialbikeweek.com for the full calendar of events. 

Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals

March 7-10

The countdown to the start of the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season is on, with the National Hot Rod Association announcing a number of exciting additions leading up to and during the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals from March 7-10 at legendary Gainesville Raceway.

The historic race will celebrate its 55th anniversary, and a special “Golden Gator” will be awarded to the winners, along with the coveted Wally trophy. The “Golden Gator” highlights the magnitude of the kickoff event, as the Gatornationals represent one of the major events on the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series and has been hallowed grounds for NHRA drag racing for more than five decades.

“We can’t wait to start the first race of the Mission Foods era in the NHRA with a historic Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals, and we’re thrilled to add a number of special attractions,” says Evan Jonat, NHRA vice president of live events.

Fans will be treated to incredible action in all four professional classes, along with the Pep Boys NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout specialty race, as well as action in NHRA Pro Mod, Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown and the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. 

To add to the spectacular action on the track, fans can also look forward to an expanded array of offerings in the pits, including Don Garlits Swamp Rat Alley, which will host autograph sessions and meet and greets; the Gatornationals Beer Garden; and an upgraded Top Eliminator Club, featuring special appearances, exclusive swag, premium parking and food and drinks all weekend. 

Learn more at nhra.com and gainesvilleraceway.com.

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding

March 8-10

The iconic race event set for March 8-10 along St. Petersburg’s downtown waterfront will celebrate its 20th annual running in 2024.

This landmark annual race weekend headlined by the NTT IndyCar Series has become a staple in the St. Petersburg community as some of the most talented and accomplished drivers in the world compete on the city’s streets each year.

“It has been a tremendous honor to be a part of the St. Petersburg community for nearly two decades,” says Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of Green Savoree St. Petersburg, LLC, organizers of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding. “Fans should act quickly to ensure they get the best possible seats as we celebrate the 20th annual running in spectacular downtown St. Pete again in March.”

The 2024 weekend schedule, highlighted by the NTT IndyCar Series’ season-opening race, will have a full complement of racing series on track. Open-wheel development series INDY NXT by Firestone, USF Pro 2000 Presented by Continental Tire and USF2000 Presented by Continental Tire will battle on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course. New in 2024, exciting sports car action from IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge joins the weekend schedule. 

For ticket pricing and event information, visit gpstpete.com.

Leesburg Bikefest

April 26-28

For three days in April, 30 blocks of historic downtown Leesburg transform into a biker’s paradise, featuring vendors, two stages, three days of entertainment from national and local bands, food and drinks, and more. 

As with any bike event, the motorcycles are the main attraction. A handful of not-to-be-missed bike shows will take place throughout the three-day festival, and thousands of bikers will convene in the streets of Leesburg to show off their own rides and hang with fellow bikers. If you’re looking for a little excitement during bike week, the Full Throttle Bike Show will take place on Friday and Saturday and the Central Florida Motorcycle Drill Team will be on-site Saturday and Sunday. 

Over the course of the event, tons of concerts will be performed, including everything from local rockers and bands to nationally recognized acts. The 2024 schedule had not been released yet as of press time, but past headliners have included Buckcherry, Vanilla Ice, Uncle Kracker, Vince Neil and Warrant. There will also be plenty of hot-body contests and a variety of bike demonstrations. 

The event will include more than 200 vendors and seven venues of activities, music and bike shows. For ticket information, dining and parking details, plus a schedule of events, visit the festival’s website at leesburgbikefest.com.