DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Daytona International Speedway is much more than a race track. Personal watercraft and other boat races have a history at the venue thanks to a manmade lake inside the 2.5-mile oval.
For a manmade lake, Lake Lloyd is massive, taking up 29 acres inside the race track. When you look at the blueprints for when the speedway was built in 1958, the lake was always part of the plan and there is a very specific reason why.
While the speedway is known for speed and not serenity, a route in the infield will bring you to the relaxing lake. It was originally stocked with 65,000 fish when it was built back in 1958. 29 acres of soil was removed to build the 31-degree banking of the speedway, leaving a huge hole in the ground now known as Lake Lloyd.
“The lake has a lot of legends. There are stories of golf carts being driven into the lake,” said NASCAR Historian, Ken Martin.
Security has come a long way since the late 1950s and so has safety. Three drivers hold the distinction of having their race car land in the lake. Dave Stacey was the last to do it in the early 90s.
Since then the soft dirt berm has been replaced with solid walls, but not before sending some drivers a scare.
“There is a driver by the name of “Tiger” Tom Pistone who could not swim and he was afraid of going into the lake, so Tom put oxygen tanks and an oxygen mask in his car,” said Martin.
Luckily safety mechanisms are no longer needed for an unplanned swim, but the lake remains a staple at the speedway.
“The lake is really part of the character of Daytona. When you go to Daytona it’s the high banks, it’s the grandstands, it’s the racing, but it’s also these little landmarks around the area and Lake Lloyd is certainly a great landmark there in the center of the track,” said Martin.
Martin says the lake got its name from Paxton Lloyd, who was a businessman in Daytona who gave Bill France Sr., the founder of NASCAR and the man who built Daytona International Speedway, his first job. The two became friends and France wanted to honor his friend by giving the lake a name, Lake Lloyd.