On January 6, 2021, Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR, the United States Department of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security (CISA), law enforcement officers, state and local first responders, and local businesses held a table-top exercise to assess response plans around the hypothetical incidents of the public safety on Daytona 500 day.
The joint exercise included representatives from several agencies involved in the upcoming 63rd annual Daytona 500, scheduled for Sunday, February 14th. Participants discussed their roles, suggested best practices, and improved coordination mechanisms to ensure the safety of fans and members of the public. The exercise was part of an existing corporation between those involved in the Daytona 500 and was not a response to any specific threat. The objective was to size the safety of fans amid the race.
Scott Breuer, deputy assistant director of infrastructure security at CISA, said the joint exercise was just one of the various steps and examples of the preparation and harmonization that takes place long before race day to ensure that those who will attend stay safe.
He added that the Daytona 500 is one of the biggest sporting events of the year and the safety of everyone involved is an equally big task. The incumbent CISA president said they have a longstanding relationship with Daytona 500 and NASCAR and look forward to continuing to work with them and all other partners in the region to ensure the race is safe and secure.
Chip Wile, President of Daytona International Speedway, said the safety of everyone is a top priority at the Daytona 500 and all of their events that are part of the Speedweeks presented by AdventHelath. He added that both NASCAR and Speedway want their fans, competitors, employees, and everyone else involved to have a safe experience and always be safe while enjoying the Great American Race.
The collection of events related to the Daytona 500, including the Daytona Speedweeks presented by AdventHealth, is scheduled to begin on February 9th and culminate on Sunday, February 14th with the Great American Race.
According to CISA, every member of the public plays a vital role in ensuring safety throughout Speedweeks. They encourage anyone attending the Daytona 500 or surrounding events to follow instructions from local or state health officials, remain vigilant, and report suspicious activity to law enforcement or stadium staff.
CISA works with teams, sports leagues, arenas, stadiums, and other major venues across the country to develop and execute response plans for all potential threats in today’s environment. In a year they do about 30 exercises. The agency has strategically located US-based staff to educate businesses, schools, and other organizations on best practices to improve their safety and resilience.