Friday April 29th, 2016 5:48AM

Davis' Daytona Diaries: The journey from apprehension to excitement

By Katie B. Davis Sports Director
The truths?

I was apprehensive about the trip to Daytona.

And I have never been on an airplane where each person was going to the same place.

The same city, yes.

But each person on my flight out of Atlanta and into Daytona was on for one reason and one reason only: the Daytona 500.

Whether it was as a fan, sponsor, concessions worker or, like me, someone charged with covering the event; each and every person was planning to enjoy the last of Speedweek leading up to the Daytona 500.

The flight was seamless, the Delta staff pleasant and my seat mates excited.

The landing was easy, the exit free-flowing, getting the rental car was a piece of cake and the ride itself, pretty sweet.

Flying into Daytona I got my first glimpse of the International Speedway, driving from the airport to the hotel, I became awed by the behemoth structure.

It wasn't until after dinner at Gene's Steakhouse (check out the picture of my dinner, folks, lick your chops and be jealous) with Dustin Bixby from Atlanta Motorspeedway, however, that I was able to enter the belly of the proverbial beast and the apprehension mentioned earlier began waning, believe it or not.


Because I realized while Dustin drove me and Rebecca Cameron through the infield, I was about to take part in the most awesome and largest tailgate party I've ever laid witness to.

Now, my part in that tailgate party was a working part, but I was going to be involved in it nonetheless.

Imagine The Grove at Ole Miss combined with the student beach at Georgia-Florida combined with Champions Square in New Orleans ahead of a Saints game and you have a small - small, I tell you - idea of what I saw.

Motor home after motor home, all through the infield, yes, but also in any open field from the Daytona International Speedway to the hotel.

I like experiencing new things, and while apprehensive at first, that turned to excitement when I actually started experiencing.

I understood quickly why everyone on my flight from Atlanta to Daytona was on for one reason: the Daytona 500.

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