The Daytona 500 is The Masters of NASCAR. It’s held on the best track (Daytona International Speedway), awards the most prestigious prize (the Harley J. Earl Trophy), and race fans are secretly hoping for the same thing as the patrons at Amen Corner (an exciting wreck).
Before you buckle in for the 200-lap marathon with 168,000 other fans on Feb. 19, make a pit stop at these other great tracks around Daytona.
Champions Course, 7,088 yards, par 72; Legends Course, 6,984 yards, par 72; Greens fee: $60-$105; 386-274-5742; lpgainternational.com
You’ll have to steer accurate approaches to Rees Jones’ devilish multi-tiered greens at the Champions course. Wrecks happen more often off the tee at the Legends track.
Victoria Hills Golf Club
6,854 yards, par 72; Greens fee: $85-$109; 866-295-4385; stjoegolf.com
The Dale Earnhardt of Daytona courses, this celebrated design .mixes elevation changes, expansive waste bunkers and gnarly native grasses. The result is a first-rate challenge well worth pulling over for.
Halifax Plantation Golf Club
7,101 yards, par 72; Greens fee: $65, 386-676-9600; halifaxplantation.com
The fairways here are flatter than .the Speedway racetrack — and almost as firm — but are mostly free of water and sand. You’ll need to oil your putter for the spin around these large and severely sloping greens.
Hidden Lakes Golf Course
5,100 yards, par 65; Greens fee: $33 386-427-4138
This course is shorter than a warm-up lap, but if the clock is ticking this well-conditioned and scenic venue is a decent place to crank up your engine.