Diggin' In at Daytona

Daytona International Speedway is several miles from the beach -- but when they first started racing stock cars in Daytona, half the course was actually on the beach. That may be why sand sculpture is part of the scene during Speedweek.

Suzanne Altamare of Daytona Beach and Carl Jara of Cleveland update their sculptures every day during Speedweeks. (Mike Snyder - washingtonpost.com)

This year, the speedway has trucked tons of sand into the infield Fan Zone, a first, since the sand sculpting had been done in front of the track. That's just fine with Suzanne Altamare of Daytona Beach, who's been sculpting sand at the speedway for 24 years. This year she's been sculpting different racing-themed sand castles every day.

Suzanne got into sand sculpting with her husband, Marc, who did it for 30 years until he passed away from cancer four years ago. "He was a wild one," she says. "He took his '79 Lincoln around the speedway one year. Got in big trouble for that," she recounts with a smile.

It seems to me that setting up outside would be more fan-friendly, since you wouldn't need special access to check out the art. But Suzanne's web site says she's happy with the setup.

She's not alone in sculpting this year. Carl Jara, an award-winning artist who's been working in the medium for 15 years, has flown in from Cleveland to join Suzanne for the week.

The sand isn't from Daytona Beach, though. Soft sand sculpture requires a special type of sand. Suzanne says the stuff they're using was actually trucked in from central Florida. Ah, well, you get the effect at least.

Suzanne's got a special car made of sand on the side of the sculpture. She'll change the number on the car's door for any fan who asks. I had her do up a number for me. I guess I don't have to tell you which one it was.

Both Suzanne and Carl have Web sites. Here's where you can find them online:

Suzanne: http://justplainsand.com

Carl: http://www.artcleveland.com/sandhome.htm

By Mike Snyder |  February 17, 2006; 4:05 PM ET  | Category:  Daytona Scene , Miscellaneous
Previous: Racism at the Races | Next: Saturday's Trivia Question(s)

Blogs That Reference This Entry

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.


© 2006 The Washington Post Company