DAYTONA BEACH , Fla. — Is demand for Daytona 500 tickets at an all-time low?
According to at least one measure, demand for Daytona 500 tickets this season on the secondary ticket market is at an all-time low.
Data from SeatGeek, an entertainment ticket search engine, indicates the average ticket price for Sunday’s 500 has fallen more than 30 percent during the past month, from a peak of $238 per ticket Jan. 20 to $161 Wednesday.
Among other findings from an analysis of ticket data from SeatGeek:
• This year’s average ticket price ($161) is down 18 percent from the 2013 Daytona 500, which drew an average of $197 per ticket on the resale market. The race drew average ticket prices of $191 in 2012 and $203 in 2011.
• As of Wednesday, the race was not close to a sell out. All of the cheapest seats have been sold (prices started at $32 per ticket), and those are up for sale on the secondary market starting at more than twice face value ($75 per ticket).
However, fans still can find plenty of face-value tickets at the online box office as low as $65 each in the Turn 2, Lund and Allison seating areas. For the most part, all tower and box seating near the finish line is sold out, but aside from those areas, fans can find tickets from the box office anywhere around the track.
King returns to Daytona: John King, who won the 2012 Truck series season opener at Daytona, returns to race in the event this season for the first time since his unexpected victory. King has appeared in only seven series races since his victory.
King will drive the No. 20 Chevrolet for NTS Motorsports in what is a one-race deal.
“Driving for a competitive team like NTS Motorsports is a perfect opportunity for me to add another important win to my resume and further my career in the sport,” he said.
Charity ride to kick off May 3: The 20th anniversary of the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America will begin May 3 in Carlsbad, Calif., and will conclude May 10 in Daytona Beach.
More than 175 riders will embark on the cross-country motorcycle trek, which is expected to cover more than 2,800 miles. Founded by former NASCAR driver and racing analyst Kyle Petty, the ride raises funds and awareness for Victory Junction, a camp created to enrich the lives of children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses.
Higgins wins award: Former Observer motorsports reporter Tom Higgins was honored with the annual Victory Lane Racing Association media award Tuesday night at Pelican Bay Country Club in Daytona Beach. Higgins was with the Observer in 1964-97 and has written about racing for 57 years.
Also honored Tuesday were former engine builder and crew chief Waddell Wilson of Huntersville, dirt-track driver Freddie Smith of Kings Mountain and driver Dave Marcis of Asheville, who holds the record for consecutive Daytona 500 starts with 32.
The late Dick Trickle, a driver from Iron Station, also was memorialized in a ceremony.
Crew chief addition: RAB Racing has hired veteran Matt Lucas as the crew chief for its No. 29 Toyota team in the Nationwide Series with driver Scott Lagasse. Lucas has more than 16 years of racing experience, winning two races in 2013 in the Nationwide Series with driver Matt Kenseth at Joe Gibbs Racing.
Utter: 704-358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter