Dover International Speedway
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Perhaps having one of the coolest nicknames amongst all of NASCAR’s race tracks, the Dover International Speedway is endearingly called The Monster Mile by many of its faithful fans.
While scary for some, the Dover has been anything but for certain drivers. Jimmie Johnson has the all-time track record of 11 race wins and Mark Martin has a whopping 33 top-10s at Dover.
Dover Speedway is located in Delaware, a state not really known for its sporting prowess, so locals are definitely excited for the two annual NASCAR weekends on the schedule. In years past Dover also hosted IndyCar Series racing and USAC events.
Currently, Dover hosts two NASCAR Cup Series races, two Xfinity Series events, one Truck Series and one NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race per NASCAR season.
The first weekend is usually scheduled for mid-May or early June while the second weekend is slated for the last week of September or the first weekend in October. In 2004 the Fall race was granted the special characteristic of becoming the second race of the newly formed NASCAR Chase for the Championship playoffs.
When the venue was first constructed in 1969 it was called Dover Downs International Speedway but that switched to the current name in 2002. The previous owners, Dover Downs Gaming and Entertainment, split up and the newly-formed Dover Motorsports took over ownership of the track.
In this article, we’ll cover key features like Dover International Speedway’s capacity, history, highlights, and records. Let’s start with the most important stats.
- Location: Dover, Delaware
- Built in: 1969
- Owned by: Dover Motorsports, Inc.
- Track Types: Oval (asphalt 1969-1994), (concrete 1995-present)
- Track length: 1 mile (1.6 km)
- Turns: 4, banked 29 degrees
- Straightaways: banked 9 degrees
- Race lap record: 0:21.892 Brad Keselowski, Team Penske 2014 (Qualifying)
- Capacity: 85,000 – 95,000 depending on configuration
- Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series: AAA 400 Drive for Autism, Gander Outdoors 400
- NASCAR Xfinity Series: OneMain Financial 200, Bar Harbor 200
- NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series: JEGS 200
- NASCAR K&N Pro Series East: Crosley 125
Dover International Speedway History
Reaching completion in 1969, the construction of the Dover International Speedway took three years. That was a long time compared to other tracks built during that era. Part of the extended construction time was due to the complex also being used for horse racing.
Another interesting distinction compared to other NASCAR speedways is that it offers slot machine betting on the premises thanks to legislation in Delaware that allows such gambling at pari-mutuel horse betting venues.
When the facility was finally ready for NASCAR wheels to touch their newly paved asphalt, who else but Richard Petty was there to take the first checkered flag. Speaking of pavement, it should be noted that in 1995 the track replaced their asphalt track with a concrete one making it just the second track after Bristol Motor Speedway to do so.
Early Events at Dover Speedway
For the first few years, the speedway played host to multiple races across different organizations but in 1971 they decided to make the venue exclusively NASCAR oriented.
By 1986 the venue had two yearly Cup Series events and two Budweiser Late Model Sportsman Series (now Xfinity Series) races.
The track explored hosting Indy Racing League (IRL) events in 1998 but the experiment only lasted two seasons. Whether just coincidence or filling of the void left from the removal of the IRL events, The Monster Mile added Truck Series racing to its portfolio in 2000. Kurt Busch won the pole position and the checkered flag that year.
In 2002 the site went from being called Dover Downs to Dover International Speedway when the gaming side of their business split from the entertainment side.
That same year they decided to add stadium seating to the complex bringing Dover Speedway’s total seating capacity to 135,000 and in so doing made it the largest capacity venue in the entire mid-Atlantic region of America.
However, by 2011 that number dropped dramatically down to 113,000 as part of a restructuring program and then even further down to 95,000 in 2014 due to declining attendance numbers.
Dover Mascot: Miles the Monster
To go along with The Monster Mile moniker given to the speedway, the track also has a mascot named Miles the Monster who greets fans and has his face plastered on all the tickets and memorabilia available on the grounds.
Miles has been around since 2000 and in 2008 they built massive 46 ft fiberglass monument of him that you can see from the highway which shows him triumphantly crushing a car in his bare hands.
Miles is so loved they even put his likeness on the race trophy. Even cooler yet, the statue outside the racetrack has a large circular base filled with plaques that commemorate all of the race’s winners since 1969.
In 2012 President Barack Obama had to add Miles to his list of competitors for the presidential election. Miles’ solid yet fruitless campaign slogan was “Concrete Change in 2012”.
The Monster Makeover
In 2006 a huge investment in the facility allowed for big improvements. The project was called The Monster Makeover in reference to the track’s nickname and mascot Miles the Monster.
In addition to several basic grandstand and concourse upgrades, 12 new luxury suites were built and a 2,100 square foot media center on the infield grounds was put in place.
Later, in the second part of the expansion, the giant 46-foot fiberglass Monster Monument statue was constructed and the fanzone was dramatically enhanced for entertainment purposes.
There is also a glass-enclosed structure called the Monster Bridge which was built over top of the third turn that seats 56 lucky fans and allows for an over-the-top view of the race. The bridge is 29 feet over the track and has been called “the most exciting seat in sports”. The special seats are not available for purchase but rather won exclusively via contests.
A fun feature of the Monster Bridge viewing experience is the long list of autographed signatures from previous race winners including Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Mark Martin, and Matt Kenseth.