Where is Dover Motor Speedway? 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.
Where is Dover Motor Speedway?
The track is located just off U.S. Route 13, In Dover, Delaware – about two hours from Philadelphia and Baltimore, and three hours from Washington, D.C. It is often the first of the Northern Tracks in a NASCAR Cup Series.
Dover Motor Speedway (nickname: The Monster Mile) is a NASCAR race track. It is unusual in several respects. It is a concrete track; most NASCAR tracks are asphalt. It is co-located with a horse track, Dover Downs, and in fact, is sometimes also referred to by this name.
It is also exactly one mile long; technically this means that it is neither a superspeedway nor a short track. The speedway is also notoriously hard on cars, and its standard nickname is The Monster Mile.
The horse track is part of an extensive entertainment complex including other forms of gambling; at one time both it and the speedway were owned by the publicly-traded Dover Downs Entertainment, but they have since been bought by Speedway Motorsports.
At one time the Winston Cup races held here were 500 miles long until a NASCAR rules change limited 500-mile races to being held only at tracks over a mile in length; the current Cup races here are 400 miles long. Dover also hosted Indy Racing League races in 1998 and 1999 won by Scott Sharp and Greg Ray.
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.
What are The Lap Records at Dover Motor Speedway?
The current NASCAR lap record at Talladega is unlikely to be broken and has been held by Bill Elliot ( father of chase Elliot) since 1987. It was in the days before restrictor plates and the cars were running the fastest they ever had.
Bill Elliott did the 2.66 miles of the Talladega track in 0.44.998 for the official lap record. Since the restrictions that has never been beaten, although Rusty Wallace did go faster in an official lap that same year.
When Was Dover Motor Speedway Constructed?
It was originally built in 1969 by Melvin Joseph of Melvin L. Joseph Construction Company, with the assistance of Curtis Turner. The aim when it was constructed was to host both Auto racing and horseracing. It took three years to complete once it was started in 1966 and the first race was won by Richard Petty ( who else) in 1969.
Why is Dover Motor Speedway called the Monster Mile?
Dover International Speedway was initially nicknamed the “Monster Mile” due to the wear it put on both cars and drivers. There were some races that teams had a relief driver who may be called on to finish the race, those drivers that did finish were often exhausted.
The reasons are the differences in pressure and loading on the car as it travels round, it puts pressure on the car in different areas, and pressure on the drivers in their upper body.
There have been improvements made to the track that have attempted to address the difficulty. Race lengths have dropped from 500 to 400 miles, this happened in 1997, and the track was resurfaced with concrete in 1995.
However Dover is still one of the most difficult tracks despite its small size and one that drivers approach with caution. It certainly lives up to its nickname the “Monster Mile” as it will bite the unwary.
What other Motor Sports have been run at Dover Motor Speedway?
In 1993, the truck series began racing at Dover Downs, followed by the IndyCar Series in 1995. The track has also hosted ARCA, ASA, equipment and Goody’s Dash races.
The speedway is one of the few tracks to host all three of NASCAR’s top series in the same weekend, doing so for the first time in 1994. The track is also one of a handful of oval tracks to host both the IndyCar Series and NASCAR.
How Long Is Dover Motor Speedway?
Dover Motor Speedway, commonly known as Dover Downs, is a one-mile concrete oval motor racing track in Dover, Delaware. It was previously Asphalt up until 1995. It has 24 degree banking in the turns and 9 degrees banking on the Straights.
Who owns Dover Motor Speedway?
The speedway is owned and operated by Speedway Motorsports. Who acquirred the track in 2021. They also own and operate many other Iconic NASCAR tracks including Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Sonoma Motor Speedway.
What is The Configuration of Dover Motor Speedway?
The track is a 1 mile traditional oval racetrack with 24-degree banking in the turns and 9 -degree banking on the straights.. The Track is considered a tough track for both drivers and their cars and this has earned it the nickname the monster mile!
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