Friday, May 30, 2008

NASCAR Tracks: Dover

Monster MileImage by eric.schnell via Flickr
Dover International Speedway is exactly one-mile long, and is one of only two concrete tracks on the Sprint Cup schedule -- the other is Bristol.  And Dover is very similar to Bristol.  It is high-banked -- 24 degrees in the turns and nine degrees on the 1076-feet straightaways -- which translates into a lot of speed.  The turns are long and sweeping.  The close quarters lead to a lot of action; a single-car spin can turn into a multi-car accident in a heartbeat.  No wonder they call it "the Monster Mile."

The track was opened in 1969 as Dover Downs International Speedway, and was a part of Dover Downs, a dual-purpose facility designed for horse racing and motorsports events.  The racing surface was originally asphalt.  NASCAR has been racing at Dover since the very beginning.  From 1972 to 1997, Cup races at Dover were 500 miles, but in 1997, NASCAR changed the rules, limiting 500-mile races to tracks longer than a mile.  Cup races at Dover have been 400 miles since.  In 1995 the speedway became NASCAR's first concrete track.

The Delaware legislature voted to allow slot machines at pari-mutuel horse racing facilities in 1994. Dover Downs took advantage, opening Dover Downs Slots in 1995 and a hotel, the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, in 2002. That same year the business split up with the hotel, slots operation and harness racing track retaining the Dover Downs name.  The motorsports track's name was changed to Dover International Speedway, and it became the corporate headquarters for Dover Motorsports, Inc., a publicly held ownership group that also includes Nashville Superspeedway, Gateway International Raceway, and Memphis Motorsports Park.

In 2004, the track added a new wrinkle, the Monster Bridge, "The Most Exciting Seat in Sports." It's a 56-seat, glass-enclosed bridge that extends over the track in Turn 3.  DIS recently completed a multiyear, multimillion dollar "Monster Makeover."  Phase One saw the construction of a new skybox complex, a new and improved media center and other capital improvements.  In Phase Two, Victory Plaza was added, complete with a 46-foot fiberglass sculpture of Miles the Monster, the track's iconic mascot, and over 200 granite plaques dedicated to legendary Dover Drivers.  A FanZone was also added.  Phase Three was mostly track improvements.  The steel inside retaining wall was replaced by a longer concrete wall with a SAFER barrier.  Pit road was widened and a 43rd pit stall was added.  Previously, there were only 42 stalls and the last two qualifiers had to share until a competitor dropped out of the race.

Jeremy Mayfield holds the Sprint Cup qualifying record at Dover, 161.522 mph, set in June 2004.  Richard Petty and Bobby Allison are tied with the most Cup wins at Dover, 7.  Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers with five wins at DIS.

Dover International Speedway hosts a Sprint Cup race, the Best Buy 400 Benefiting Student Clubs for Autism Speaks, a Nationwide Series race and a Camping World Truck Series race in late May or early June.  In September, the track hosts a Sprint Cup race, the AAA 400, the second race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, and a Nationwide Series race.

Posted by Picasa(diagram from

NASCAR Basics: The Tracks: Master List

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments: