Pictured above: Dover International Speedway/Contributed by Screen Grab©
Dover International Speedway, built from the ground up by Dover Motorsports, Inc. is one of the most unique venues on the NASCAR circuit. Known for its concrete surface, banked corners and signature trophies, it is beloved by both fans and drivers.
Recognized as the world’s fastest one-mile concrete oval, Dover International Speedway, has hosted NASCAR events since it first opened with the inaugural running of the “Mason-Dixon 300” on July 6, 1969.
With a thrilling blend of speeds over 175 mph, and banking of nine degrees on its narrow straightaways and 24 degrees in its turns, Dover has earned the nickname… the “Monster Mile”. In the first two years of Dover International Speedway, it hosted one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race per year. However, since 1971, Dover has hosted the spring and fall NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, and the NASCAR XFINITY Series joined the schedule for an annual race in 1982, before becoming a twice-yearly event as well in 1986. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series was added in the fall 2000 race weekend, has been a Friday staple of the spring race weekend since then. The final series to run regularly in Dover, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, first appeared at the track to run a July 1998 race. It was added as the annual Friday race of the fall weekend in 2001.
Located in the mid-Atlantic region, the Dover International Speedway complex greets race fans in the thousands to its 750-acre complex yearly.
The property also features a full-service Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. Just outside Turn 4 looms the 46-foot-tall Monster Monument at Victory Plaza…a sculpture of Dover’s signature icon, Miles the Monster that has become a “must-see” stop for tourists coming to Delaware’s capital city. The track’s Monster Bridge, “The Most Exciting Seat in Sports!®,” another fascinating structure in NASCAR, is a 56-seat enclosed bridge with seating directly above the track in the entrance to Turn 3 on the back straightaway.
The Dover International Speedway is not only a NASCAR venue, it hosts two major music festivals…the Firefly Music Festival (named one of the top-five music festivals in the country by Rolling Stone magazine) and Big Barrel Country Music Festival.
Dover International Speedway Timeline highlights through to 2014:
1969 – Dover Downs opened as a dual-purpose facility, designed to accommodate both horse racing and motor sports events. The first event on the one-mile, asphalt Speedway was a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the “Mason-Dixon 300,” on July 6, won by Richard Petty.
1971 – All non-NASCAR sanctioned motor sports events were removed from the schedule to focus on two 500-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races held in the spring and fall each year.
1982 – Joe Ruttman won Dover’s first NASCAR Nationwide Series race, the May 15 “Sportsman 200,” a new Saturday attraction for race fans on the spring race weekend.
1983 – Bobby Allison set the all-time wins mark at Dover International Speedway by winning his seventh race at the track in the Sept. 18 “Budweiser 500” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
1984 – Richard Petty tied Bobby Allison with his seventh win at Dover, taking the checkered flag in the May 20 “Budweiser 500” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
1986 – A modest 3,200 seat grandstand addition began expansion of the facility which continued through 2001, a process unequaled by any other NASCAR track. Dover also added an annual fall NASCAR Nationwide Series race to its annual schedule, the first being the Sept. 13 “Grand National 200.”
1995 – Dover Downs International Speedway became NASCAR’s first concrete paved super speedway. With the concrete surface, races become cleaner, faster and more competitive. Kyle Petty won the first race on the concrete surface, the June 4 “Miller Genuine Draft 500” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. After a summer and fall of round-the-clock construction, Dover Downs Slots opened on December 29.
1996 – Dover Downs Entertainment, Inc., parent company of all gaming and motor sports activities, began trading on New York Stock Exchange under symbol DVD.
1997 – Dover made the change from 500 miles to a new 400-mile distance for all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, beginning with the Sept. 21 “MBNA 400,” won by Mark Martin. His average speed of 132.719 mph set the track’s fastest race record. In addition, Dover Downs Entertainment, Inc. acquired Nashville Speedway USA, operator of NASCAR events at Tennessee State Fairgrounds, and announced plans for a new super speedway in the Nashville area. Open date was set for Easter weekend in 2001.
2000 – The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series made its debut at Dover’s September race weekend with Kurt Busch emerging as the winner from the pole position in the Sept. 22 “MBNA e-commerce.com 200.”
2001 – The 16th straight year of grandstand expansion placed seating capacity at 135,000, the largest seating capacity of a sports facility in the mid-Atlantic region. Dover held the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the “MBNA Cal Ripken Jr. 400” and took the American flag for a victory lap around the track. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race was shifted to Friday of the spring weekend, while a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race was added for the Friday of the fall weekend.
2002 – Dover Downs International Speedway became Dover International Speedway, as the gaming side of the company split off and Dover Motorsports, Inc. was created to exclusively oversee racing at the Dover, Nashville, Memphis and St. Louis tracks, as well as the Grand Prix of Long Beach, the Grand Prix of Denver and the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The harness racing, slots operation and newly built hotel onsite retained the Dover Downs name now known as Dover Downs Hotel & Casino®.
2004 – The Monster Bridge, a 56-seat, glass-enclosed structure that extends over the track in Turn 3, was unveiled. The one-of-a-kind structure creates the “Most Exciting Seat in Sports.” Jeremy Mayfield sets the track qualifying record in the June 6 “MBNA America 400 ‘A Salute to Heroes,'” with a lap of 161.522 mph. The newly introduced Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup comes to the Monster Mile in the fall as Ryan Newman notches another Dover win in the “MBNA America 400” and took home the first Monster trophy.
2006 – Dover announced plans for the “Monster Makeover,” a multi-year capital improvement project. The first phase of construction began prior to the fall race weekend.
2007 – The first phase of Monster Makeover was completed prior to the spring race. Construction included a new skybox complex and VELOCITY, an all-inclusive, luxury suite for individual race fans. A 2,100 square-foot addition to the Infield Media Center was also completed along with widened walkways behind the front stretch grandstands; six renovated restroom facilities; additional paved handicapped parking areas; expanded bus parking; a new sound system; an expanded and relocated hospitality tent village; and continued beautification and landscaping of the entire property.
2008 – The 2008 season marked Dover International Speedway’s 40th anniversary. The second phase of Monster Makeover construction included the addition of the 46-foot Monster Monument at Victory Plaza, presented by AAA, a larger-than-life fiberglass sculpture of the track’s signature icon Miles the Monster. The structure also includes more than 200 granite plaques dedicated to race winners and legendary drivers at the Monster Mile. Other construction projects included the expansion of the FanZone display area and the addition of a new emergency serviced building outside of Gate 1.
2009 – The third phase of Monster Makeover construction focused on pit road, including a new 1,592-foot concrete pit wall equipped with SAFER barrier technology. The new space made way for a 43rd pit stall and enabled the track to lengthen all stalls by four feet, creating an easier entrance and exit for the cars while pitting. By eliminating all grass on the front stretch and some in Turn 4, the new pit road wall was set four feet closer to the apron of the track, creating a wider pit road.
2011 – Dover Motorsports, Inc. declineed sanctions for NASCAR events at Nashville Super speedway, while opening up the facility to team testing. The company previously sold its other motor sports facilities and now focuses on its flagship facility in Dover. Dover International Speedway begins the process of widening grandstand seats from 18 to 22 inches. The project, which will take approximately two years to complete, will create a better fan experience for all guests, and will seat 113,000.
2012 – Jimmie Johnson won his seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway in the June 3 “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks.” With the win, Johnson ties Richard Petty and Bobby Allison for most wins all-time at the Monster Mile.
2013 – Jimmie Johnson set the all-time Dover wins record by winning the Sept. 29 “AAA 400” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, passing Richard Petty and Bobby Allison with his eighth victory at the Monster Mile in NASCAR’s top series. The fall weekend includes a few other historical moments as well, as Dale Earnhardt Jr. set a new qualifying record for the track with a lap of 161.849 mph (22.243 sec.) in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Joey Logano swept the NASCAR Nationwide Series events at Dover for the second straight year, becoming the first driver to win four straight NASCAR Nationwide Series races at the Monster Mile. In the fall event, the “5-hour ENERGY 200 benefiting Living Beyond Breast Cancer” NASCAR Nationwide Series race, Logano set a new fastest race record in his win at 131.219 mph (1:31:27).
2014 – Jimmie Johnson added to his record Dover wins total by winning the June 1 “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, running his total Monster Mile victories to nine. In qualifying for the event, Brad Keselowski won the pole and set a new track record with a lap of 164.444 mph (21.892 seconds). Jeff Gordon wins the Sept. 28 “AAA 400” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, which was the first-ever “Knockout Race” in the newly-formatted Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, narrowing the field of 16 Chase contenders to 12 at the checkered flag. Following the 2014 race season, Dover International Speedway began and completed construction on a new catch fence. The project incorporated the most up-to-date technologies and stands at 21-feet tall, up from the original fence’s 15 feet. In addition, the Speedway begins the process of removing grandstand seating in Turns 2 and 3, right-sizing the facility for the 2015 season. The seat removal brings capacity of the facility to 95,500.