31 May History of the Dover International Speedway aka “The Monster Mile”
NASCAR drivers are preparing to take on the Monster Mile this weekend! With the excited support of 75 million fans, anticipation for this upcoming weekend grows. Let’s pause, hit rewind, and take a look back at the history of the track that became known as the world’s fastest one mile oval.
Formerly known as Dover Downs International Speedway, ground broke at Dover in 1967 and opened the track after a quick two years of construction. In 2002 Dover Downs Entertainment changed its name to Dover Motorsports, which is why the track’s name is now Dover International Speedway.
To call Dover International Speedway unique would be an understatement, and here’s why… It is one of the few racetracks that are exactly one mile long, which means it is neither considered a short track nor a superspeedway. Dover is one of three concrete racetracks used in NASCAR’s three major series, the other two being Bristol Motor Speedway and Nashville Superspeedway. Dover International Speedway is owned by Dover Motorsports, which is one of only three publicly held ownership groups of NASCAR tracks. All other NASCAR tracks are privately held.
In 2006, Dover International Speedway began phase one of three phases of the “Monster Makeover”, a multi-year project that will improve the fan’s experience while renovating the 135,000-seat facility. Phase one of construction was completed in 2007; a new skybox complex and a new and improved media center were amongst the several capital improvement projects around the facility. Phase two of construction, which started and ended in 2008, added the 46-foot Monster Monument at Victory Plaza, a sculpture of Dover’s signature icon Miles the Monster, and explanted the FanZone display area. Phase three of construction began in late 2008 and focused on creating a new inside retaining wall that will be fully equipped with a safer barrier.
In 2011, Dover Motorsports announced that over the next two years the 18 inch wide seats in the grandstands will be replaced with 22 inch wide ones. Although this will reduce the capacity from 140,000 to 113,000 persons, fan’s comfort takes priority at the Monster Mile!
Now let’s fill you in on a few fun facts about Dover International Speedway before you head off to the 5-hour ENERGY® 200 Race on Saturday! Mark Martin holds the record for receiving the most top 5’s (23) and receiving the most top 10’s (31) at Dover International Speedway. Additionally, on September 21, 1997 Martin completed the fastest race at an incredible speed of 132.719mph. Bobby Allison and Richard Petty hold the record for the most wins at Dover, receiving 7 wins each. While Ricky Rudd holds the record for the most laps competed at Dover with an astounding 23,387 laps!
“Miles the Monster”, the speedway’s signature icon, is a concrete monster that originated from the track’s nickname, “The Monster Mile.” It’s impossible to miss “Miles the Monster” since it’s featured on the winner’s trophy, the track’s tickets, memorabilia, Website, and the Monster Monument. So, be sure to join the 5-hour ENERGY® Racing team and say hello to “Miles the Monster” while cheering on your favorite driver at the 5-hour ENERGY® 200 race on Saturday and 5-hour ENERGY® Racing’s own Clint Bowyer on Sunday!