Anniversaries are a big deal (just ask any couple who’s been married, 25, 50 or even 75 years!). So it’s no surprise that Dover International Speedway has big plans for celebrating its 50th anniversary season.

Dover is the capital city of Delaware, our first state, and just celebrated its 300th anniversary. It is home to Dover Air Force Base, where fallen U.S. service members are returned home before being transferred to family members.

The “Monster Mile” racetrack, opened in 1969 as the brainchild of former Delaware Gov. David Buckson and primarily funded by a Delaware businessman and former lieutenant governor. Construction began two years prior to that on a piece of land that previously used as a farm and local airstrip for small planes.

Fans flocked to the high-banked, one-mile oval course for the first NASCAR event held in Delaware: the Mason-Dixon 300. Over 10,000 witnessed Richard Petty take the first checkered flag – and they’ve been coming back ever since. Petty later called that first Dover race NASCAR’s “invasion of the North”. Twice a year, Dover International gets to be the racing capital of the world, attracting fans from all 50 states and many countries.

So how does Dover plan to celebrate it’s big anniversary?

50 Years of Monster Mile Celebrated

The anniversary year’s festivities started with the first of two tripleheader weekends on May 3-6. A Delaware historical marker for Dover International Speedway was unveiled on Thursday, just before the start of the weekend. The Winston Cup Mobile Museum was there as a part of the FanZone. Our display included five vintage race cars including cars driven by Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Terry Labonte.

Dover International anniversary

The next tripleheader is slated for Oct. 4-6 and features a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race on Friday, Oct. 4. That will be followed up by a NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff race the next day and a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff race on Sunday. This last race will be the 100th NASCAR Cup Series race in track history. Dover will be just the 10th track in the country to host 100 or more NASCAR Cup Series events. Besides racing, there will be various entertainment options outside the track for visitors.

Throughout NASCAR, tickets for children 12 and under are FREE for Friday and Saturday and only $10 for Sunday races. This is no different at Dover International. The Monster Mile Youth Nation will be set up near Dover’s FanZone where children can learn about NASCAR, play games and enjoy fun activities. Drivers will be on hand to sign autographs and take photos.

The legend is that a driver in the 1970s (back when the Cup Series races here were 500 miles long) climbed out of his car after an event and said “That track ain’t nothing but a monster.” Monster Trophies, depicting our track mascot “Miles the Monster,” have been awarded to race winners here since the Fall of 2004.

Why do they call it the “Monster Mile”?

The legend is that a driver in the 1970s (back when the Cup Series races here were 500 miles long) climbed out of his car after an event and said “That track ain’t nothing but a monster.” Monster Trophies, depicting our track mascot “Miles the Monster,” have been awarded to race winners here since the Fall of 2004.

Dover International Claims to Fame

Dover has also been the site of some famous crashes in NASCAR history. In the Fall of 2009, Joey Logano crashed when his car was clipped by Tony Stewart. Logano flipped multiple times amidst heavy traffic – and was cheered by the crowds when he emerged unscathed. Logano was involved in another crash in the Spring of 2011 along with several other drivers, including Clint Bowyer who got airborne but managed to avoid flipping his vehicle. And many will remember the pile-up involving 18 cars in 2016 triggered by a restart by Jimmie Johnson. Yes…Dover has seen its fair share of spectacular wrecks. Thankfully, there have never been any fatalities.

Jimmie Johnson is the all-time leader in NASCAR Cup Series wins with 11. He is followed by Bobby Allison and Richard Petty with seven wins apiece. Johnson’s most recent victory at Dover, on June 4, 2017, is his most recent NASCAR Cup Series win to date. This historic win tied him with NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough with 83 all-time NASCAR Cup Series race victories (tied for sixth all-time).

The Winston Cup Museum is excited to be a part of this year of celebration at Dover International. For cars, photos and memorabilia related to this well-known race track, be sure to stop by and visit our museum this summer!

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