Tricky track: Dover International Speedway demands much, rewards those who conquer it DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 31, 2005) -- That roar you hear isn't jets coming and going at the U.S. Air Force's mammoth Dover, Del., base. Rather, it's the sound...
Tricky track: Dover International Speedway demands much, rewards those who conquer it
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 31, 2005) -- That roar you hear isn't jets coming and going at the U.S. Air Force's mammoth Dover, Del., base. Rather, it's the sound of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series cars zooming around Dover's other main attraction -- "The Monster Mile."
That's Dover International Speedway, a high-banked concrete oval whose one-mile length poses one of the toughest challenges on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup schedule. Dover's high banks and concrete surface resembles Bristol Motor Speedway -- the other concrete track on the series schedule.
But Dover's long straightaways generate significant speed. The 24-degree banking in its turns isn't as extreme as Bristol's 36-degree banking, yet that speed combined with tight turns mean precise preparation for teams and drivers.
Or, as Ricky Rudd (No. 21 Motorcraft Ford) says, "the closest thing to asphalt without being asphalt."
Rudd should know; he's expected to make his 54th series start at Dover this weekend and has four Dover victories. Another driver well-acquainted with Dover quirks and quickness is Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge), who has won three of the last four Dover events.
"I really enjoy the race track, the banking, the speeds," Newman said "It's a lot of fun. It's truly a driver's race track because of the way the elevation changes going into the corners and coming off the corners. You really have to stay on top of the race car."
It's also got a new comfort zone; this weekend marks the debut of Dover's new SAFER barrier, the rectangular steel tubing and foam-block system that cushions impact.
"The SAFER barrier has been a blessing for every race car driver that gets to race against the wall that has that," Newman said. "I am extremely grateful for the design of it, for the process and how things are."
Finally, some figures about Dover's concrete mileage: It's paved with 8,286 yards of concrete -- 2,340 tons of cement, 6,026 tons of sand and 9,015 tons of stone. All of which helps "cement" the "Monster Mile" nickname.
"I love Dover and I can't wait to go up there and race," said Mark Martin (No. 6 Viagra Ford), who won last year's spring event. "There just is no cooler racetrack in the world to race on."