Dover International Speedway
Roush Fenway’s Battles at Dover Mile Have Been Nothing Short of Monstrous
CONCORD, N.C. (May 13, 2011) -- Jack Roush and his race teams have been battling the “Monster Mile” of Dover International Speedway for almost 25 years and during that time the ‘Cat in the Hat’ has experienced more than his fair share of success at the one-mile concrete oval known for fast turns and gritty racing action. Still, that’s not to say the track has not lived up to its nickname for Roush and his multi-car organization.
“It’s a ‘Monster Mile’ for sure,” said Roush. “It’s concrete, high-banked and there’s lots of grip. You go down in that corner, breathe the throttle a little bit and go hard on the gas. It really doesn’t take a lot of finesse, but you better have both feet on the gas and you better be ready to go.”
At first glance it may appear easy, what Roush and this organization have been able to accomplish in Delaware. His teams boast 13 NASCAR wins at Dover, having won there in all three major series. The stats include eight wins and six poles in the Sprint Cup Series, where the teams have combined to lead over 3,500 laps. In addition, Roush Fenway can claim three Nationwide Series wins and three truck victories.
However, a closer look reveals that Roush Fenway battled intensely before eventually besting the one-mile Monster.
Roush Fenway found speed from the start at Dover, starting on the front row in its first three races there, while winning the pole in two of the three. The team led in six of its first seven races there and finished runner up in three of its first six attempts.
In fact, Roush Fenway led an amazing 611 laps in its first decade of racing there, but victory at the Monster Mile was elusive.
Eventually the ultimate success came with Roush Fenway and Mark Martin besting the track in the fall of 1997, taking the checkered flag from the pole, while leading 194 of 400 laps in a dominating victory. The win appeared to open the flood gates of success, with the team again winning from the pole the following year, this time leading an amazing 379 of 400 laps. Roush Fenway would win again in 1998 and the course of success was set for the organization.
It really doesn’t take a lot of finesse, but you better have both feet on the gas and you better be ready to go.
Since that first win Roush Fenway has went on to visit victory lane at Dover 12 more times, with a total of five different drivers taking cars to victory lane at the track. The team will look to expand on the legacy this weekend, when they once again hit the fast concrete of Dover.
Roush Fenway’s Matt Kenseth, who made his first career start at Dover – a sixth-place finish in 1998 – lists the track as one of his favorites on the circuit. Kenseth, who has finished top 10 in 15 of 24 races at Dover, notes that it is perhaps the most unique track on the NASCAR schedule.
“I always look forward to coming to Dover,” said Kenseth, the 2003 Sprint Cup Champion. “It’s kind of always been my favorite track, and it’s always a real challenge. It’s a very unique track. There’s not another track even remotely close to it on the circuit anymore, so I always look forward to coming here.”
Roush Fenway’s Carl Edwards, who has won at Dover in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series said there is nothing like the sensation of speed at DIS.
“Dover is one of the most fun race tracks we go to,” said Edwards. “It’s got the highest sensation of speed for me of any place we go, so that’s always fun.
“That’s why we all started racing – we like to drive fast,” added Edwards. “It’s a mile. It’s high-banked. It’s fast-paced, and late in the race you can run two or three-wide, which is really fun. And, yeah, the wrecks there are crazy. It’s like driving 100 miles an hour down the hallway in your house. There’s not a lot of room.
“It’s certainly not the biggest track, but it feels like you are going 280 miles per hour. It can be a grueling race track and that is what makes wins there very special.”
Greg Biffle, who has hoisted the monster four times between the NNS and Sprint Cup Series, says that while tough, the track tends to suit the driving styles at Roush Fenway.
“It’s a tough race track and the driver’s ability makes up a little bit more of it,” said Biffle. “Then the car has to make up the rest. I think it is just one of those race tracks that suits our driving styles and suits our cars. It’s a challenge for sure, but it’s one of the places that we really look forward to going as an organization.
Roush Fenway will hope to continue its tradition of fast cars when NASCAR once again rolls into the Monster Mile of Dover this weekend, and you can bet the teams will look to once again take home a couple of Monster trophies to go along with the 12 others that currently set in the team’s trophy case.
“We’ve had a lot of success at Dover over the years for sure,” said Roush. “But we’ve had our heartache as well. You have to earn it there. As I said, it’s not about finesse at Dover. You better hope that your tires don’t give up and you better be ready to get on the gas and go. I think based on our reasonable history at the track and our lineup of drivers, that we’ll be able to do that again with success this year. I would certainly expect with the start to the season that we’ve had and how we have run, that we will go to Dover looking to be contenders and looking to take our Fords back to victory lane there.”