Dover Country Speedway is one of the older, classic NASCAR racetracks. It was first opened in 1947 and was originally called Harford Speedway. In 1951 they changed the name to match their home city. Over the years, it has had a few major renovations and changed the surface many times. Today it is considered one of the most historic tracks in NASCAR.
The Track Records
Dover is most famous for the huge lap counter sitting at the entranceway to the grandstands. It starts with a mere 200 feet of concrete pavement and then it opens up onto a three-mile concrete strip.
It has been determined that the track is 5,280 feet long. However, that doesn’t include the long backstretch, which is actually three miles. When they added the backstretch in 1961, they retroactively made it 5,280 feet long.
The surface has been altered 20 times, with the most recent renovation taking place in 2010. Since then, they have had 12 different sets of tires used at least once. This is mainly because of the track’s proximity to the sea. The temperature can fluctuate a lot, especially in the summer, and tires can degrade quickly in the hot weather.
Dover is a short track, but it still needs a bit of the banked turn approach. There is no off-camber section and if you are looking at a point-to-point racing scenario, you won’t find many grooves or edges for your tires to grip. This makes it a true challenge for the drivers, especially in the summer when it’s hot.
The frontstretch is extremely long and it allows for plenty of room for cautions and crashes. There is also a wide, grassy median strip in the middle of the track that provides a sense of safety and also adds a little bit of flair to the race. These strips were first adopted in the 1960s and have somewhat of a tradition at Dover. The grass is mowed close to the edge of the strip, which makes it easy for the drivers to pull off quick slingshots if they need to. It’s quite the sight to see a car taking off from the backstretch, racing down the frontstretch and around the very first turn before launching into the drag race on the backstretch.
The History Of Dover
Dover was originally built as a municipal racetrack and it was one of the first concrete racetracks in America. During its time as a public track, it had several names including:
- Haverford Stadium
- St. John’s Raceway
- Pocono Raceway
- Somerset Speedway
- Penske Racing School
- Pennsauken Speedway
- Walter Johnson Memorial Park
The first NASCAR race at Dover was in 1950 and it was won by Lloyd Seigfried. Since then, it has had a lot of great racers and over the years it has had several important NASCAR points races. One of the most recent was the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Chase where Max Papis won.
This is an amazing track with an interesting history. If you’re a big NASCAR fan, then you have to check it out at least once.