Dover Motor Speedway combines the best of two worlds in NASCAR: The one-mile-long venue has the speed of a much bigger track, combined with a short-track style that requires technical ability behind the wheel.
Strokers need not apply at Dover.
The result is some of the most fun, and unpredictable, racing that the NASCAR Cup Series produces yearly. All you have to do is watch this myriad of material to show that just about anything can happen, from incredible endings to milestones, and special moments for elite drivers.
Check out some of the most special moments at Dover — known as the monster mile because of the track’s ability to eat up race teams if they aren’t prepared for it:
Five Special Moments at Dover
2005 MBNA NASCAR Race Points 400 (0.080 seconds separates winners) – Sept. 25
It was down to the final few laps, and rising superstar Jimmie Johnson was on the verge of winning several series championships — but in 2005 he still hadn’t won one yet. He found himself battling rookie sensation — and Hendrick Motorsports teammate at the time — Kyle Busch for the late-season win at Dover. The end? The closest margin of victory in Dover Cup Series history — but we won’t spoil things when it comes to what happened.
2001 MBNA Cal Ripken, Jr. 400 – Dale Jr. waves American Flag after 9/11- Sept. 23
In the first race after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. captured the checkered flag at Dover — and he had the chance to carry the American flag with him during the victory celebration lap. It is still considered one of the most memorable moments in NASCAR history.
1984 Budweiser 500 – Richard Petty Wins His Seventh at Dover – May 20
Richard Petty won the first two NASCAR Cup Series races held at Dover in 1969 and 1970, and he won three of the first four. In 1984, in one of the final wins of his 200-win career, Petty took the checkered flag and tied Bobby Allison for the all-time wins lead at the track with his seventh. That would be surpassed later by Jimmie Johnson (11 all-time Dover wins).
2006 Jeff Burton Finally Wins Again – September
After winning 17 races between 1997 and 2001, Jeff Burton went four straight seasons without a victory — until September of 2006 when he captured the checkered flag at Dover. Tears flowed in his pit after he broke the frustrating streak.
2006 “The Save” – Jimmie Johnson Does the Impossible During Qualifying
Jimmie Johnson has a lot of “favorite tracks”, but there’s no doubt Dover is one of them. He won 11 races there during his illustrious career, the most of any venue on the schedule. More than one-eighth of all his career wins came at the Delaware track. And on this particular day in 2006, he had one of the best “saves” of anyone during qualifying — keeping his team from having to do massive repairs.
Could this weekend produce another one of these top Dover moments? That’s the thing about this one-mile track — you never know.