Race Weekend Central

NASCAR 101: Why Is Dover Known As the Monster Mile?

This weekend, NASCAR makes its annual return to Dover Motor Speedway. It hosted its first race NASCAR Cup Series in 1969 and will host its 106th race April 28.

The track is also known as The Monster Mile. What is it that allows the nickname to stick for so long?

In 2000, Dover adopted the most iconic track mascot on the schedule in Miles the Monster. The track brought its mascot to life in 2008 with its The Monster Makeover project that ushered in much-needed upgrades to the track as well as a 46-foot statue of Miles.

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NASCAR TV Schedule This Weekend: April 26 - 28

But besides the name and the mascot, the track is one of the most unique ovals on the NASCAR schedule. With its 24 degrees of banking on the turns (sixth largest on the schedule) and nine degrees of banking on the straightaways, many end up falling victim to the concrete monster.

Additionally, the steep banks produce blistering speeds, topping out at an average speed of up to 160 mph.

Additionally, some of the series’ craziest wrecks have taken place at the Monster Mile.

Joey Logano’s welcome-to-NASCAR moment came in his rookie campaign in the 2009 fall race on lap 32, when he flipped seven times in turn 3, tumbling down the 24-degree banking.

Only two years later in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Logano and Carl Edwards battled in overtime for the lead coming to the white flag, when Logano got loose on the high side, slamming into the wall. The impact triggered a multi-car incident where Clint Bowyer ramped off of Logano’s car and was T-boned by the No. 66 of Steve Wallace, ending the race.

The backstretch is also one of the most treacherous in NASCAR, the site of multiple multi-car pileups over the last few decades.

The 2007 fall playoff race had a 10-car pileup late in the race on lap 387 after Kurt Busch slammed the backstretch wall, involving many in the championship running.

Elliott Sadler lost control of his car in the same area, sending his No. 19 Best Buy Ford hard into the wall and collecting multiple cars barreling into the backstretch.

These moments live on in history and are replayed year upon year to remind everyone that Dover is indeed a tricky place if trouble strikes, and at a moment’s notice, a majority of the field could be in for a massive pileup that could end their day.

The final pieces that make Dover memorable are those who conquered the Monster in the past — most notably Jimmie Johnson, who holds the track record of 11 wins at the track.

He won his first Dover Cup race in 2002, and in his latest Cup win in 2017, the race ended on another massive pileup on the backstretch and into turn 3 when Johnson crossed the overtime line.

Another way Johnson conquered the Monster happened in June 2006, when he slid on his qualifying lap and was able to save the car after spinning multiple times as it slid closer and closer to the inside wall. After the car stopped with no damage, the crowd let out a massive cheer and SPEED cameras cut to teammate Jeff Gordon celebrating Johnson’s incredible save.

“Unreal,” Gordon said. “I heard the screams, and I knew Jimmie was on the track. I never seen anyone not hit the inside wall doing that. He was driving it going backwards. That was unbelievable. Call it luck or skill, I don’t know, but man, that was pretty awesome to stay off of the wall.”

“I’m pretty proud of that one,” Johnson said. “I’m floored. I can’t believe I didn’t tear that racecar up. I was on the brakes, off the brakes, turning the wheel, just doing anything and everything I could to redirect it away from that inside wall, and somehow just by mere inches it came through and worked out.”

Flips pileups, dominance and finishes — The Monster Mile has had it all.

About the author

Wyatt Watson has been an avid fan of NASCAR since 2007 at the age of 8. He joined Frontstretch in February 2023 after serving in the United States Navy for five years as an Electronic Technician Navigation working on submarines. Wyatt writes breaking NASCAR news and contributes to columns such as Friday Faceoff and 2-Headed Monster. Wyatt also contributes to Frontstretch's social media and serves as an at-track reporter.

Wyatt Watson can be found on Twitter @WyattGametime

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CCColorado

Great article Wyatt! Dover has always been one of my favorite tracks, because of all the action, Calamity and flat out speed. It separates the men from the boys, for sure.
Hopefully it doesn’t turn into one of those crappy “ fuel saving” events, so common recently.

Joshua Farmer

I enjoyed the races more when they were 500 miles. You guys remember the days when the cars weren’t unbreakable and the drivers didn’t work out constantly? Why, in this age of athletic drivers and indestructible cars are the races SHORTER? Makes no sense.

wildcatsfan2016

It used to be one of my favorite tracks too and then the “new” car came along and the racing completely changed. The last time we went, the stands were not full. There was enough room that I could stretch out on the bleachers and take a nap during the middle of the race. The last time we went to a race, I guess the mall that was near the track wouldn’t allow people to park there any longer so they parked everyone down in a hole that was a big distance away from the road. It took long enough to get onto the highway from the mall parking lot, from the down in the hole parking lot, the time was increased exponentially. Yes I know, that shouldn’t be the deciding factor but combined with what I considered boring racing, it was enough that we didn’t buy tickets again.

DoninAjax

The track chews up cars and spits them out!

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