BEST BETS: Dover NASCAR weekend includes free concert by Bret Michaels

It will be “nothin’ but a good time” around here this weekend as NASCAR comes roaring into Dover International Speedway during a busy few days that already sees Dover Days on Saturday.

Highlighting action around the track is a free concert by Bret Michaels Sunday on the AAA Stage at Victory Plaza.

Bret Michaels will perform a free concert on the AAA Stage at Victory Plaza on Sunday before the AAA 400 Drive for Autism Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway.
(Submitted photo)

The singer/songwriter has sold more than 40 million records worldwide as a solo performer and member of the rock group Poison.

The concert will take place before the AAA 400 Drive for Autism Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at 2 p.m.

Mr. Michaels, a car and motorcycle fanatic, recently embarked on his 2018 Party Starts Now tour and will play his solo hits and Poison songs, including “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” “Unskinny Bop” and “Something to Believe In.”

Poison’s hit album “Open Up and Say … Ahh!” is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

As a solo artist, Mr. Michaels’ 2010 album “Custom Built” reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hard Rock and Independent Albums charts, and “Jammin’ With Friends,” recorded in 2013, included contributors Jimmy Buffett, Loretta Lynn and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry. Mr. Michaels’ theme song to the VH1 hit show “Rock of Love with Bret Michaels” won a Broadcast Music, Inc. award for the most-played television theme song.

A Type-1 diabetic since age 6, he won his season on NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” raising funds for the American Diabetes Association. In all, Mr. Michaels’ charitable efforts have helped raise more than $3 million for diabetes research. He has also assisted in raising funds for wounded U.S. veterans, childhood cancer research, St. Jude Children’s Hospital and PetSmart Charities.

Jessica Lynn, a singer/songwriter from New York, who has shared the stage and toured the world with some of country music’s most well-known performers, will sing the national anthem prior to the AAA 400 Drive for Autism race Sunday.

Ms. Lynn, who has had two full-length PBS concert specials, and several nationwide and international tours, recently had her latest single “Crazy Idea,” reach the top 50 on U.S. country radio charts, and rise to the No. 4 most streamed release on the Play MPE Chart.

A Pace University graduate with a Master’s degree in special education, she has shared the stage with such notables as Clint

Country singer Jessica Lynn will perform the national anthem before Sunday’s NASCAR race at Dover International Speedway. (Submitted photo)

Black, Montgomery Gentry, Jake Owen, Brad Paisley and Keith Urban. She has toured with Jo Dee Messina, and opened for country music legend Loretta Lynn.

In 2017, Jessica Lynn toured Europe and the United Kingdom in support of her latest album “Look At Me That Way,” which included opening for rockers ZZ Top.

Jordan Hicks, a linebacker for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, and team announcers Merrill Reese and Mike Quick, will serve as dignitaries for Sunday’s race.

Mr. Reese and Mr. Quick will be the race’s co-grand marshals and Mr. Hicks will be the event’s honorary starter.

The three will be at the AAA Stage at Victory Plaza at 9:45 a.m. for an Eagles celebration.

For the seventh straight year, the Autism Awareness Day at the Races program provides families with a sensory-friendly environment to enjoy Sunday’s race.

Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano will be among the NASCAR drivers and personalities greeting guests during the event, which is a joint effort between Dover International Speedway and Autism Delaware. A portion of the proceeds support Autism Delaware.

Autism Awareness Day at the Races includes information booths with items of interest to families affected by autism, a hot lunch buffet, non-alcoholic beverages and much more. As in years past, a reserved area near the grandstand seats will provide a quiet zone, with muted lighting and sound, allowing attendees to take a break from the race and crowds when necessary.

Also Sunday, off-track highlights include driver autographs and appearances in the FanZone and Victory Plaza.

On Saturday, the band Triple Rail Turn will play on the AAA Stage at 9:45 and 11:30 a.m.

At 10:15 a.m., Jeff Gordon, the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion who reached Dover International Speedway’s Victory Lane five times in his career, will be honored during a marquee plaque unveiling on the Monster Monument at Victory Plaza.

The ceremony will include remarks from Mr. Gordon and Dover Motorsports, Inc. CEO Denis McGlynn. Dover International Speedway President and CEO Mike Tatoian and Mike Bagley, the host of Sirius XM’s “The Morning Drive” and a Motor Racing Network announcer, will host the event.

Autograph sessions will also be held throughout the day leading up to the 1:30 p.m. start of the OneMain Financial 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash race.

Today sees Camping World Truck Series autograph and appearance sessions throughout the day at the FanZone and Victory Plaza before the 5 p.m. JEGS 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.

All weekend long, race fans won’t go hungry. Food options will be plentiful.

The Delmarva Dog includes a hot dog served in a split top bun, topped with fire-roasted corn, cheese sauce and crab meat. Served with Old Bay potato chips, each Delmarva Dog order will cost $10.

It can be found in:

• Main concessions area in Victory Plaza

• North Grandstand near Gate 15

• South Grandstand near Gate 4

Food trucks and other goodies including Loaded Mac & Cheese, Loaded Fries, Loaded Nachos and The Walking Taco highlight selections.

For tickets or more information about race weekend, call 800-441-RACE or visit

Pie contest is back

As mentioned here and elsewhere in Finally Friday!, Dover Days joins a busy weekend in the capital city with a full day of activities throughout downtown.

Of special note is the return of the Celebrity Peach Pie Eating Contest at 12:30 p.m. on the Entertainment Stage at Legislative Mall.

Yours truly will compete for the fifth year in trying to eat a whole peach pie in the fastest time among a field of notables, including Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen and Kent County Administrator Michael Petit de Mange.

Dina Vendetti, principal of St. John’s Lutheran School in Dover, whose students host and help run the event, will attempt to defend her title of pie eating champ from 2016.

Public Archives tour

Also on Saturday, the staff of the Delaware Public Archives will conduct a tour of the facility at 1:30 p.m.

This annual “behind the scenes” tour of the building offers the public a rare opportunity to learn more about the role of the DPA, and see how the Archives preserves and protects the records that are important to every Delawarean.

This event is free and no reservations are required. It will last approximately one hour.

The Delaware Public Archives is at 121 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd North in Dover.

For more information, contact Tom Summers at 744-5047 or e-mail

‘Disappeared Dover’

Keeping with the Dover Days spirit Saturday, the Friends of Old Dover has created a one-day only Dover Museum that explores how Dover has changed in the recent past.

The exhibit will be in the rotunda of City Hall (15 Loockerman Plaza) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Bill Burton, who has arranged the “museum,” explained that “Dover has undergone so much change over the years that even long-term residents don’t remember them all. Fires, changing architectural taste, re-use, and redevelopment have altered the face of our city, sometimes for the better, sometimes not,” he said.

“‘Disappeared Dover’ shows some of these changes, but there are many others. The pictures we’re displaying are a mix of what’s changed, what’s gone, and what’s still here but in a different form. Lifelong residents and newcomers alike can appreciate how our community’s place in history has changed.”

Mr. Burton says preserving and celebrating any community’s past is not easy. Not only its buildings but also the stories of Caesar Rodney, Mabel Lloyd Ridgely, John Dickinson, Annie Jump Cannon, and many others are being lost as time passes.

“Only Dover among all the capital cities of the United States lacks its own local museum. Having one would give Dover a focus for preserving and explaining our rich and varied history. We hope that this exhibit will spark an interest in creating such a museum,” he said.

Toney Rocks in Dover

Finally, Dover native and Americana singer-songwriter Toney Rocks will perform his third annual concert at the Kent

Dover’s Toney Rocks will perform an evening of his Americana music Friday at Patchwork Playhouse. (Submitted photo)

County Theatre Guild’s Patchwork Playhouse in Dover Friday at 7 p.m.

The Las Vegas Weekly recently named him as one of 10 Las Vegas Artists to Watch in 2017.

Kathy Forste, music director of KC Cafe Radio said, “Toney Rocks voice is cool and sweet, rocking and lyrical. His songs are thoughtful and hummable”.

His songwriting is steeped in folk, blues and rock influences which has led to him sharing the stage as a guest with folk music legend, David Bromberg. In addition to headlining concerts around the U.S., he has opened for artists such as Corey Harris and Jarekus Singleton.

Tickets for the show are $20 general admission, $18 for students, seniors and military, $17 for Guild members and $10 for children 12 and under.

The Patchwork Playhouse is at 140 E. Roosevelt Ave., Dover.

Now Showing

New this weekend in theaters is the suspense film “Bad Samaritan,” the romantic comedy remake “Overboard” with Anna Faris and the Charlize Theron comedy “Tully.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is “Fifty Shades Freed.”

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