Auto racing bets hit top gear on NASCAR weekend at Dover

DOVER — The Delaware Sports Lottery made a winning bet when it comes to a sports fan’s appetite to literally watch the results come in.

NASCAR fans flocked to the first ever wagering station inside Dover International Speedway last weekend, producing numbers that dwarfed previous auto racing bets for the past several months combined.

Prior to the Dover races, a minuscule .2 percent of all money bet on sports involved auto racing.

Before last week, $53,286 had been wagered on the sport since the lottery’s inception on June 5.

Last week alone, $52,629 was placed on auto racing.

The lottery kept 7 percent (over $3,700) of the money bet last week on NASCAR.

Pretty good, right?

“I would say the results were an unqualified success,” Delaware Lottery Director Vernon Kirk said. “There was a lot of positive ‘buzz’ among the crowd and I think Dover Downs appreciated the added publicity.

“Going forward we will debrief with Dover Downs and work together on ideas to improve the customer experience.”

At the trackside tent inside the Monster Mile, $17,800 was wagered on all sports and $601,700 was bet at the Dover Downs casino overall.

Even before the numbers were tabulated, the eye test confirmed that the opportunity to wager was well received. At times, up to 100 fans with odds sheets in hand were lined up waiting to place bets prior to Sunday’s Gander Outdoors 400 near the Monster Monument at Victory Plaza.

The line reportedly stretched at least 30 yards with still three hours left before the green flag waved.

“This is the first time I’ve ever bet on a NASCAR race, even though I’ve been following it for 30 years,” said Tony Mendez, of Lewes. “I saw some of the odds and they have some of the guys with really good odds.

“I mean, how can you not pick Jimmie Johnson at 15-1? You can’t really beat that. I follow NASCAR so I’m going to give it a try.”

Staff writer Mike Finney contributed to this story.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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