Monster weekend: 6 NASCAR races in 3 days in August at Dover

DOVER — Dover International Speedway sat silent when its spring NASCAR weekend in May was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That will hardly be the case in August, as officials from Dover International Speedway announced on Wednesday that the “Monster Mile” will host an unprecedented NASCAR Cup Series doubleheader at the track on Aug. 22 and 23, while also hosting a pair of Xfinity Series races, a Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series event, along with an ARCA Menards Series race over the course of the weekend.

One thing is for certain, it will be a stark contrast from May as the high-banked one-mile oval will be fully stocked with auto racing action the entire weekend.

The “Drydene 311” NASCAR Cup Series race remains on its original Sunday, Aug. 23 date (4 p.m., NBCSN), while the re-scheduled May 3 Cup Series race now moves to Saturday, Aug. 22 (4 p.m., NBCSN), which will also be 311 laps. Each Cup Series race day will also include a 200-mile NASCAR Xfinity Series event, including the postponed race from May 2. The Saturday Xfinity race will start at 12:30 p.m. (NBCSN) while the Sunday event will begin at 1 p.m. (NBCSN).

The new date for May’s postponed NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race is Friday, Aug. 21 (5 p.m., FS1) and the “General Tire 125” ARCA Menards Series East race is also scheduled to take place that afternoon at 2 p.m.

It is believed to be the first time in NASCAR history that one track will host six points-paying events across one weekend of racing.
“Six races, three days and one hungry ‘Miles the Monster,’” Mike Tatoian, the president and CEO of Dover International Speedway, said in a statement. “We are certainly looking forward to a historic weekend here in Dover.”

The biggest question mark remaining is whether or not fans will be able to attend any of the race weekend action. Dover International Speedway has a capacity for 54,000 fans.

Speedway officials remain in consultation with local, state and federal health officials, as well as Gov. John Carney, on whether fans will be allowed in the stands with appropriate social distancing for the August events. New fan procedures would include distancing in grandstands and concession lines, enhanced cleaning in high-traffic areas, added hand sanitizer stations and infield access limited to race team and track personnel only.

“We appreciate the cooperation we’ve received from not only NASCAR and our network partners, but also from state and community leaders in preparation for these events,” Tatoian said. “As we continue to collaborate with all of the stakeholders, public safety remains our top priority. We will continue to monitor the situation and plan for best health practices for all involved as we get closer to our race weekend.”

NASCAR returned to racing May 17 after a two-month 70-day shutdown that began in mid-March due to the coronavirus.

NASCAR Cup Series driver Aric Almirola said he is looking forward to racing in the heat of summer, especially at Dover. The average temperature for August in Delaware’s capital city is a balmy 86 degrees.

“It will be fun. I love those conditions,” Almirola said. “The hotter the better, to be honest. I feel like a lot of my training and stuff pays off in those conditions. I don’t feel like I’m falling out of the seat. I feel fresh, ready to go. At the end of the race I feel as good as I do at the beginning of the race. I enjoy it. I know some people dread racing in the hot of the day. I don’t mind it.”

One cool thing not lost on Tatoian is that the prestigious Indianapolis 500 — which was also postponed from its traditional Memorial Day date in May — will be taking place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Aug. 23, as a pseudo-prelude to the final race of an intense race weekend at Dover.

“The good news is (the fans) can sit in the grandstand and watch the Indy 500 and stay and watch our race live,” Tatoian said. “What a perfect day that would be for a motorsports fan. Watch it live on your phone, sit in the grandstand and enjoy a hot dog.”

Fans can call (800) 441-RACE to speak with a Dover ticket office representative to review their accounts and options.

Race fans can also follow speedway news and updates, including information on potential fan attendance in August, on DoverSpeedway.com and keep track of the latest announcements via social media at Facebook.com/DoverInternationalSpeedway, or on Twitter and Instagram at @MonsterMile.

NASCAR fans should relish the Cup Series doubleheader in August, considering that starting next year Dover Motorsports Inc. has chosen to take one of its traditional two race weekends to Nashville Superspeedway in Tennessee.

“NASCAR fans, our broadcast partners, sponsors, media and drivers have been very vocal about the need to create a more dynamic schedule in 2021,” said Tatoian. “As a longtime partner of NASCAR, we responded to its request and together we collaborated and reached agreement on resurrecting our Nashville facili-ty that we built back in 2001.

“While future schedules are largely determined by the sanctioning body and our television partners — and it is never easy to halt a 50-year tradition of two NASCAR weekends at Dover — we are fortunate that our company now offers two unique venues to challenge America’s best drivers.”