The fashion guide for NASCAR newbies

Be bold or go home: fashionable dos and don’ts for your first NASCAR race

By Joe Kukura

The first rule for any rookie NASCAR racegoer is simple: act like you’ve been there before!

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True NASCAR gearheads know that the right gear and apparel can not only earn you major style points at the track, but it’ll make you stand out and feel right at home among a—shall we say, enthusiastic—jampacked crowd there to show off their own race-day pride the only way they know how.

The good news for you is that we have you covered from head to toe with these dos and don’ts for easygoing fashion types, or for those who want to make a bold first impression.

The only question is—how bold do you feel?

The first thing to remember is that if your gear is not official, then you’re not official. So regardless of your level of ambition, the first stop must be the official NASCAR shop, which has all kinds of official custom apparel and accessories to prove your diehard support for the greatest live event in sports. Some tracks, like Dover International Speedway, will have their own official line of apparel and accessories to deck you out in the colors and insignia of the Monster Mile, for example.

The second thing to remember is that comfort is key. When you’re at the track all weekend long, it’s just as important to feel good as it is to look good. With that in mind, here’s a style guide for the novice fan and tips to properly prep yourself for race-day glory.

DO bring foam fingers, flags and banners. The-fashion-guide-for-NASCAR-newbies-5You should already know this, but having flags, banners and custom-made signs at any sporting event—especially NASCAR—is truly the No. 1 way to represent. Tie one to your RV, the tailgate of your truck or the trunk of your car and let everyone know you mean business. Besides, it’s a great way to break the ice while tailgating.

DO wear a full-on racecar driver costume. Look, we won’t judge you, but if you want to go all-in at your first NASCAR race, then go all-in, full Kyle Busch M&M style. Nothing’s stopping you!

DO rock your Crocs. We get it, you love your Crocs and we love you, so if you’re looking to coordinate colors to match the ones on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 Chevy SS, then by all means, rock ’em.

DO show a little skin, but at your own risk! Ladies, this one’s for you. We know you want to strut your stuff at the track (and the guys do, too), just be mindful. Your tank top and short shorts seem great at high noon, but not so much when the sun goes down or the rain kicks up. And don’t forget to load up on the sunscreen. Opt for colored sunscreen and do some face painting.

Meanwhile, that cool NASCAR leather jacket you borrowed from your uncle won’t be so cool on a sunny and sweaty afternoon. Layer your outfits right so you can make changes when the weather inevitably becomes unpredictable.

The-fashion-guide-for-NASCAR-newbies-1DON’T wear heels. Sure, high heels and a sundress are sexy, but when it comes NASCAR—a bikini top with hiking boots is even sexier. Frankly, ordinary sandals or high heels are not recommended. You’ll be walking quite a bit, and you cannot expect to be walking on pavement all weekend. You’ll be trekking on gravel, dirt paths or grass at some point during the race.

DON’T wear white shorts (we mean it!). White T-shirts are cool, but white shorts are a major NASCAR faux pas. After all, with all the debris and dirt flying around, they won’t remain white for long. As a matter of fact, they probably won’t be white ever again. Simply, white is for church, not NASCAR.

DO wear headgear. Baseball hats, bandanas and cowboy hats are traditional NASCAR attire. Don’t leave home without one! Helpful in both warm and cool weather conditions, they prevent sunburn and help retain your body heat if it gets cold or rains. Bandanas are also great accessories for covering your mouth in dusty conditions, but they won’t keep the sun out of your eyes.

DON’T bother with cosmetics. Lipstick, blush and eyeshadow are not your friends when you’re at the track for a long, hot, dusty day. Face paint for the kids, on the other hand, is obviously a must.

DO wear sunglasses.The-fashion-guide-for-NASCAR-newbies-4

First of all, NASCAR isnt’ NASCAR without great people-watching, but you definitely don’t want to get caught staring. And you have to anticipate the sun being very bright, especially with glare bouncing off the cars. Those shades can save your eyes through the weekend.

DO bring back the fanny pack! Did somebody say fanny pack? Yup, sure did. Some people think fanny packs are a fashion faux pas. But guess what? Those people are wrong!

At NASCAR, fanny packs are as cool as you want them to be, not to mention they’re incredibly convenient. Keep necessities like lip balm and sunscreen close by without having to lug around a bulky backpack and bumping into people all day. Besides, some even have holsters for those beverages you’ll be hoisting. You know, the Budweiser kind to go along with your Kevin Harvick koozie—score! You can also stuff ponchos inside and cold hard cash knowing it’s safe.

Security can also be a concern, so they’ll want you to empty your pack to examine the contents. So by bringing a fanny pack, you’re not really holding up the line. But if you insist on backpacking, purchase a clear backpack from the NASCAR store and waltz right through security.

Now you’re all set for your first NASCAR race. Your next step is to splurge on some flashy apparel and hit the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit when it returns to the Monster Mile from Oct. 2 to 4 for the Challenger Round of the Chase.

And when all those people come up to you at the track asking where you got all that awesome gear, act like you’ve been there before.

Visit Dover International Speedway to purchase its official branded gear and apparel, and get on tickets to the Sprint Cup Series today.

Kids’ engines race for NASCAR

By Joe Kukura

Take our word for it, there’s no better outdoor sporting event to take your kids to than a NASCAR race. Not just because kids love racecars, but because there is so much to do at the track, it’s like taking them to a race, an arcade and a carnival all in one awesome event.

All tracks in the NASCAR circuit gladly welcome your little fast and furious grease monkeys to race day and usually at a discounted price. For example, Dover International Speedway is offering $8 tickets for kids 14 and under for Saturday’s XFINITY Series race on Oct. 3 and $10 for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race on Oct. 4.

Kids-at-NASCAR-Dover-revised[2]-1So if your little ladies or gentlemen have been racing their engines at trying to get you to take them to watch NASCAR up close, now is the time to do it. Here are some great ways you can help them enjoy the weekend and make memories last all the way through to the checkered flag.

Pack it up, pack it in

Before you start your own car’s engine, make sure you understand the importance of snacks, water and books or portable DVD players, because you’ll want to keep your little crew duly occupied until you get to the track.

There are a few must-have personal items to keep on-hand for the kiddos. We’re talking sunscreen, hats and sunglasses as absolute necessities if you plan to spend more than an hour under the hot sun. Oh, and seat cushions are a great idea for time spent sitting in the stands, and earplugs are also essential.

Gear for the ears

Actually, earplugs should be considered mandatory, but renting a NASCAR scanner and headphones is a fantastic alternative. Kill two birds with one stone as you keep everyone’s ears safe while eavesdropping on radio communications between the drivers and their crew chiefs.

With FanVision, kids will have a fully immersive race experience with the ability to tune into live broadcast feeds, access eight unique camera angles with instant replay, and follow up to three drivers all at once. Dover is selling special ticket packages that include a free FanVision or Racing Electronics scanner rental for the Sunday race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Oct. 4.

Zone out

Nearly every track on the Sprint Cup circuit has a fan zone, but at Dover, the eight-acre FanZone is more its own world. Located just outside Turn 4, the area entertains kids of all ages all weekend long with activities like rock climbing and simulated racecar driving.

But that’s just for starters.

Grab foam fingers for the entire family and head over to the Monster Monument at Victory Plaza, where the kids will have a chance to meet their favorite drivers and get autographs. Plus, the massive, 46-foot-tall Miles the Monster statue with a full-scale stock car in its right hand will blow their minds, and poses as a cool backdrop for selfies.

But wait, there’s more.Kids-at-NASCAR-Dover-revised[2]-2

Dover’s Monster FunZone offers amusement park rides, a moon bounce, an obstacle course, face painting and a bunch of great NASCAR arcade games. And the best part about it all—admission is free.

Monster Mile Youth Nation

Monster Mile Youth Nation is Dover’s official kids club exclusively for race fans ages 14 and under. Annual membership is just $20 and it provides opportunities for young fans to explore NASCAR in a fun and educational way. Membership includes a free FanVision rental for one race weekend, a welcome gift, a Dover merchandise coupon, a diecast model car and access to the special VIP area in the Monster FunZone. Call 800-441-RACE to sign up.
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Keep in mind that taking your kid to NASCAR may be a bit overwhelming at first, so it’s best to allow ample time before the race to become acclimated to your surroundings. These days, most NASCAR tracks offer alcohol-free and tobacco-free seating areas, but be sure to inquire before you go.

One thing’s for sure: Kids will never forget their first NASCAR experience, especially at Dover. Make sure those memories last by preparing and planning properly. Head into NASCAR weekend with an open mind and age-appropriate enthusiasm, and your kids will want to be a part of NASCAR forever.

The Sprint Cup series returns to Dover International Speedway Oct. 2 to 4. Buy tickets now and save money. Follow the Monster Mile on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest NASCAR news and information.

You won’t believe who hates whom

 Top 5 NASCAR rivalries heading into the Contender Round at Dover

By Brendan O’Meara

NASCAR rivalries can be heated. In a sport with so much horsepower, it’s only natural that spark plugs exist outside the cars and not just under the hood.

If you’ve ever been stuck in traffic in Los Angeles or on the New Jersey Turnpike, you might know a thing or two about road rage. Now put yourself behind the wheel of a 3,500-pound stock car with 750 horses revolving around a track at 200 miles per hour with 42 people wanting nothing more than to beat you.

Here’s a short list of some of NASCAR’s greatest rivalries, and as you can guess, some get under each other’s skin more regularly than others.

5. Kevin Harvick vs. Greg BiffleTop5Rivalries-revised-1

There was a time when Kevin Harvick, the 2014 Sprint Cup champion, was about as hotheaded as Anger in the Pixar movie Inside Out. He has mellowed somewhat in recent years, but there was a time when he would jump off the roof of a car in an effort to strangle Greg Biffle.

Seriously.

Harvick took umbrage at Biffle’s racing at Bristol in 2001. After the race, Harvick took a page out of the WWE playbook and flew after Biffle. Harvick said in Florida Today back in 2003:

I enjoy controversy. I enjoy rivalries. I sometimes wonder if I don’t create more controversy in my life because I enjoy it. Without the rivalries and the controversy, I don’t think anybody would show up… . People come for the excitement and part of the excitement is the rivalry, the close racing and unfortunately, the crashes. You have to enjoy it from all aspects. I enjoy that more than I think I enjoy anything. The controversy and the rivalry.

Both drivers have lost some of that edge, but at one point this was about as fiery a rivalry as there was in the sport.

4. Kyle Busch vs. Carl Edwards

The acid in this rivalry was tempered this year when Carl Edwards signed on as the fourth Joe Gibbs Racing car. Go back just a few years and Kyle “Rowdy” Busch would have wanted little to do with Edwards at all.

Back in 2008, Busch tried to body slam Edwards after the race at Bristol Motor Speedway after taking umbrage with Edwards’ tactics during the race. The two spat words that upped the level of acrimony.

That same year, Busch edged Edwards at Dover as the pair finished one-two. In 2010, Busch won again with Edwards back in ninth.

Now they’re teammates, but that doesn’t mean Busch is immune to doing anything to win. After all Busch went through this season, he’ll stop at nothing to advance in the Chase and that could even mean launching his teammate—and former rival—into the wall at Dover.

3. Matt Kenseth vs. Everyone

Matt Kenseth has had great success at Dover and it could be so much better. He does have two wins, but it’s those 15 top fives that must get under Kenseth’s skin.

Many of those top fives came in races where Jimmie Johnson won, but it’s others who have shown just enough speed to send Kenseth back to the garage a loser. In 2014, he finished fifth and third in both Dover races. He finished third in the Dover spring race in 2012. Back in 2011, he took fifth in the fall race and won the spring race.

Were it not for Johnson’s record 10 wins, maybe we’d be talking about Kenseth as one of the greatest drivers in the history of Dover. His bones to pick come at the hands of several other drivers, most of whom get the best of him in the final laps at Dover.

2. Top5Rivalries-revised-2Jimmie Johnson vs. Kevin Harvick

These two drivers are flat-out dominant. Jimmie Johnson has six Sprint Cup championships and Kevin Harvick is the defending winner.

The two practically swap places on 1.5-mile tracks, but they also lock horns at Dover as well. Just this past May at Dover’s spring race, Johnson won his record 10th race at the Monster Mile with Harvick finishing in second place in the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks.

Back in 2012, Johnson edged Harvick for the first time. Harvick has never won at Dover but does have four top fives and 13 top 10s. So long as Johnson remains in the mix, Harvick will have a hard time getting past and taking that checkered flag.

Brad Keselowski vs. Jeff Gordon

In today’s NASCAR landscape, there aren’t many true rivalries. So many of the drivers are far too polished, afraid to offend a sponsor and lose that lifeline of money that helps fund their entire team.Top5Rivalries-revised - looks good-3

Occasionally there are dustups that morph into so much more. Take last year’s fall race at Texas Motor Speedway when Brad Keselowski slipped in between cars and subsequently cut Jeff Gordon’s tire. It led to a melee on pit road between Gordon’s team and Keselowski’s and ultimately cost Gordon a chance at a fifth career Sprint Cup.

Gordon said after that race:

Out of nowhere I just got slammed by the 2, and I cut my left rear tire. I mean he’s a dips–t. The way he races, I don’t know how he’s ever won a championship. I’m just sick and tired of it. We had the car. We had the position. He gets himself in these situations and as far as I’m concerned he’s got to pay the consequences. I’m going to race him the same way he races me. That kind of stuff is just uncalled for. To them, it’s just a racing incident, but to me it’s a bunch of crap.

Kez won the Sprint Cup in 2012 and doesn’t hold back. In this case, neither did Gordon.

Back in 2012, Kez won the fall Dover race with Gordon in second place. In 2014, Gordon won the fall race with Keselowski in second, so this rivalry could carry itself into this year’s Contender Round through Dover.

Immerse yourself in the heat of rivalry when NASCAR returns to Dover International Speedway Oct. 2 to 4. Visit doverspeedway.com for ticket packages.

The Race for the Chase: Breaking down NASCAR’s pursuit of the Sprint Cup

By Brendan O’Meara

The Chase shines bright as the North Star for every driver stepping into the cockpit of a stock car from the moment the green flag waves at the Daytona 500 until checkers wave at Richmond to end the regular season.

The Chase means two things over the course of 36 races from February to November. One, it represents NASCAR’s 10-race playoff (more on this later). Two, more abstractly, it refers to the 26-race regular season where drivers are in pursuit of—chasing—a berth in the playoffs.

We’ll now explore how the Chase unfolds and the role Dover International Speedway plays in it.729RacefortheChase-Dover[1]-1

Win and you’re in

It doesn’t matter how many points a driver earns over the course of the season any longer. So long as a driver wins a race, the driver qualifies for the Chase. It doesn’t matter where drivers sit in the standings. They could sit at 29th in the standings, but if by the grace of serendipity they grab that elusive checkered flag, they earn a chance at the Sprint Cup.

More drivers, more chaos, more pressure

In 2014, NASCAR tweaked how drivers qualify for the Chase. Now, 16 total drivers punch tickets to the Chase. That all but ensures that most of NASCAR’s top stars make the playoffs along with some underdogs. Long shots rarely have a chance at the ultimate prize, but if they win like Aric Almirola did during a red-flag, rain-shortened Coke Zero 400 in 2014, then that’s how the chassis shakes.

Four rounds to Homestead

Last year’s Chase was about as pressure packed as it gets.

The four rounds in the Chase give drivers that true elimination pressure; that way drivers can’t just accumulate points all the way to Homestead, where the championship runs. Every race that ever ended a round was a veritable Game 7.

The Challenger Round

The first round is the Challenger Round and all 16 Chase-eligible drivers are given 2,000 points. It’s simple: Win and you’re in.

Drivers then head to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the second leg. Again, win and you advance. The third and final race of the Contender Round is where the pressure gets hot and where Dover enters the picture.

At Dover International Speedway, the Monster Mile, four drivers pursue a championship end. That No. 12 spot is the coveted place in the points for the Chase contenders. During that race, every lap, a ticker runs across the screen showing those drivers on the fringe.

That’s what makes the final leg of each round so great and what will make Dover’s race on Oct. 4 the first truly intense race of the Chase.

The Contender Round

Twelve drivers advance and the points get reset to 3,000. It doesn’t matter who won before. The 12 drivers start fresh.

Again, win and you advance to the Eliminator Round. This time only eight drivers surface from Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway for the next round.

The Eliminator Round

Eight compete with the points reset this time to 4,000. The field heads to Martinsville Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Speedway. Win and advance.

Only four move on to the final race of the Chase: Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The Championship Round

The four remaining drivers get 5,000 points. Whoever finishes highest among the four wins the Sprint Cup.

The reconfigured Chase format adds intensity to every race, but especially the final race of each round. Dover, Talladega and Phoenix are where you’ll see how drivers handle the pressure when desperation is at its highest.

Nothing is a given and no driver can coast to Miami.

Follow the chase for the Spring Cup in person when NASCAR returns to Dover Speedway October 2 to 4.  Visit www.doverspeedway.com for ticket packages.

NASCAR hacks – Camp like a champ

Camping-Dover[1]---with-changes-1 Use your head—plan ahead  

By Joe Kukura

You go to the track for the races, but most of your memories are made camping. The laughs, good food and good times with old friends and new are what NASCAR is all about. When 100,000 die-hard race fans come together on one giant campground, the vibe is like no other.It makes regular tailgating seem like jury duty.

However, all this fun doesn’t come without proper planning. And lucky for you, we’ve got your back.

The very first NASCAR camping decision you’ll have to make is whether you want a reserved or unreserved camping spot. Seems like a no-brainer, as reserved spots keep you from having to wait in line and you’ll know exactly where you’ll camp and how much space you’ll have. However, unreserved spots are more affordable, but you may have to wait in line and your campsite will be farther from the track.

Some tracks, like Dover International Speedway, offer free shuttles from the unreserved camping area to the tracks, plus golf cart transport for those requiring ADA services may be available in certain areas. You must check each track’s website for policies and shuttle availability prior to pulling the trigger on any camping decision. Don’t wing it!

And that’s just the beginning.

You’ve got so many other camping considerations to make sure your weekend goes off without a hitch. So let’s get up to speed on the golden rules for camping at NASCAR, with your RV in tow or just a sleeping bag, tent and cooler.

General camping tipsCamping-Dover[1]---with-changes-2

Many veteran NASCAR tailgate campers will tell you that the first rule of camping at NASCAR is “bring as much beer as possible.” Sigh, rookies. Instead, we will suggest bringing as much ice as possible. Either way, both of these commodities become more precious as the weekend goes on. Some tracks do have stations in the camping area at which you can buy certain essentials, but not all do. Dover does.

Remember to bring flashlights. Glow sticks and other LED accessories are also helpful to ensure anyone can find their way to, from and around your camp. LED ice cubes are usually a big hit with the kids.

RV camping tips

RV camping at NASCAR is the pinnacle of camping-lot convenience and luxury. But with great luxury comes great responsibility.

You should absolutely determine in advance whether the track’s RV facilities include trash pickup, port-a-john or pumping services and water delivery. Dover offers these services, but these are not standard at all tracks.Cornhole

Another thing you’ll want to make sure of is that your RV’s generator has enough gas or propane to get you through the weekend. Many campsites don’t have electric hookups, so you’ll be relying heavily on your generator to be able to start its own engine and keep your camp racing through to the finish.

Tent camping tips

As far as policies are concerned, there’s much less to concern yourself with when camping in just a tent, but there are a number of planning precautions you’ll want to take to make sure your experience in-tent isn’t too intense.

Do yourself a huge favor and pitch your tent at home in the yard before leaving. You don’t want to wait until you’re at the campground to discover that you’re missing some spikes, poles, rebar or some other component that is easily replaceable at home but quite difficult to acquire once you’re on the road or in the dark.

Pack your tent last when loading up the car. It’s the first thing you’re going to need when you arrive at the campground, and you just may arrive in the dark. Worse yet, you might arrive in the rain—in which case, unpacking the whole car looking for your tent is not a fun way to begin your weekend at the track.

Yes, plan for the possibility of rain. There’s no controlling the weather at a NASCAR event, and the weatherman has been known to be wrong. Put the rainfly over your tent even if the skies look clear. Make sure to pack a tarp, and put it on the inside of the tent, not directly underneath. Your things will stay dryer in the event of a downpour.

Prepare for the worst but expect the best time your money can buy, whether it’s your first or next time at NASCAR. Just a little preparation is all you need to spend your big weekend at NASCAR like a true champ. And with any luck from the weatherman, the only thing pouring at your camp will be ice-cold beverages.

Pack up the RV and the cooler and head to Dover International Speedway this October when the Sprint Cup returns to the Monster Mile. Call 800-411-RACE and get your RV spot. Visit DoverSpeedway.com for more info.

Cautions breed cautions: Why do crashes happen at NASCAR?

 A NASCAR race carries with it two realities: speed and crashes, and one inevitably leads to the other

By Brendan O’Meara

Many fans watch NASCAR for the sole purpose of the wrecks, not out of some twisted sadism, but because wrecks are a ripple of action juxtaposed against the relative monotony of the cars going in circles.

You’ve no doubt heard of disruptive technologies. The same is true for car wrecks.

Often they happeBehindNASCARCrashes-Dover-1n when a driver’s car gets “tight” or “loose” and they lose control of the car. This sends them either into to the wall or, playing lead domino, into another car that starts a chain reaction of burnt rubber and mangled cars.

Another reason could be mechanical. The tightness and looseness of the handling encourages loss of control. The brakes locking up or blowing a tire can send a car careening into the fence.

Let’s not forget road rage and revenge. You constantly hear over the scanner a driver’s particular grudge with another. “The 48 better not see me again,” or something along those lines. Said angered-driver-turned-assailant may just run up on someone’s bumper in Turn 2 and spin him out.

Drivers like Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart and Brad Keselowski, three of the more aggressive in the Sprint Cup circuit, will get up on someone’s bumper and turn him around without a moment’s hesitation.

Often crashes follow aggressive restarts. Take, for instance, Joey Logano at Dover International Speedway on Sept. 27, 2009. While the leaders wrestled for the lead, back in mid-pack Logano barrel rolled about a dozen times in Turn 3.

In 2011, Clint Bowyer nearly jumped the inside pit wall during a head-on, bone-rattling crash on the inside fence.BehindNASCARCrashes-Dover-2

The tightness of the Monster Mile lends itself to massive pileups since the congestion is concentrated over such a small amount of concrete.

So what happens afterward? The yellow flag—or caution flag—waves and a pace car escorts the field at a leisurely 55 miles an hour while the on-track crews clean up any debris, fuel or oil.

A tremendously messy wreck, one that spills volatile liquid, will result in a red flag for a complete stoppage of the race.BehindNASCARCrashes-Dover-4

Not until every scrap gets cleaned up will the race “go green,” but as NASCAR analyst Darrell Waltrip loves to say, “Cautions breed cautions,” and that means another wreck could be right around the corner.

NASCAR’s Sprint Cup returns to Dover International Speedway Oct. 2 to 4. Avoid a wreck by purchasing your ticket in advance!

The driving force behind NASCAR’s popularity

Charismatic personalities and raw talent are taking the sport to new heights

By Brendan O’Meara

In 2003, Dale Earnhardt Jr. earned the title of NASCAR’s most popular driver. That’s largely due to him inheriting his late father’s fan base, but on top of that he’s a talented driver and easy to root for.

But there are a number of other drivers who, while not in Junior’s tier of popularity, garner a significant amount of fan support around the country.

The Drivers

Take Kevin Harvick, the defending Sprint Cup champion. He drives the No. 4 Jimmy John’s and Budweiser Chevrolet. There aren’t many brands more popular than Budweiser in this country. The fact that Budweiser chose Harvick to sponsor them speaks volumes to the visibility it hopes it can get (Budweiser was Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s long-time sponsor before he moved over to the Hendrick Motorsports garage).

You can’t talk about NASCAR’s most popular drivers without mentioning Danica Patrick. Her GoDaddy commercials and her gender make her one of the most visible drivers on the tour. And sNASCAR-Drivers-Dover-2 e doesn’t hold back. She’s funny and incisive when on camera, and exciting driver to watch too.

She has six top 10s in her career and her average finish has improved in each of her four years on the Sprint Cup circuit (28.3, 26.1, 23.7, 21.9). Her lone pole came at the 2013 Daytona 500, her first full year on the Sprint Cup circuit.

Brad Keselowski has the most crossover appeal of any driver today with his appearances on the television show Sullivan & Son and movie Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! This isn’t a driver in search of attention because he can’t win on the track. He’s the 2012 Sprint Cup champ and in 2014 he led all drivers with six wins on the year.

NASCAR-Drivers-Dover-1And making his 2016 full-season debut and thus replacing Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 car for Hendrick Motorsports is Chase Elliott. He competed in four races in this year’s Sprint Cup and is the reigning Xfinity Series champion.

His father, Bill Elliott, was NASCAR’s most popular driver 16 times from 1984 to 2002. Chase has the pedigree and the resources on his side to be one of the best drivers on the entire circuit. Given how popular Gordon was and is, Chase has big shoes to fill, but seems entirely capable of making that happen.NASCAR-Drivers-Dover-3

Team Mentality

As for teams, Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) boasts the retiring Gordon, six-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, 12-time consecutive most popular driver Earnhardt…and Kasey Kahne. That makes HMS the most popular team, by default, but Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) isn’t too far behind.

As an aside, the current HMS has a combined 16 wins at Dover International Speedway. (Johnson has 10 wins, Gordon has five and Junior has one).

JGR added Carl Edwards, NASCAR’s boy scout, as its fourth driver, joining Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.

Team Penske, winner of 11 races in 2014, sends out Keselowski and Joey Logano every week and is always in contention. It won the Daytona 500 this year with Logano’s No. 22 Ford making Team Penske one of the most powerful—and popular teams—in the Sprint Cup.

The Sprint Cup returns to Dover International Speedway Oct. 2 to 4 for the Challenger Round. Purchase your ticket package today!.

An Insider’s Guide to NASCAR Culture

We take you out of the driver’s seat and look at NASCAR from a cultural perspective

By Brendan O’Meara

NASCAR has more in common with the Grateful Dead than with any other major sport in America. Like the Deadheads who followed the band all over the country from venue to venue, vagabonding from city to city, so too do NASCAR diehards. It’s the reason NASCAR has such a huge following. It’s not so much about its history as it is about the devotion to supporting drivers and the subculture.

Going Mobile

It’s undeniably tribal. A sizable chunk of NASCAR fans with more wanderlust than Gandalf the Grey put their homes on wheels and park at the tracks to take in the race for 36 weeks.NASCARCulture-Dover-1

No other sport is as mobile as NASCAR, and that extends beyond the baroque fury of the stock cars themselves. Sure, other sports teams travel to each other’s stadiums, but what other sport moves its entire catalog of teams to a static environment? The answer is unequivocally none (besides, of course, other motor sports leagues), when you consider the extent of the move. Golf and tennis players move, but they don’t have the degree of cargo. Maybe Serena Williams does.

The Food is Cookin’

The tailgating also ranks second to none. When people haul in Airstreams and RVs, the extent of culinary acrobatics on the infield of a track rivals any restaurants. No doubt this piqued Mario Batali’s interest.

Ribs

Batali, a restaurateur, chef and talk show host, authored the cookbook Mario Tailgates NASCAR Style. It’s in no way ironic either, though his lapidary way of speaking and somewhat condescending delivery would suggest this is an ironic book—but why waste the time and the publisher’s money? Clearly this means something.

Fan Flags Fly

These NASCAR fans fly the flag of their favorite drivers, too. You’ll still see the No. 3 waving from the masts at a race and they’re not rooting on Austin Dillon. That No. 3 flag is a memorial to Dale Earnhardt Sr. and by extension those fans are rooting for Richard Childress Racing and Dillon’s No. 3 car. In this case, some of the loyalty bleeds from the previous driver to the incumbent.

No matter what track it is, the NASCAR fanatics are truly a nomadic subcuNASCARCulture-Dover-2lture. Some, no doubt, follow the entire circuit for 36 weeks of the year (more if you include the All-Star Race and the off weeks).

To those on the outside NASCAR’s racing product can be, at times, repetitive. But when you fold in the vagabonding aspect, the wholesale mobility of the athletes and the fan bases, you soon find that the actual racing is but the capstone of the pyramid: the part that gets the most attention, while there’s so much more to experience beyond the speeding cars.

Bring your NASCAR pride to Dover International Speedway Oct. 2 to 4 when the Sprint Cup returns to the Monster Mile. Purchase your tickets today!

Why every race fan needs to attend NASCAR in person

By Brendan O’Meara

You call yourself a NASCAR fan? Prove it.

Because no self-respecting fan of NASCAR watches the Sprint Cup from their living room, stuck in between the creases in their couch when they can be in the wide-open grandstands embracing a full-throttle, die-hard racing experience at the Monster Mile.

The living room is easy, but Dover is memorable.

This October, you have the chance to visit Dover International Speedway for something you’ll talk about the rest of the year—the final race in the Challenger Round in the Chase.

Dover’s last race of the season lands on the third and final leg of the Challenger Round, the first of the Chase where 16 drivers slash down to 12. Win and the driver advances. Behind that winner, a dozen or so drivers will scramble for points while pushing the limits of their cars to keep hope alive as the Sprint Cup heads to the Contender Round. That’s the subtext heading to Delaware the morning of this race.NASCARinPerson-Dover-revised-1

Add to that the environment of the track. It harkens images of the state fair with a five-sense stampede of stimulation. The smells of fried dough and BBQ, the grip of the race simulators, the sight of Miles the Monster and, without question, the tympanic onslaught of the drivers starting their engines for 400 tight laps and only 12 staying alive for the second round of the playoffs.

For example, the No. 1 reason to watch a race at Dover is the size of the track: one Monster Mile oval. That means at just about every turn you can experience a great view of the race. You’ll never lose sight of these cars around this tightly packed oval. But a trip to Dover doesn’t just involve the race; it’s a full-on day or weekend experience you can’t replicate no matter the size of your television.

While at Dover, you can visit the Monster Monument at Victory Plaza, a 46-foot-tall statue of Miles the Monster holding a full-size stock car in his right hand. Something the kids will absolutely remember

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Prior to the final race of the Challenger Round in the Chase, conveniently at Dover, visit the FanZone and jam to some live music, meet a Sprint Cup driver and ask him or her a burning question or enjoy the thrills of all the carnival-like activities.

Also, a general admission ticket grants you a complimentary FanVision or racing scanner to keep you plugged into what’s happening with the drivers as they burn around the Monster Mile.

This just scratches the surface of what a Sprint Cup race, and Dover specifically, offers over the easy alternative of watching the race on TV. Staying home is comfortable, but bringing the whole family to a NASCAR race could be an experience you talk about for months after the race.

Once there, you’ll realize your biggest regret would have been the one you avoided by getting to Dover and strapping in for an intense race you can only get in person.

Buy your tickets to the Sprint Cup series at Dover International Speedway today!

Smoke the competition with these NASCAR BBQ tips

By Joe Kukura

The tires aren’t the only things smoking at a NASCAR race.

The barbecue grills, pits and meat smokers of the 100,000 race fans on hand form a rib cook-off and BBQ party that would be the envy of any major food festival. The parking lot, campgrounds and RV sections at any NASCAR event are food festivals in and of BBQthemselves, offering an endless tailgate scene with tens of thousands of makeshift kitchens, pop-up mess halls and weekend-warrior BBQ pit bosses.

And they are all trying to outdo each other.

The ethics of NASCAR tailgate parties is not to whip out a quick and easy sandwich, it’s to prepare the most sumptuous BBQ spread possible and impress your guests. If you’re not an experienced tailgater with a horizontal smoker already hitched to the back of your truck, let’s go over some NASCAR BBQ tips to help a beginner-level tailgater BBQ like a pro.

To smoke or to grill?

That really is the question, and many tailgaters will be embracing one, if not both, of these methods for cooking meat. For a novice griller, a simple BBQ grill like a Hibachi or a charcoal grill is a better way to get started. Charcoal grills are the easiest method, though Ribssome grillers will get ambitious and hook up a propane or gas grill. Gas grills require some knowledge of how to connect a propane tank, but you’ll be cooking a whole lot more quickly with a gas grill. Either way, you’ll be eating your meat sooner with a grill as opposed to a smoker.

Smoking meat is more a labor of love, an effort-intensive process requiring specialized equipment and hours of preparation. The slow-cooking effort pays off with meat that is far more flavorful and tender. Meat smokers often use wood chips as opposed to charcoal briquettes or gas, and those who smoke meat will always have elaborate theories on which types of wood smoke best for their meat. That said, there are some pretty ingenious methods of building a homemade smoker for your tailgate party, and you can smoke meat using a charcoal grill. Just be ready for a minimum of a four-hour commitment.

Traditional NASCAR BBQ dishes

So what’s cooking now that you’ve decided how to cook your meat? There’s more than just meat on the menu at a traditional NASCAR tailgate BBQ. Potato salads, baked beans, specialty coleslaw and a slew of easy tailgate side dishes can round out the non-meat menu offerings at your NASCAR extravaganza.

Meanwhile on the meat front, you can’t go wrong with the traditional tailgate standby items like grilled burgers, hot dogs and hot links, beef sirloins and steaks, and, of course, the granddaddy of all BBQ meat offerings, BBQ pork and ribs on your tailgate menu.

Not your traditional NASCAR BBQ dishes

Take your tailgate for a walk on the wild side with menu items you won’t find at neighboring tailgate parties. The website Alan’s Kitchen has an unbeatable list of NASCAR tailgate recipes and menu ideas that are wildly inventive but still perfect for refueling your belly. Even with a limited tailgating kitchen, you can still whip up nachos and appetizers, some devilish deviled egg recipes, tacos, burritos and fajitas, or even some gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that will go over like gangbusters at a tailgate.

Breakfast is often the forgotten meal in a marathon NASCAR tailgate weekend. Alan’s Kitchen also serves up a long list of tailgate breakfast dishes that are easy to slap together and contains a delicious variety of breakfast sandwiches, burritos and waffle-wiches.

It’s good to know the track’s policies in terms of what kind of tailgating gear you’re allowed to bring. The website Pit Crew Barbeque has a detailed list of each NASCAR track’s tailgating policies (including Dover’s) so you can check which items are allowed and what forms of camping are permitted. The list also has some gems of information, like the fact that Dover International Speedway has a luxury hotel and casino right next to the track!

NASCAR and BBQ are two of the greatest acronyms in the English language, and they go together perfectly. Make sure your tailgate party lives up to the high standards set by the diehard NASCAR fans and make the effort to ensure that a BBQ at NASCAR is a pit stop to remember.

Now that you have the skills to grill, bring them to the track when NASCAR returns to Dover International Speedway October 2 to 4. Visit www.doverspeedway.com for discounted ticket packages.

It’s all fun and games all weekend long at NASCAR

Tailgate like a pro with games on the go

By Joe Kukura

NASCAR fans know how to have fun. After all, they spend most of their time at the racetrack tailgating and having a good time. Experienced tailgaters know how to make the most of this time by setting up elaborate campsites and BBQ spreads, while playing wild and crazy games that can be enjoyed by the whole family or of the adult-only variety involving drinking.

And why not? Dover International Speedway, for example, is a BYO food and drinks facility. In fact, they encourage it.

With that in mind, we take a look at some tailgating games that are hugely popular amongst the NASCAR demographic. We’ll start in family-friendly fashion with the low-octane games that don’t have to necessarily involve drinking, and then kick it up a notch and spike those competitive juices with some games that entail putting a few back.

Cornhole: Cornhole is king at NASCAR, at least until the race begins. Cornhole is such a popular tailgating game that in some parts of the country, the game is actually called “Tailgate.” The beanbag toss has had a bit of a revival in recent years, and today, many CornholeNASCAR-goers will trick out their boards and bags with the colors and numbers of their favorite drivers and/or logos of the sponsors. And maybe the best part about cornhole is that it’s easy to double-fist while playing: beanbag in one hand, drink or hot dog in the other.

Spikeball: As seen on ABC’s Shark Tank, Spikeball is the hot new game that’s sweeping the nation and now taking over NASCAR tailgating parties. Up to four players gather around a small circular net and spike a foam ball at each other without letting it hit the ground. The game is so much fun that the score doesn’t really matter. For an added challenge, try playing with a drink in your hand. Spill it and you’re out. And then you’re on drink duty to fetch the next round.

Horseshoes or bocce: If you’re just kicking back at the track for a couple of days then these two classic outdoor games never get old and are the true inspiration behind cornhole and ladder ball. Both are traditional tailgating games ideal for camping and RVing (Dover has more than 3,500 RV lots spread across the Monster Mile). All you need is a spacious grassy area for bocce and a patch of dirt or sand for horseshoes. Neither game is very demanding and allows for singles or team play.
Ladder ball: Also known as ladder toss or ladder golf, this is another game that’s great for both kids and adults. You toss two rope-connected balls known as bolos onto a small Ladderballladder contraption and get points for whichever bolos wrap around the steps of the ladder. Just like with cornhole, you can make your own ladder ball out of broomsticks and PVC pipes. Use black and white tape to wrap the poles like a checkered flag and tie a banner to the base of the ladder to display some NASCAR pride.

Slip ‘n Slide: There’s no denying how much fun a Slip ‘n Slide can be for the kiddies, especially during a scorcher of a weekend at NASCAR. But don’t act like you won’t want to use it too. Another perfect fit for camping, Slip ‘n Slides are fully functional anywhere there’s grass. Some come equipped with elaborate sprinkler systems, so you’ll need a nearby power source or a generator. For RVers, that shouldn’t be a problem. Otherwise, just lay down the mat, add water and start slip slidin’ away.

DraftKings fantasy draft: If you’re not familiar with DraftKings, they are the new kids on the block when it comes to fantasy sports. NASCAR has partnered with DraftKings to be an official daily fantasy sports partner developing its own NASCAR-branded games. It is the perfect way to engage competitively at the track with your friends and other NASCAR fans, with the chance to win carloads of real money.

Here’s how it works: Each player drafts a roster of five drivers with $50,000 of Monopoly money ($50,000 divided by five drivers). Teams earn points based on place differential, fastest laps, laps led, pass differential and finish position. You even have the ability to create your own league with your own scoring system and entry fee. All you need is a smartphone and your five drivers to race well for a shot at the checkered flag.

Finally, drinking games: Before you get started, you’ll need lots of 16-ounce plastic cups (think NASCAR colorways) and plenty—and we mean plenty—of cold beer on hand.

Let’s start with the undisputed classic, beer pong. Line up 16-ounce plastic party cups (how many is up to how much you want to drink) like bowling pins on a ping-pong table — BPor any flat surface — and pour a little beer into each and then try to land a ping-pong ball into one of them from one end of the table to the other. Rules vary, so do your research and pick what suits you best.

Flip cup is a team game where players chug beer from the cup first and then try to flip it upside down onto the table. Last team to flip all their cups loses. Slap cup is a bit more complicated, but it’s kind of like dodgeball, except with ping-pong balls and beer.

Your weekend at NASCAR should be all about fun and games, both on and off the track. And because it’s easy to get carried away for hours at the track, these games should help you pass the time like a professional tailgater.

Show off your skills by planning a trip to Dover Speedway when NASCAR returns from Oct. 2 to 4. Visit doverspeedway.com for different ticket packages.

A Guide to Tricked-Out Tech at the NASCAR Track

Tech By Joe Kukura

Race fans have a tradition of going all-out when attending a NASCAR race, whether it’s their campsite barbecue, tailgate parties or the greatest gadgets for making the most of a race-day experience. If you’re looking for the best NASCAR apps and devices for going to see a race, NASCAR and others offer lots of gadgets and gizmos that make you feel right in the driver’s seat or embedded with the pit crew.

Even if you’re there at the track for a live race, the elements and excitement may distract you from realizing who is in contention, where the leaderboard stands or how each development affects the live NASCAR standings. And there is no way you can track all the detailed statistics affecting your NASCAR fantasy team without a device on hand. That’s why NASCAR fans have a killer selection of devices only available at the track and apps that can do all of these things and make you feel like you’re right in the race while you watch from the stands.

NASCAR scanners

You’ll sometimes see people wearing a big set of chunky headphones at the track. They are not listening to Garth Brooks or Pitbull. Those people are immersed in the race-day experience of a NASCAR scanner, a fabulous radio device that delivers your choice of TV and radio race broadcasts or audio feed of any drivers’ real-time communications with their pit crews anRentG4Package-RE1000.jpgd spotters.

Each driver in the race has a NASCAR scanner frequency where you can listen to their real-time radio communications with their crew. You can also listen to the race officials’ frequency, fire and safety crews and even the racetrack weather forecasts. Some scanners out there receive more than 400 channels for every Sprint Cup, Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series race.

You can buy scanners online or rent them at the track at most NASCAR events. Some tracks, like Dover International Speedway, allow you to rent scanners online in advance for a discount.

NASCAR FanVision

NASCAR scanners are great, but the NASCAR FanVision adds live video, digital audio, instant replays and live leaderboards for a high-tech smart device experience. Upgrading to NASCAR FanVision is like upgrading from your old flip phone to a brand-new high-end smartphone.

The Monster Mile is now offering a brand new FanVision Plus Package for the upcoming Sprint Cup Series in October, where fans get a ticket to the NASCAR race, a free parking pass on the Speedway grounds, a FanVision rental for all three days of race weekend, a take-home souvenir program, and a Trackside Access pass that allows you to roam the frontstretch on Sunday morning.

Dover International Speedway mobile appTech-2

The official Dover International Speedway app for iPhone and Android is a sure bet at the Monster Mile and an indispensable addition to any race car fan’s smartphone. Purchase tickets, find your seats, view a map of the track, keep tabs on the weather and get the full driver appearances schedule right in the palm of your hand on race day.

The most impressive part of this app just might be the “At the Track” section that lists all of the FanZone and FunZone activities along with a food vendor guide, scavenger hunt details, photo booth info and much ado about Dover you simply won’t find via any other app. You can also join the conversation via social media right within the app itself.

It’s everything you need to get you from your home, to the track and back.

NASCAR RaceBuddy

Buddy, if you can’t be at the track watching the race, NASCAR RaceBuddy brings the race to you. With your choice of 10 channels of live in-car HD video feeds, NASCAR RaceBuddy puts you right in the car with your favorite driver during the race. RaceBuddy is a streaming service for desktops but also plays within the NASCAR Mobile app upon purchase.

If you’re using NASCAR Mobile or FanVision, realize that Wi-Fi connectivity may vary at any particular racetrack. But no matter which track you’re at, being among 90,000 other NASCAR fans with their phones on will always affect your signal quality.

But on race weekends, is there anywhere else in the world you’d rather be? Start planning your next NASCAR trip with a mind toward the gadgets and gizmos that enhance the race and put you in the Chase for the Cup, even from up in the stands.

Let your tech flag fly when NASCAR returns to Dover International Speedway October 2 to 4. Visit www.doverspeedway.com for discounted ticket packages.