Dover International Speedway, Autism Speaks and FedEx receive recognition for first-of-its-kind ticket offering
There are many things that make Dover International Speedway one of the most unique tracks on the NASCAR circuit. From the Monster Monument, to the Monster Bridge, and of course the steeply banked, one-mile oval — the fastest in the world — the Monster Mile is truly one of a kind.
Another distinct aspect about a race weekend at Dover, specifically in the spring, is the Autism Speaks Day at the Races ticket package, which for the past two years has served as the first-ever sensory friendly ticket option at a NASCAR event for those living on the autism spectrum.
Dover International Speedway team members, from left, that accepted the award included Russ Myers, director of creative services; Gary Camp, Sr. director of communications; and Brian Citino, manager of communications
And in just those two years the ticket package — a partnership between the Speedway, Autism Speaks and FedEx — has been such a success that last week it was named NASCAR’s Best Overall PR Campaign for 2013.
Announced at the Jan. 31 NASCAR Marketing and Communications Summit in Charlotte, NC, the Speedway was honored for its commitment to furthering its now eight-year partnership with Autism Speaks.
“We’re honored to be recognized along with Autism Speaks and FedEx by NASCAR for the Autism Speaks Day at the Races program,” said Mike Tatoian, executive vice president and COO of Dover Motorsports, Inc. “Through our eight year partnership with Autism Speaks, we have constantly explored more and more ways to help the autism community, and the creation of this ticket offering is a great step in that evolution.”
The event includes a ticket to the Sunday NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the Monster Mile in the spring, with seating located in the indoor grandstands on the backstretch of the track, an area that helps reduce some of the noise, smells and other aspects of a race that could contribute to sensory overload.
In the seating section a quiet room was also created, an area that allowed children on the spectrum to take a break from the action of the race. The room included dimmed lighting, reduced volume, games, comfortable seating and more.
The package was not just a race-only event, as it included a full day of activities in addition to the action on the track, with NASCAR drivers, team owners and personalities stopping by to greet fans; educational speakers making presentations throughout the morning on the advancement of autism research; and a lunch buffet featured that catered to certain dietary restrictions for those on the autism spectrum.
Hundreds of families attended Autism Speaks Day at the Races in 2013, nearly doubling in size from its first year, and it was covered by several national media outlets including the television show “Fox and Friends,” NBC Sports, U.S. News and World Report, Yahoo! Sports and others.