Dover International Speedway remembers original founder, former Delaware Gov. David P. Buckson | Dover International Speedway


January 23, 2017

Dover International Speedway remembers original founder, former Delaware Gov. David P. Buckson

Motorsports facility, harness track was longtime public servant’s brainchild in late 1960s

Buckson history image from Kent

Former Delaware Gov. David Buckson was instrumental in establishing the facility that became Dover International Speedway.

Dover International Speedway and Dover Downs, Inc. officials are mourning the passing of David Penrose Buckson, the facilities’ original founder, on Jan. 17.

A longtime Delaware public official, Buckson’s meetings with local politicians and business leaders led to the organization and construction of what was then Dover Downs in the late 1960s as a dual-use motorsports and horse racing facility.

“We are sorry to learn of Mr. Buckson’s passing and express our condolences to his family,” said Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of today’s two corporations, Dover Downs Gaming and Entertainment, Inc. and Dover Motorsports, Inc.

“It was his original vision that led to the birth of Dover Downs and many Delawareans have benefited over the years as a result.”

Buckson, while serving as Delaware’s attorney general, met with local automobile dealer Jack Whitby and the late State Sen. Alan Cook in 1967 about developing a speedway project for the Dover area.

The site chosen was a 204-acre farm and airfield in north Dover. The combination of a 5/8-mile horse racing track and one-mile motorsports track, allowed both sports to use the same grandstands and facilities.

Built by the Melvin Joseph Construction Company and financed by John Rollins, Dover Downs Raceway opened in March 1969 with a thoroughbred racing card.

Dover International Speedway followed with its first NASCAR event on July 6, 1969.



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Dover Motorsports, Inc. (NYSE: DVD) is a leading promoter of NASCAR sanctioned motorsports events whose subsidiaries own and operate Dover International Speedway in Dover, Del. and Nashville Superspeedway near Nashville, Tenn. The company also plays host to the Firefly Music Festival, produced by Red Frog Events and Goldenvoice. For more information, visit