DOVER, Del. – Race fans and competitors arriving in Dover for the May 29-31, 2015 race weekend may notice the addition, and subtraction, of a few things they saw when they last visited the Monster Mile.
The Speedway’s maintenance and operations departments, along with a bevy of outside contractors, have been busy preparing the property for the upcoming spring race weekend. The highlights include the installation of a $2.9 million safety catch fence that encircles the track’s outside retaining walls, and the elimination of 17,500 seats in Turn 2 and Turn 3.
Some of the least desirable seating from the areas furthest from the start-finish line were removed, paving the way for future improvements. The reduction of seating is part of a long-term process that will continue to allow the facility to evolve to meet the needs of fans.
In between the 2014 race weekends in Dover, contractors began the installation of support structures for the new fence. The day after the fall 2014 race weekend, on Sept. 29, work began to complete the project. Demolition of the old fence began as the construction of the new fence occurred simultaneously. The new fence was installed by Smith Fence, a Florida-based contractor that has performed similar installations at other facilities on the NASCAR circuit. The project incorporates the most up-to-date technologies and stands at 21-feet tall, up from the original fence which stood at 15-feet tall.
“Our original fence had served us well, but it was time for an update,” said Michael Tatoian, president and CEO of Dover International Speedway. “The safety of our fans and competitors is something we never want to compromise.”
Fans in Dover may also notice the elimination of grandstand seating in the upper and lower sections of Turn 2, and the lower section of Turn 3, bringing the new capacity around the one-mile oval to 95,500. The reduction follows a trend in all professional sports venues and race tracks, as the Speedway explores ways to utilize the new-found footprint in different ways. The removal of seats occurred soon after the end of the 2014 motorsports season in Dover and was completed in April 2015.
The area of the property outside of Turn 2, near the track’s Gate 12 and the entrance to the walkover bridge to the infield, has been improved with new pavement, permanent landscaping and signage.
The current plan is to remove the upper sections of Turn 3 after the fall 2015 NASCAR race weekend, which will bring the final seating capacity of the facility to approx. 85,000 seats.
“We have also engaged with ROSSETTI, an architectural design and planning firm based in Detroit, Michigan with a great deal of experience in the sports and entertainment realm. Our goal is to improve fan comfort and experience, and along with ROSSETTI, we are exploring all aspects of repurposing the mezzanine in Turn 3,” said Tatoian. “We are excited to see where our conversations will take us.
“Additionally, we continue to explore different short-term and long-term capital improvement projects to add more fan amenities and attractions that appeal to fans of all shapes, sizes, ages and preferences. From youngsters and millennials, to casual and hardcore, longtime fans, we want to provide each of them with the experience they are looking for when they set foot on the property. It’s not a process that happens overnight, but we are committed to getting there.”
NASCAR returns this weekend to Dover International Speedway for an action-packed triple-header weekend. It all begins this Friday, May 29, with the “Lucas Oil 200” NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, followed by the Saturday, May 30 “Buckle Up 200” presented by Click it or Ticket NASCAR XFINITY Series race. Sunday, May 31 is the main event of the weekend, the “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
Tickets and more information can be obtained by calling 800-441-RACE or visiting DoverSpeedway.com. Fans can also keep up with the Monster Mile at Facebook.com/DoverInternationalSpeedway and on Twitter and Instagram at @MonsterMile.
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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 and Big Barrel Country Music Festival, both of which are produced by Red Frog Events and Goldenvoice. For more information, visit www.DoverMotorsports.com.