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Join the Fast Crowd: Driving the Monster Mile Part 1

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Dover International Speedway
Wikipedia: Ted Van Pelt


Imagine a perfect summer morning; a clear blue sky covers Dover International Speedway.  It’s hot on the pit road, and as you walk around “your” Winston Cup car, it’s easy to envision thousands of cheering fans filling the stands.

The Real Deal

Welcome to the world of Monster Racing, the people who will strap you into authentic Winston Cup, Busch Grand National or Ford Super Truck Series Racers and give you the opportunity to drive the “Monster Mile” at Dover International Speedway.

This is the real deal, said Operations Manager Ken Dyer; you are driving genuine “Cup cars”, not cars built to look like racecars.  They’ve all seen race action somewhere, and have been retired, usually because a Winston Cup team has decided to build the “next generation” or improved car.

Monster Racing takes the retired car, and prepares it for public use.  They completely refurbish it, inspect it for safety, and install a new engine.  The only difference between Monster Racing cars and actual Winston Cup cars are found under the hood.  Monster Racing engines are in the 400-425 horsepower range said Dyer, which gives the car good acceleration and a durable, reliable power plant.  “People have an easier time driving them because they have a more consistent throttle response.”

Most participants choose to drive a car with a four-speed, “because they want their driving experience to be as authentic as possible. They want to experience what their favorite drivers feel when they are racing-a true Walter Middy experience.”

For those “unaccustomed to driving a standard,” said Dyer, “Monster Racing pioneered the concept of an automatic in a stock car.”

Increasing interest in motor sports has led to an increase in those seeking the excitement of the racing experience.  In June and September, the Dover International Speedway draws over 250,000 race fans for the two NASCAR Winston Cup Races it hosts each year, said John Dunlap, Director of Public Relations.

In his opinion, fans from north Virginia, the Baltimore area, Philadelphia, and New York City come to Dover to experience what a race weekend is like.  Dover International Speedway has grown from 22,000 seats in 1986 to its current 140,000 seats, mirroring the national growth in interest in racing.  Once ESPN and FX television networks began broadcasting the races, and drivers acquired fans, the popularity of the sport took off.

This story was first published in the News Journal in 2002 under the byline of Gail A. Sisolak. All rights reserved.

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