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The Excitement of Monster Racing: Driving the Monster Mile Part 2

The Monster Mile via Heath Lawson

The day of Monster Racing starts with a student-driver’s check-in at the start-finish line.  Monster Racing has a variety of packages available, from a four-lap passenger ride to a 30-lap drive program. Many participants receive their day-at-the-racetrack as a gift.

Monster Racing sends all student-drivers a Rule and Safety Handbook in advance.  The focus is on creating the excitement of a racing event, not on speed.  Monster Racing has specific rules for the safety of the drivers, crews and spectators.

The requirements for participation as a driver in Monster Racing are fairly basic; you must be 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license.  You need to be in good health, and physically able to enter and exit the race car on your own.

Cars are sized to fit almost all size drivers comfortably.  For safety reasons, the seats are bolted to the car frame, and don’t adjust.  Monster Car Racing will ask for some personal information in advance, including your height and weight.  You’ll be assigned to the car that best fits your size.  Drive order is set to maximize car rotation through your driver class.

You’re welcome to bring family members or friends with you to share your day.  They can watch you drive from the pits or share in the fun by taking a ride with one of the instructors.  Children under the age of 18 have to watch from a designated safety area.  Cameras and video equipment are welcome.

Once you’ve checked-in, driver-students are driven around the racetrack for an informative ride loaded with driving tips and safety reminders.      The drive also familiarizes the students with the “Monster Mile”- including its 24 degrees of banking through the corners and nine degrees down the shoot.  The 24 degrees feels a lot steeper than it sounds when you’re parked and tilted sideways in a van!

After the ride around the track, it’s time for the students to get into their suits and head for the drivers’ meeting.  Monster Racing provides a fire resistant driving suit, driving helmet, and driving gloves for all participants.  They suggest you wear comfortable, loose fitting street clothes under your driving suit.

In the drivers’ meeting, one of the driver-instructors reviews safety procedures, flag signals, and provides more driving tips.

The driving experience consists of a “follow the leader” format.  In most cases, two students drive behind one instructor, and maintain a space of six to eight car lengths.  Speed increases every lap.  Student-drivers are not allowed to pass one another, but if you get stuck behind a slower driver, don’t worry.  The drivers pull over, and the order of drivers switched to allow the instructor and faster student to proceed at a higher speed.

All of this preparation leads up to the main event: driving the cars.

After the meeting, student-drivers walk along the pit road and examine the race cars; snapping pictures standing next to their favorites.  A dry erase board posted on the concession stand indicates the order of the student-drivers.  Those who had signed up to ride in the passenger seat with one of the instructors are called to the racetrack.

Sharon Mc Cann of Newark  found the ride-along not only “great”, but it also “helped reinforce what they said in the orientation.  During the drivers’ meeting they showed us on the diagram where to start the turns, but during the ride-along the driver can actually show you on the course where to take the turns.  He also turns the steering wheel and travels back and forth on the straightaway and curves, so you develop confidence that the car isn’t going to flip.  It will stick to the course.”

Scott Traver of Wilmington agreed his ride along was “really cool” and “the car shouldn’t be able to do what the driver makes it do.  It’s not natural for the car to stick to the course at those speeds.”

After watching the instructors drive, and hearing the enthusiasm of their fellow students, the remainder of the student-drivers are even more anxious to get behind the wheel.

If some engines can be described to purr, the race cars’ are more akin to a full-throated snarl.  It’s as if they resent being tethered to the pit road, and are as anxious as their drivers to be off racing down the “Monster Mile”.  Some drivers pace along the pit road, or watch the other drivers on the track, while waiting their turn.  The excitement is palpable, contagious.

Soon it’s your turn, and you climb through the window into the driver’s seat.  There are last minute safety instructions, including how to use the fire extinguisher, as they strap you in.  Engine noise is loud, and you listen carefully to those last minute tips- but then you realize they’re pulling your leg and telling you remember to relax and breathe.

“We strive to create a sense of group,” said Dyer, “when you get done, we want you to feel like you had the experience with friends.”

The car is remarkably responsive and straightforward to drive.  You ease off the pit road, ready to follow the lead driver.  As promised in the drivers’ meeting, the first laps are taken slow, to acclimate you to your car. You get the green flag and you’re off.

Each lap is faster, with student-drivers setting the pace.  “Unlike racing pros, our instructors spend 95% of their time looking in their review mirrors.  They want to know where the students are.  The flagmen act as spotters and are in constant communication with the drivers to ensure safety.”

As your confidence and speed increase, you are pushed deeper into the seat on every turn.  Yet the tires stick to the track as promised, and the car performs solidly and nimbly.  Too soon the checkered flag flashes, and your ten laps are over.

Bill Campbell, of Chesapeake City, was confident he would go even faster on his second 20 laps.  Speed, he said, is not the important part.  As Monster Racing emphasizes, the key factor is the excitement of the racing experience. 

Monster Racing

1-800-GO-TO-WIN

http://www.monsterracing.com

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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Join the Fast Crowd: Driving the Monster Mile Part 1

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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NASCAR News

Stewart-Haas Racing driver Ryan Newman
Image Courtesy of Dover International Speedway

Stewart-Haas Racing driver Ryan Newman will make an appearance in the Monster Mile Club the morning of the Sept. 30, 2012 “AAA 400” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway, race No. 3 in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Fans in the Monster Mile Club will be treated to an interview with the driver of the No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet, as Newman will participate in a question-and-answer session during his visit.

The Monster Mile Club ticket add-on is a hospitality option for fans the morning of the “AAA 400” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. On top of the Newman appearance, it also includes a Trackside Access pass to the front stretch of the track prior to the race, unlimited food and beverages (Pepsi and Anheuser Busch products), a race program and a souvenir gift. Ticket holders can add this hospitality option to their tickets for just $99.

Newman has had a lot of success in his career at the Monster Mile, winning three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races (two in 2003 and one in 2004), claiming four poles, and racking up six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes, all in 21 starts. The win in 2004 was in the first-ever Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway, making Newman the first driver to ever win the now-famous Monster trophy. In addition, Newman has one NASCAR Nationwide Series win at Dover in the fall 2005 race.

The Monster Mile Club opens at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 30 with a continental breakfast. Trackside Access begins at 8:30 a.m. with the hosted question-and-answer session with Newman following later in the morning. An all-you-can-eat lunch will be served from 11 a.m. until the start of the “AAA 400” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at 2 p.m., at which point the Monster Mile Club will close.

NASCAR returns to the Monster Mile on Sept. 28-30, 2012 with the Sept. 30 “AAA 400” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the Sept. 29 “OneMain Financial 200” NASCAR Nationwide Series race and the Sept. 28 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race.


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RACE WEEKEND ACTIVITIES FOR RACE FANS ALL WEEKEND

Frankie’s Café at the Monster Mile

Dover Downs Hotel & Casino is presenting this Tuscan-style café with the flavor and atmosphere of its Frankie’s Wine Bar and Italian Restaurant during race weekend. The café will offer race fans a variety of new menu options in an al fresco setting. Hours of operation are Thursday, May 31 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday, June 1 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, June 2 from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, June 3 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Free interactive displays in the FanZone featuring a number of vendors, including:

  • AAA
  • Lucas Oil
  • Sprint
  • New Holland
  • SPEED TV
  • General Motors
  • Power Home Remodeling Group
  • M&T Bank
  • 5-hour ENERGY
  • OneMain Financial
  • FedEx
  • Delaware Office of Highway Safety
  • Dodge, Bud Bar/Johnsonville Grill
  • U.S. Smokeless
  • U.S. Army
  • Toyota

FRIDAY, JUNE 1

Visit DoverSpeedway.com to purchase tickets for the “Lucas Oil 200” NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.

Live music from the band ODP on the VictoryPlaza stage

Time: Noon-4 p.m.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series FREE autograph session

Time: 12:30-1:30 p.m.

Before they hit the track for the afternoon’s “Lucas Oil 200” race, the stars of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will meet with fans during a FREE autograph session from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the FanZone, located outside of Turn 4 of the Monster Mile. Because the autograph session is first come, first served, fans are encouraged to arrive early. Close to 20 drivers have been confirmed so far, including Ty Dillon, Ron Hornaday, Justin Lofton and many more. The driver lineup is subject to change.

“Lucas Oil 200” NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race

Time: 4:45 p.m.

Some of the top up-and-coming drivers, along with a few wily veterans, will trade paint on the Monster Mile for 200 laps of excitement in the “Lucas Oil 200” NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. In its 12 races since it came to Dover in 2000, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has only seen a repeat winner at the Monster Mile once in Kyle Busch, so fans can be sure that this event will be tightly contested with a good chance of a fresh face showing up in Sunoco Victory Lane.

“NASCAR Trackside” on the SPEED stage

Time: 7-8 p.m.

Hosted in 2012 by Krista Voda with assistance from Kyle Petty, Rutledge Wood and Marianela Pereyra, “NASCAR Trackside” is SPEED’s at-track version of a variety talk show. You never know what’s coming next with “Trackside.” Whether it’s driver interviews, games, skits, spoofs, chats with drivers’ wives and children, or celebrities on-hand for the weekend, it’s always a party on “Trackside,” where showcasing driver personalities is priority one. The SPEED stage is set in the FanZone, located just outside Turn 4 of the track.

 SATURDAY, JUNE 2

Visit DoverSpeedway.com to purchase tickets for the “5-hour ENERGY 200” NASCAR Nationwide Series race.

5-hour ENERGY Open Track Session for NASCAR Nationwide Series ticket holders

Time: 8:30-10 a.m.

Fans will have the unique opportunity to walk the frontstretch of the Monster Mile the morning of the June 2 “5-hour ENERGY 200” NASCAR Nationwide Series race. The event is for ticket holders for that day’s race, and as a special bonus, Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, and his team owner Michael Waltrip will participate in a special question-and-answer session for fans. Ticket holders for the “5-hour ENERGY 200” NASCAR Nationwide Series race can enter for the open track session at Gate 18 by presenting their ticket, which will be rescanned on the way out so it permits entrance to the race later that day.

 Live music from the band The Mango Men on the VictoryPlaza stage

Time: 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Monster FunZone

Time: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Located outside of Turn 4 near the Monster Monument at Victory Plaza, presented by AAA, this popular, family-friendly section provides free admission and loads of fun. Some attractions include racing simulators, face painting, prize drawings, moon bounces, show car displays, interactive games, rock climbing and a trampoline jumping station, just to name a few!

Michael Waltrip appearance at the AAA Experience Display in the FanZone

Time: 10:10-10:25 a.m.

 “5-hour ENERGY 200” NASCAR Nationwide Series race

Time: 2 p.m.

When the NASCAR Nationwide Series takes to the track for the “5-hour ENERGY 200,” fans will be treated to seeing the stars of tomorrow try and prove their worth and earn the promotion up to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. With a lineup of exciting young drivers that includes Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Trevor Bayne and Danica Patrick, fans are guaranteed to see an exciting event and witness the development of the sport’s future stars.

 NASCAR Unites Track Walk & Sunoco Free Fuel 5K

Time: 5 p.m.

This event will give race fans the chance to walk or run around the concrete oval at Dover International Speedway, all while raising money for The NASCAR Foundation and Autism Speaks in the NASCAR Unites Track Walk & Sunoco Free Fuel 5K. Kicking off at 5 p.m. in the FanZone and taking to the track approximately an hour after the “5-hour ENERGY 200” NASCAR Nationwide Series race, the event will feature Denny Hamlin, who will meet with fans during the walk.

Fans can register either online at NASCAR.COM/Unites, or at the track on race weekend by visiting The NASCAR Foundation display in the FanZone. Registration costs just $11 for the walk, as well as for the 5K run. All participants, including online registrants, must stop by the registration booth at The NASCAR Foundation display on race weekend to sign waivers and pick up their free event T-shirts.

SUNDAY, JUNE 3

Visit DoverSpeedway.com to purchase tickets for the “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

 Live music from the band Rebelicious on the VictoryPlaza stage

Time: 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

 Monster FunZone

Time: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Located outside of Turn 4 near the Monster Monument at Victory Plaza, presented by AAA, this popular, family-friendly section provides free admission and loads of fun. Some attractions include racing simulators, face painting, prize drawings, moon bounces, show car displays, interactive games, rock climbing and a trampoline jumping station, just to name a few!

Clint Bowyer appearance at the AAA Experience Display in the FanZone

Time: 9:10-9:25 a.m.

Mark Martin appearance at the AAA Experience Display in the FanZone

Time: 9:40-9:55 a.m.

Martin Truex Jr. appearance at the AAA Experience Display in the FanZone

Time: 9:55-10:10 a.m.

“NASCAR RaceDay” live on the SPEED stage

Time: 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

The energetic and highly-popular program airs live from every race track on the circuit. John Roberts hosts alongside Kyle Petty, Kenny Wallace and Larry McReynolds, while Wendy Venturini, Rutledge Wood and Matt Clark report the latest from the garage and pit road. “NASCAR RaceDay” leaves no stone unturned, revving up for the day’s race with live driver interviews, features and even some entertaining, off-the-wall segments, such as “RV There Yet?” with Wood and Petty — a driver and fan favorite. Race fans and drivers count on “NASCAR RaceDay” to get them ready for the big race, bringing them the inside story and up-to-the-minute news in a lighthearted and fun manner.

FREE Q&A with Kurt Busch at the MonsterMonument

Time: 10:15 a.m.

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 51 Chevrolet for Phoenix Racing, was the most recent driver to pull into Sunoco Victory Lane at the Monster Mile, winning the Oct. 2, 2011 “AAA 400” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. He’ll talk about that, his offseason team change and a few other topics with fans during a FREE question-and-answer session on the Monster Monument in Victory Plaza, presented by AAA, before that day’s race.

“FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race

Time: 1 p.m.

The featured event of the weekend, the “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is a pivotal midseason clash between the top drivers in the sport. Known to be one of, if not the, toughest tracks on drivers and equipment on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit, the spring race at the Monster Mile goes a long way in separating the true contenders for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup from the rest of the pack.

Schedule and events are subject to change.


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Dover Speedway Tickets are still Available for June 1-3, 2012 race weekend

To prepare for the madness that is race weekend, check out, www.DoverSpeedway.com. They’ve got a new Monster Mile Crash Course, a series of online videos help’s guide fans through everything they need to know about attending a race weekend at the Monster Mile.

The six-video series covers a range of topics, including ticketing, activities that surround race weekend, property information, helpful hints for raceday, an RV parking guide and more. The videos are designed to educate fans new to the sport as well as familiarize experienced fans with the intricacies of a race weekend at Dover International Speedway.

The Monster Mile Crash Course can be found by clicking the “Monster Mile Crash Course” tab under the “Plan Your Experience” option on the main pull-down menu. Each instructional video’s page includes a series of links that guide users to more information on specific topics discussed in that video. And if users have more questions beyond that, they’re encouraged to call one of our friendly Event Experience Specialists at 800-441-RACE.

Tickets are still available for the June 1-3, 2012 race weekend, including the June 3 “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the June 2 “5-hour ENERGY 200” NASCAR Nationwide Series race and the June 1 “Lucas Oil 200” NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.

For tickets or more information, call 800-441-RACE or visit DoverSpeedway.com. You can also keep up with the Monster Mile at Facebook.com/DoverInternationalSpeedway or on Twitter at @MonsterMile.


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Dover International Speedway introduces new, user friendly mobile site

In advance of its June 1-3, 2012 NASCAR race weekend, Dover International Speedway has unveiled its newly designed mobile website, m.DoverSpeedway.com.

The mobile site is an alternate version of the full www.DoverSpeedway.com, and blends the most pertinent elements into a user friendly layout for fans to view on their smart phones while at the Monster Mile or while planning their visit.

A few features of the new site include the ability to purchase tickets for upcoming races; view event info and all activities happening at the Monster Mile on a race weekend; keep current with the weather while at the track; find directions to Dover International Speedway; read all the latest news from the track; and much more.

The site will be updated throughout race weekend to reflect all the happenings at the track, helping fans make sure they don’t miss a second of the fun during their visit to the Monster Mile. Users can also opt in to receive text and email alerts from Dover International Speedway, bringing all the latest news and announcements right to their phones.