The Monster Mile of Dover International Speedway

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The Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware, United States, is one of three publicly held concrete racetracks used in NASCAR races. The high-banked, one-mile long, oval racetrack with narrow straightaways is said to be one of the most challenging tracks in the competition. The turns at Dover International Speedway are banked at 24 degrees, which is among the steepest in NASCAR. But unlike most other tracks, the straightaways are banked too, at 9 degrees.

“The track is basically an elongated bowl, and the effect is that the cars are “whipped” from one turn to the next,” wrote USA Today.

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A statue of “Miles the Monster”, the mascot of Dover International Speedway. Photo credit: Jerry Edmundson/Flickr

The Speedway was opened in 1969, and from its very first NASCAR race on July 6 the same year, the track has been punishing drivers and tearing up cars. In the mid-1970s, Denis McGlynn, the CEO of Dover Motorsports Inc., gave the tracks the nickname “Monster Mile”, a reputation that it has lived up to till today.

"Back then, it wasn't uncommon for the driver to have a relief driver because they couldn't finish the whole race. Or they would get out of the car at the end of 500 miles and collapse and need oxygen," said Gary Camp, the speedway's director of communications, to Delware Online.

The Monster Mile is tough not only on the drivers but on their cars as well. Brad Myers wrote on Delware Online:

The cars plunge into those turns at 170 mph. As the 400-lap race goes on, many of the cars begin to drift upward in the corners, losing valuable time. The extreme gravitational forces the corners place on the cars takes a toll. Tires are the first thing to wear, so they are changed during almost every pit stop. But other parts can fail, too.

The speeds are so fast and the racing so close at Dover Speedway that most wrecks that happen here are big. But thanks to its perpetually banking racetrack, they are also self-cleaning, as all wrecks tend to slide off the tracks and collect at the bottom.

The speedway's mascot is called "Miles", a Hulk-like monster which spawned from the track's nickname. The monster is featured on the winner's trophy, the track's tickets, memorabilia, and banners all around the stadium.

In 2008, a 46-meter-tall fiberglass structure was erected on the grounds depicting a fierce red-eyed Miles the Monster erupting out of the racetrack's pavement. On one hand, Miles is holding a car —a real racecar— high over his head, and it appears he’s about to thrash it. The circular base around Miles is lined with granite plaques paying tribute to the winners of every Dover NASCAR race since the track opened in 1969.

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Photo credit: Jerry Edmundson/Flickr

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Photo credit: ilikeaduck/Flickr

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Photo credit: ilikeaduck/Flickr

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Photo credit: Jerry Edmundson/Flickr

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Photo credit: Jerry Edmundson/Flickr

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Photo credit: ilikeaduck/Flickr

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Photo credit: hjhipster/Flickr

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