Dover International Speedway is celebrating its golden anniversary and state officials unveiled a marker Thursday designating it a historic landmark.
The speedway has hosted NASCAR races in Delaware’s capital for 50 years. It now joins more than 650 historic sites in the First State as designated by Delaware’s Public Archives.
Denis McGlynn has been president and CEO of Dover Motorsports Inc. since 1979 and is also CEO of its former sister company Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment. He recalls the track and Dover Downs Casino falling on hard times and requiring state and private support to remain solvent, but says he looks forward to the future.
“Grateful to the community for sticking with us for 50 years and putting up with the headaches we may have created from time to time, but looking forward to another 50 years,” said McGlynn.
McGlynn thanks racing fans for their support over the years, but notes dwindling crowds leave some uncertainty heading into the future.
“Nobody in this industry—and I mean the whole sports industry, not just NASCAR—really knows what the next 10 years is going to bring. So hopefully we’ll be ready for it, whatever it is, and we want to be part of it,” he said.
The Dover International Speedway held its first NASCAR race in July 1969, with Richard Petty winning the Mason-Dixon 300.
The one-mile oval, known as the Monster Mile, changed its surface from asphalt to concrete before the start the 1995 race season. Later this year, it gets a new expanded garage area for NASCAR teams.
NASCAR weekend gets started Friday with qualifying for Sunday’s Cup series race at 3:40 and the Truck Series “JEGS 200” at 5pm.