NASCAR heads to Delaware this week to visit “The Monster Mile,” but we don’t want your weekend to be a monster. Here are five things you need to know before you visit Dover International Speedway for this Sunday’s FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks.
1. Bring only what you need to survive
Okay, that was a line from Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs, but it’s also a good rule of thumb for Dover tailgating. There are only four rules governing tailgating at Dover, and two of them are thus: Bring only what can fit in your vehicle, and do not bring any vehicle extensions (such as trailers). Track management wants to keep everyone’s tailgate restricted to their own individual parking spaces, so that no one infringes on anybody else. Sounds simple enough, right?
2. But if you forgot something, here’s another supermarket
Dover, like Phoenix International Raceway, has its own on-site supermarket. It’s not as big as Phoenix’s Safeway, but the ACME Convenience Tent Store is open all weekend at the edge of RV Lot 10. Because Dover is so strict about how much you can bring, it’s a wise idea for those of you tailgating with RVs to decide what you need to stuff into your car and what you’d rather pick up at the market instead.
3. If you’re parking your car on Sunday, you’ll have to pay for it
Unlike some other tracks, Dover charges to park on Speedway property on race day. They do not, however, charge you a parking fee on either Friday or Saturday. So if you’re coming on multiple days, or just coming down for the action on Sunday, be sure you’re carrying a little extra cash for the guy at the parking gate. The good news is it’s only $10, which is pretty cheap compared to some of the other major venues.
4. To get into the track, you might have to use a different gate
When it comes time for the race, your ticket will tell you which gate is closest to your parking area. But Dover is the only track that actively encourages race fans to search the gates for the shortest entry lines, to the point where they’ve provided a grandstand access map so you can see how many there are and where they’re located. If you’re willing to walk, you might find a shorter line than the one in front of you — provided that everyone else isn’t doing the same thing.
5. Here, you can bring tailgate leftovers with you
Dover does allow race fans to bring their own food and beverage into the track, provided that it fits within the one cooler each person is allowed (no larger than 14 inches by 14 inches by 14 inches, or standard NASCAR fan size). That includes beer, as long as it’s canned and in that cooler. So when you’re tailgating this weekend, feel free to make extra food, because you can easily take it with you into the race and save yourself some money on concessions.
If you follow our Fast Facts, your trip to “The Monster Mile” should be anything but monstrous.
The FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks takes place at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, May 31 at 1 p.m. ET.