Report: Dover to cut nearly 20,000 seats from ‘Monster Mile’

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As tracks continue to cutback on grandstands so as to give the impression of fewer empty seats, add Dover International Speedway to the list.

A report from the Delaware State News indicates Dover is now set to scale back from 113,000 to 95,500 in what’s termed “Phase 1” of a reduction plan. The track had a one-time capacity of 135,000 in 2001.

“Most of the other large tracks have reduced seating,” Gary Camp, Dover Motorsports senior director of communications, told the paper. “Phase 1 is to right size the facility to make it better align with the rest of the industry.

“It’s just an industry trend and also what other sports are doing.”

A new catch fence is also being introduced. There are no plans to add lights to the track, Camp said.

The empty seats, notably in the turns on the “Monster Mile” have been more pronounced in recent years, and the hope for the track is that this reduction helps to eliminate that vast expanse of bare aluminum.

NASCAR returns to Dover the last weekend of May, 2015.

Robert Wickens shares more positive strides toward recovery in new video

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Robert Wickens has made massive steps since sustaining a spinal cord injury in an Aug. 19, 2018 crash at Pocono Raceway.

Since the accident, Wickens publicly has shared his recovery, often uploading videos of his physical rehabilitation on Twitter.

In his most recent update on Wednesday, Wickens shared a video of him walking on a treadmill. Fellow NTT IndyCar Series competitor Tony Kannan, who competes in triathlons during his spare time, also was visible running on the treadmill behind Wickens.

“When I am @TonyKannan [sic] age, I hope to run as fast as him…” Wickens tweeted. “Today was a good day!”

Wickens, who will turn 31 on March 13, first made his return to the IndyCar paddock in last year’s season opener in St. Petersburg. Since then, he’s made a return to the driver’s seat, piloting a specialized Acura NSX prior to the start of last year’s IndyCar race in his hometown of Toronto.

In September, Wickens fulfilled a vow to his wife Karli, by standing with her during their wedding. The new husband and wife also danced together during their reception.

Should Wickens fully recover to resume racing, Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt has stated that the team’s No. 6 entry will be available for him to drive. Wickens continues to remain as a “driver coach and consultant” for the team.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter