After security delays, thrilling NASCAR finish at Dover

Tony Stewart took the checkered flag after making a late pass at Dover International Speedway on Sunday.

Thousands of the NASCAR faithful gathered in sweltering heat Sunday afternoon to see one of the most exciting finishes in recent memory at the Delaware track.  Tony Stewart passed Juan Pablo Montoya for the lead with three laps left, then held on to win.

Montoya finished second, followed by Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski.  Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finished 10th.  Jimmie Johnson appeared to have the fastest car, but he was penalized for jumping the gun on a restart and finished 17th.  

Big delays for fans

Before the race got underway, hundreds of fans were stuck in long lines waiting for security to screen bags.  And while big crowds and lines are expected at the track, many fans said this year’s security process was slower than ever before.  

Dover Motorsports Executive VP and COO Michael Tatoian posted an open letter to fans on the track’s website to apologize for the delays.  “Due to increased inspection of bags, the lines to enter the facility were longer than normal today,” Tatoian said.  

Unlike most professional sports events, NASCAR tracks allow fans to bring in their own food and beverages, including alcohol.  Tatoian said because of that, extra security is necessary.  “As a result, we must thoroughly examine the content of bags, and unfortunately that took longer than anticipated.”

As the start of the race approached, hundreds of fans were still on the outside waiting to get through security.  Just minutes before the green flag waved, the need to screen bags suddenly vanished, and security personnel allowed fans into the track without looking inside any bags being carried by hundreds of fans.

In his letter, Tatoian said fans should head to the gate sooner at future races.  “We encourage fans attending our future events to make plans to arrive early to the gates.  Please accept our apologies, again, for the inconvenience you may have experienced.”

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