Found in the southwest Delaware town of Delmar, the Delaware International Speedway is a racing lover’s favorite Delaware attraction. Delmar actually sits on the Delaware and Maryland border, and due east of Delmar are some of the best Delaware beaches. If you can’t make it to Dover for the two annual NASCAR events, you can always head down to Delmar, as you can catch Delaware races here with much more frequency. The Fall Championships are one of the top events at this famed Delaware speedway, and there are plenty of scheduled stock car-type racing events. The Delaware Speedway is a half-mile track made primarily of moist clay. Able to seat some 4,000 people in its general admission grandstands, the pit area can handle up to 1,000 bodies. The Delaware International Speedway is one of the top overall attractions in Delaware, and you’ll also find the quarter-mile U.S. 13 Dragway here, as well as the U.S. 13 Kart Club. The entire Delaware racing complex found in Delmar is known as the Delaware Motorsports Complex.
The Delaware Motorsports Complex has been operated by the Cathell family since 1963. Charlie Cathell, who is the complex’s primary promoter, was a big go-kart racing fan, as was his late father, Bill Cathell. Bill Cathell wanted to build a track where his son could race with friends, and he also wanted to build a larger track to help cars reach faster speeds. The original land that the Cathell family purchased just north of Delmar proved too small to construct the kind of track that Bill had in mind, so they waited and bought additional land. In the early years, the Delmar Drag Club was mostly keeping the track in business, and instead of grandstands, fans watched from the fences where they parked their cars. You can still watch a race in this manner, though many visitors enjoy sitting in the grandstands.
As the family business grew, the Cathell family eventually relocated the burgeoning Delaware Speedway to its current location. Late model cars, modified racers and street modified vehicles are mostly what you’ll see here, with the weekends being the most popular days for races. As you might imagine, the races held here are seasonal, so you’ll want to make plans to catch the Delaware races here in the warmer months. The Delaware Tourism Bureau has placed the Delaware International Speedway among the state’s top ten attractions, and in 2004, Charlie Cathell was awarded the “Promoter of the Year” award by the Promoter’s Workshop, which takes place annually in Daytona, Florida. He has also been inducted into the National Hot Rod Association’s Hall of Fame.
One of the more recognizable events that the Cathell family organizes at their Delaware speedway is the Camp Barnes Benefit Race. It’s been going on for more than a quarter of a century, raising considerable amounts of money for disadvantaged youths. Should you decide to add a race here to your Delaware list of things to do, you’ll be happy to know that the Delaware and Maryland beaches are just about a half-hour’s drive away. There are a good amount of local hotels available in the area, most of which are chain brands like Holiday Inn Express and Comfort Inn. Tickets for races are generally sold as general admission at the door, and there are skyboxes and a VIP suite available. If you can get your tickets in advance, all the better, as some races and events can fill up quickly. The weekend “Regular Shows” are the most common events here, and generally the doors open for these races at around 5 p.m. Mid-week shows and special events are strewn among the regular shows on the schedule, and the racing season here runs between April and early November.