BROOKLYN, Mich. - Racing tradition and continuing innovation are two of the many benchmarks Michigan International Speedway can be proud of as the world-class facility celebrates it's 35th anniversary of racing in 2003.
To kick-off the 35th year of racing at MIS, the track is unveiling a special 35th anniversary logo to help commemorate the event. This logo will be used to help market, promote and create awareness at events during the 2003 season. Interestingly, the 35th anniversary of the track spans five decades of racing at MIS - the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and 00's. The past five decades have been by far the most influential in all of motorsports -- both in terms of popularity and technology. NASCAR has become a household term and ranks second only to the NFL in success, while open wheel race cars have sprouted wings and undergone space age transformation allowing them to race at speeds exceeding 225 mph.
"We are extremely proud to have a sports facility and family entertainment experience second to none in the state of Michigan," said MIS track President Brett Shelton. "We pride ourselves on great racing and providing an atmosphere for adults and children that will make their visit to MIS memorable. Over the past 35 years MIS has had some of the best racing in the United States and we hope that continues for many, many years to come."
When the gates open on October 13, 1968 few could imagine that 35 years later some 136,373 permanent grandstand seats would line two-thirds of the track and tens of thousands would pack the infield wall to wall on race weekend -- making race day at MIS the largest single day sporting event in the state of Michigan. If one combined the attendance at a Lion's NFL game, Piston's NBA game, Red Wing's NHL game and a Tiger's baseball game -- it still would not equal the number of fans at MIS for one single event.
Tradition at MIS includes some of the all-time greatest names and races in motorsports history. Unser, Petty, Pearson, Foyt, Earnhardt, Allison, Donahue, Fittipaldi and McLaren have all topped ultra competitive fields to take the checkered flag first. Numerous battles are etched in racing history books to never be forgotten- 1991 Dale Jarrett topping Davey Allison by 8 inches, 2000 Juan Montoya edging Michael Andretti by 0.040 seconds while wheel to wheel at 225 mph, 1999 Dale Earnhardt nipping Dale Earnhardt Jr. in an IROC photo finish and 2002 Tomas Scheckter, Sam Hornish and Sarah Fisher amazing crowds with pass after pass in the inaugural IRL Michigan Indy 400 before Scheckter prevailed.
Innovation in that MIS was the nation's first 2-mile oval with an unobstructed view of the entire track, the first race track to offer guest services to the fans attending the weekends events, the first with hospitality trams to shuttle guests from their cars to the gate and one of the first to have 3-D views of seating to compliment ticket sales on the internet. Additionally, music concerts, classic cars shows, camping, amusement rides and family entertainment add to the overall atmosphere of a race weekend at MIS.
In 2003, children under the age of 12 will be admitted free to every race at MIS except the Sunday NASCAR events, furthering the fan friendly atmosphere at the track while building a fan base that will one day hopefully bring their children to MIS. Parents who came to events at MIS as children now bring their children, continuing the family tradition at MIS passed from generation to generation. Those who cheered for Richard Petty, Al Unser and Bobby Unser now cheer with their families for Kyle Petty and Al Unser, Jr.
The official website of MIS -- www.MISpeedway.com will feature weekly historical trivia beginning in January 2003 as well as the MIS Fan of the Month chosen by fans logging onto the site. Fans can nominate themselves or pick a friend as MIS Fan of the Month. The Fan of the Month will receive a prize package from the track and become eligible to win the ultimate honor of "MIS Fan of the Year." Tickets to all MIS races can also be purchased on the website.
As the 2002 race season at MIS becomes a memory, the 2003 season will surely continue many traditions and begin some new ones as the facility continues to grow to suit race fans and drivers alike.
MIS - 35 Years of Racing Tradition!