Celebrating 50 Years: Michigan International Speedway
By Ann Kammerer
Michigan International Speedway made history in more ways than one this season as the track sped toward its 50th anniversary in 2018.
Starting with the first race weekend in June, MIS fans have had the opportunity to view collections of race memorabilia and cars that have thundered on the MIS track. Among featured vehicles in the 50 Years of Racing Exhibit presented by Consumers Energy are those driven by Bill Elliott, Bobby Allison, Dale Earnhardt Sr., Al Unser Sr., Rick Mears, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, David Pearson, Richard Petty, Dale Jarrett and other NASCAR Hall of Famers. Additional cars and trucks included in the exhibit are the Rousch Fenway Racing winning truck and Earnhardt 1990 Chevrolet Lumina.
A related charity event during the first race weekend raised dollars for special causes and the MIS Cares Fund. Attendees of the MIS Charity Dinner sponsored by Consumers Energy enjoyed a strolling dinner, dessert and drink stations, live and silent auctions, music and a photo booth. Dale Inman, Rusty Wallace and Leonard Woods were present for a question and answer session.
All season-long, fans can enjoy an ongoing stream of videos and photos on the track’s website related to the history of the two-mile speedway. A special timeline chronicles key events, and highlights historic moments on the now iconic track.
Followers of MIS social media can view and share posts featuring high-profile drivers and some of their most memorable moments in racing. Many fans have also been getting into the action by submitting their favorite fan photos for display on the track’s promo pace car.
Lovers of MIS swag and bling can relish the special 50th anniversary logo featured on promotional items. The prominent ‘M’ within the design harkens back to the original logo for the track, with the color transformed from green to gold to represent 50 years of racing.
Michigan International Speedway is considered one of the country’s premier racing facilities. The 50th anniversary year also marked the debut of a new high-end campground, seating option, ticket package and hospitality area. In addition, the track introduced a new all-you-can eat ticket package featuring hamburgers, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, potato salad, potato chips, cookies and iced tea.
Michigan International Speedway is nestled on more than 1,400-plus acres in the Irish Hills of southeastern Michigan. Groundbreaking took place on September 28, 1967, with the inaugural race taking place on October 13, 1968.