Canada Short Track Benefiting From MIS
With many facility enhancements occurring at Michigan International Speedway for the 2008 season, a Canadian short track is taking advantage of having a major NASCAR-sanctioned speedway in their region doing upgrades.
Varney International Speedway, a ¼-mile paved oval located an hour from Toronto in southwestern Ontario, is purchasing the old MIS scoreboards that were located in Turns 1 and 4 and will use them at their facility for the 2008 season and beyond. The scoreboards, which were purchased at a nominal cost, will be a tremendous help to the popular short track in Canada.
The scoreboards became available because MIS is installing a new, state-of-the-art, 130-foot, three-sided LED leaderboard. The scoreboard, higher than the scoring tower above the grandstands, will replace all three scoreboards at MIS, two in the turns and one in the center and will be visible from all grandstand seats, as well as several of the infield camping sites. The leaderboard will set a new industry standard for scoreboards across any sporting venue, Michigan International Speedway President Roger Curtis says.
“Varney International Speedway should really benefit from these scoreboards,” Curtis said. “When they contacted us about purchasing our old boards, we were glad to see that someone else could use them. We support our local short tracks throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Canada and applaud their efforts. Without their grassroots initiatives, the sport wouldn’t be where it is today.”
Representatives from the recently renamed Varney International Speedway visited MIS in late February to assist in the process of taking down the old scoreboards in turns 1 and 4. The scoreboards will be loaded onto trucks and be assembled at Varney before the start of their race season in early May. John McDonnell, a longtime supporter of Varney International Speedway, personally spawned the project and received assistance in taking down the scoreboards from other track supporters Clark and Ingrid Hartman.
“I can’t say enough about how grateful we are to have these scoreboards,” McDonnell said. “MIS has been so helpful with the whole process and we were happy to purchase them for our 2008 race season. MIS truly cares about their race fans in the United States and Canada. It is a special place who really appreciates the sport of auto racing and what it means to the local short track communities.”
Varney International Speedway owner Ken McLellan, who has owned the short track since 2000, agrees with McDonnell.
“I’m very excited about all of this,” he said. “It’s great that the opportunity presented itself to acquire these scoreboards and use them to better our speedway. Our drivers and fans will be excited about it as well.”
With more than 10 percent of MIS race fans hailing from Canada, the country has become a major supporter of the Irish Hills track over the years.
“We’ve attended races at MIS in the past and have enjoyed our time there,” McDonnell said. “MIS has a real strong fan base stretching from Windsor to Varney and beyond. We enjoy having a major NASCAR track close enough that we can attend a race without the added expense of overnight accommodations. It is no problem attending a race on Sunday and being at work on Monday.”
Besides the new scoreboard, other projects on tap for MIS in 2008 include:
• Some 300 new campsites sites with electric hookups will be added to the Graves Farm Campground, bringing the total number of campsites at MIS to nearly 9,000.
• A permanent restroom/shower building will be built in the Graves Farm Campground.• Michigan International Speedway is moving forward with additional improved seating. Two additional grandstands in Turn One have been
torn down and are currently being replaced with a grandstand that has wider seats, seatbacks and more leg room. The project began last year when one of the old “silver” grandstands was torn down and replaced with seats that are four inches wider than seats in the old grandstands. The project does not add seats, but merely replaces old seats.
Michigan International Speedway tickets can fit anyone’s budget. The speedway is hosting the ARCA RE/MAX Series on June 13, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Cool City Customs 200 on June 14, the NASCAR Nationwide Series CARFAX 250 on August 16 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on June 15 and 3M Performance 400 on August 17. Tickets are available for all events, including qualifying days.
To order tickets, camping, pit passes or hospitality packages, call the MIS Ticket Hotline at 800-354-1010 or visit MISpeedway.com.