Detroit radio personality Paul W. Smith promoted tourism throughout the state of Michigan this week so it’s only fitting that his annual radio tour ended Friday at Michigan International Speedway, one of the state’s largest tourism destinations.
The morning show host for News/Talk 760 WJR-AM spent this week traveling the state of Michigan, stopping at key destinations to give listeners information about what the Wolverine State has to offer.
Smith began his five-day tour of Michigan in his hometown of Monroe at the La-Z-Boy Center Meyer Theatre at Monroe County Community College on Monday. He then traveled to the Inn at Bay Harbor on Tuesday, Grand Hotel Mackinac Island on Wednesday then to CityFlats Hotel Holland on Thursday.
“We’ve always promoted tourism in the great state of Michigan. This year it’s more important than ever,” Smith said. “When people come into Michigan and spend their money, it’s an infusion of new money into our hurting state economy. A business like Michigan International Speedway is such a great tourist draw and also a source of great family entertainment. For Michigan, MIS is truly a wonderful destination, resource and economic catalyst.”
The speedway hosts two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekends a year — June 13-15 and Aug. 15-17. The speedway brings about $400 million annually to the state through its tourism and business efforts, a study released in October said.
This year, the track is celebrating its 40th season of racing in 2008.
Speedway President Roger Curtis said the economy of Michigan is unstable, but believes optimism is the key to promoting tourism and all the great things Michigan and Michigan International Speedway have to offer.
“Whether you’ve been to Michigan International Speedway 10 times, 40 times or never, there’s a special place for you here,” he said. “What people take away from a place like this often isn’t what you see on the track or in the garage, but rather the personalities of the people you meet and befriend in our grandstands and in our campgrounds. MIS is as much about its fans and the experience they have here as it is about the racing. It’s about creating lasting memories for every person, every time.”
Smith wrapped WJR’s weeklong tour by taking a ride in and learning to drive an authentic NASCAR Sprint Cup stock car around Michigan International Speedway, courtesy of the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Smith reached speeds topping 140 mph, according to his instructor, Harry Riley Jr.
“The Richard Petty Driving Experience was fabulous,” he said. “I felt so safe with the instructor, yet there was never any doubt that I was truly racing around the beautiful MIS track in a real 600 horse power NASCAR stock car. Let me put it this way: For me, the Richard Petty Driving Experience was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I look forward to repeating!”
Other guests of the radio broadcast from MIS included NASCAR President Mike Helton, LifeLock CEO Todd Davis, Cool City Customs owner Bill Hattan, state Sen. Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) and Sharon Jaksa, CEO of the Great Lakes Region of the American Red Cross.
Michigan International Speedway tickets are on sale now. The speedway hosts racing two weekends a year. The ARCA RE/MAX Series on June 13, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Cool City Customs 200 on June 14 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LifeLock 400 kick off the season. The NASCAR Nationwide Series CARFAX 250 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 3M Performance 400 presented by Bondo conclude on August 16 and 17. Tickets, camping and pit passes are available for all events, including qualifying days. Parking is always free at Michigan International Speedway.