When race fan David Bauer and two of his friends, David Weber and Jim Grinnell, started their journey at 5 a.m. they knew their 2 ½-hour trip would end at Michigan International Speedway.
The three friends from the Saginaw, Mich., area are avid race fans and have attended NASCAR races at MIS since the early 1970s. They wanted to get to the Irish Hills track early Wednesday to take advantage of the upgrade/relocation period to obtain better seats and additional camping for the 2009 season.
Little did the trio know that other fans would show up early, too — some from Canada, and many braving icy, snowy conditions.
“This was the perfect time to upgrade our seats in the center grandstands and get another campsite next to the two we already have had for many years,” Grinnell said. “All three of us have been coming to MIS for a long time and we always enjoy driving down and working with the ticket office, which does a great job.”
Bauer, who resides in Zilwaukee, Mich., near Saginaw, has been attending races at MIS since 1972. Over time, they have upgraded seats throughout the years, hoping for the perfect view of the two-mile oval.
“We attend the June and August race weekends every year and I think I’ve only missed three races in all these years of coming here,” Bauer said. “It took a long time to get the seats we have after upgrading year after year, but it’s worth it.”
Additionally, the group camps at MIS to complete the NASCAR experience.
“We love camping in the speedway’s Brooklyn Trails Campground. It’s been fun for all of us,” Bauer added.
Many MIS race fans have had tickets since the speedway’s first NASCAR race in 1969. These longtime fans have upgraded their seats over the years giving them the best seats in the house.
Grinnell, Bauer and Weber will eventually hand their seats down to their kids after years of upgrading.
“We hope that all of us can hand our tickets down to the next generation,” Grinnell said. “We’ve enjoyed this experience for many years.”
Relocation is a tradition at MIS that race fans and MIS staff take very seriously and look forward to. Fans who upgrade seats in-person are greeted with hot coffee and a handshake from track President Roger Curtis, who tries to meet most of the fans and thank them for their support.
Fans can also call the speedway’s toll-free number during the period to upgrade their seats until 9 p.m. every day.
The ticket renewal process began last fall. Customers who renewed their seats, camping sites and/or hospitality packages now have the opportunity to relocate to better seats and campsite locations or simply to add seats during their designated relocation/upgrade period.
The relocation/upgrade period for customers who renew both NASCAR weekends is taking place until Jan. 11. After that, fans who renew just one weekend can relocate or upgrade from Jan. 12-16.
All relocations and upgrades can be done by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 800-354-1010 until 9 p.m. every day or by visiting the speedway’s ticket office from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Ticket Director Linda Wyne said phone calls from race fans have been steady and asks guests not to get discouraged if they don’t get through to an operator right away.
“Our phone lines are open until 9 p.m. for this very reason,” she said. “Keep calling because now is the best time to move up to some of our best seats or secure a campsite in the popular Graves Farm Campground, which has electrical hookups.”For fans who have not secured tickets or camping for Michigan International Speedway’s 2009 season, tickets will go on sale Sunday, Feb. 15 during the season-opening Daytona
MIS has restructured some of its pricing for 2009 so fans who feel the economic pinch can keep MIS in their 2009 vacation planning. New in 2009 are general admission seats for NASCAR Sprint Cup races that start at just $40 in two grandstands. Children 12 and under may come to the races for free with their families in those seats. Restrictions apply, call for details.
For additional information call the MIS Ticket Hotline at 800-354-1010.