Track Drive

Track Drive for Charity a success

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Many local families will benefit from the hundreds of race fans that participated in Michigan International Speedway’s Track Drive for Charity on Friday.

Speedway staff, along with employees of Competition Tire and Americrown collected thousands of toys and food items that will benefit Toys for Tots of Jackson and the Brooklyn Food Pantry, respectively, this holiday.  

The track drive gave fans, many of them armed with video cameras, the opportunity to take their personal vehicles for a lap around the track in exchange for a donation of a toy or non-perishable food item. The turnout was exceptional despite the 28-degree weather and flurries. Fans came from across Michigan, Ohio and parts of Canada. A group of driver’s education students and their instructor stopped by, as did a local race car driver.

“We couldn’t be happier with the amount of toys and food items we collected,” Alisha Cottrell, director of Government and Community Relations for MIS, said. “It’s nice to see so many race fans and area residents take time out of their day to give to charity and support this event. This donation will greatly help the needs of many local families who need some cheer this holiday.”

Oscar Ortiz, an infield camping customer, traveled from Ypsilanti, Mich., to participate in the event.

“I’ve been a longtime MIS fan, so to be able to give to charity and get to take a lap around this great racetrack is a win-win for everyone,” he said. “I applaud MIS and their efforts to allow us to do this, and at the same time, collect toys and food for their local community. Many people and children will benefit from this and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Chris Siemion of Taylor, Mich., a suburb of Detroit, heard about the track drive on WJR 760 AM at 10:30 a.m. this morning. He decided to take his 2000 Pontiac Trans Am out of storage for the day and head out to MIS with a toy in hand.

“What a great opportunity to give back to the community and donate a toy for a child who may have not had one this year,” Siemion said. “I’ve known about MIS for years, but thought this was the best chance to come out and see it for myself. I called my insurance company up, re-inflated the tires, and got my Trans Am out of storage so I could take a lap around the track with it. It was a great experience.”

Competition Tire, the company that handles delivery of Goodyear Racing tires across the country for various motorsports series including NASCAR, is storing the toys and food in a tractor trailer until the speedway staff can deliver the goods in the coming weeks.

Toys and food will continue to be collected at MIS during regular business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, through Dec. 16. Toys for Tots and Food Pantry collection boxes are in the speedway lobby at 12626 US 12 in Brooklyn.

All donated toys should be unwrapped and new. Food should be nonperishable. The Food Pantry is also seeking soap products, paper goods, canned fruits and juices.

The speedway has not opened its gates for a public track drive since 2005 when it hosted a similar effort to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina. That drive raised more than $20,000.

Nestled in the lush Irish Hills of Southeastern Michigan, Michigan International Speedway is the Great Escape, a venerable NASCAR national park where fans can get away and enjoy the very best in racing and camaraderie. It’s the love of racing and the thrill of a great time for race fans and drivers alike. 

The best, guaranteed lowest prices in 2010 will go to customers who make a $30 goodwill deposit. New customers can log onto www.MISpeedway.com or call 800-354-1010 to leave a deposit. That deposit ensures race fans get the best pricing for 2010.

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