Michigan International Speedway, the hometrack of auto manufacturers since 1968, announced today the creation of a Manufacturer’s Trophy, an ode to the spirit of the automobile and its importance to the racetrack.
Inspired by the Stanley Cup, the award will recognize the winning manufacturer – Ford, Toyota or Chevrolet – after each NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at MIS.
“MIS is important. It’s important to all (the manufacturers),” track president Roger Curtis said. “Whether you're headquartered here or not, Toyota has a huge presence in this state with the Tech Center and employs a lot of people there. I thought it was very important that we do something to formally recognize almost in a rivalry standpoint the significance of MIS on the schedule for these guys.”
Each manufacturer and MIS also will donate $10,000 that will be given to a youth-related, STEM-related charity in Michigan.
The trophy was designed by Fortress Studios artists Steven Kuypers and Steven McShane, both graduates of Detroit’s College for Creative Studies.
The trophy will be more than three feet tall, weigh about 50 pounds and feature sculpture similar to Greek goddess of victory Nike, also inspiration for classic cars hood ornaments from Cadillac, Rolls-Royce and Packard. The original bronze artwork will sit atop a base similar to architecture of Detroit landmarks such as the Fisher Building and Guardian Building.
Curtis compared the trophy with the tradition-steeped Big Ten football rivalries that have produced such iconic prizes as the Old Oaken Bucket (Indiana vs. Purdue) and the Paul Bunyan Trophy (Michigan vs. Michigan State).
The track annually recognizes NASCAR’s manufacturers, asking fans in the grandstands to cheer on their favorite during a fun poll conducted over the PA during pre-race ceremonies.
The Manufacturer’s Trophy will be presented after every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan in June and August, starting with the Pure Michigan 400 on Aug. 18.
The trophy is expected to renew a fun “rivalry” between the automakers.
Ford Racing’s Jamie Allison understands the importance of having MIS in Detroit’s backyard and looks forward to the “rivalry.” He said it makes the three automakers want to bring their absolute stuff to the Brooklyn track.
“I mean, this is a date that we all circle on our calendars beginning of every season,” Allison said. “Every racetrack is important. Every win is magnificent. Obviously, here you talk about backyards, our hometown. We circle the date. We want to show up and compete and win in front of our friends, our neighbors, our employees, the entire network of people who support our company, whether it's executives, fans, you name it. It's an extra level of pride that comes with being here in your hometown.”
The trophy is unnamed. And Curtis has asked media to Tweet him name ideas at @MISRoger.