NASCAR recognizes MIS for its environmental initiatives
When it comes to being green, Michigan International Speedway leads the way. NASCAR today recognized MIS as being an industry leader during the sport’s annual Green Summit in Chicago, site of this weekend’s start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
The NASCAR Green track operator award recognizes those motorsports facilities for their ongoing contributions to developing effective and sustainable green policies and practices.
It’s no surprise. MIS is looked at as one of the founders of moving the sport in a positive direction with its various green initiatives that have made a tremendous impact not only in Michigan, but around the country.
MIS annually introduces programs that have made an immediate impact on the environment.
“MIS takes great pride in knowing that our green initiatives have made a significant, positive impact to the environment and sport of auto racing, and we continue to do different things to move forward with those initiatives,” track boss Roger Curtis said. “It’s the right thing to do to protect our environment. Our brand at MIS is very much an environmentally friendly one.”
All of the efforts have proved vastly important to maintaining a clean, safe and environmentally friendly facility to fans who visit MIS twice a year for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
But more, the speedway’s surrounding communities also benefit.
Most recently, the speedway entered a thriving partnership with Adrian College to observe and analyze its vast acres of wetlands around the track property. Adrian College students have inventoried all plant, animal and insect species in designated areas, as well as regularly conduct water studies and identify invasive plant species.
Adrian College students have developed a field guide and self-guided tour book for visitors, many of whom are small children. Track and Explore sees hundreds of kids visit MIS to look at animals, plants and test water samples from the wetlands – all as part of fun, interactive school field trips. In addition, the partnership with Adrian College helps teach local students the importance of stewardship.
MIS worked with Ford to unveil a Fusion Energi Hybrid as the official pace car for the Quicken Loans 400 in June and Pure Michigan 400 in August. Together, the companies awarded that pace car to a fan.
The speedway has worked since 2008 with partners Schupan and Coca-Cola on a recycling program for its race weekends, collecting hundreds of thousands of pounds of aluminum and plastics from cans and bottles, among other things. MIS annually recycles cardboard, paper, glass, plastic, aluminum, construction waste, electronic waste, batteries and motor oil after its events.
Fans have embraced their role in the speedway’s recycling efforts. As avid outdoorsman, fishermen, campers and hikers, the guests at MIS understand the importance of recycling and its impact on the environment.
Additionally, MIS formed a partnership with NASCAR to plant trees on property and in communities around the speedway. Later this year, Adrian, Mich., will benefit from 45 trees donated to the city’s parks through NASCAR’s Race to Green program presented by UPS. Those trees will be delivered in October.
Additionally, the track’s Pit Road Suites and Media Center, which opened in June 2010, has a 20 kW photovoltaic (solar panels) system, which offsets energy costs for the building used year-round.
MIS earned its Green Venues Michigan Leader Certification by the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth (DELEG) for its ongoing conservation efforts.
MIS has also reduced waste by switching from printed hardcopies to electronic versions of documents such as track media guides, holiday cards and calendars.
At a glance: MIS environmental efforts
Given its location in the lush Irish Hills area and with over 1,400 acres of property, Michigan International Speedway is at the front of green initiatives, implementing such programs as:
- Broad-based Recycling – through partnerships with Coca-Cola, Schupan and others at the track, MIS has collected more than 228,800 pounds of plastic, cardboard, aluminum, steel and concrete at the track since May 2008.
- Pace Car – A Ford Fusion Energi Hybrid paced the fields for the Quicken Loans 400 in June and Pure Michigan 400 in August. That car, through a promotion between Pure Michigan, Quicken Loans and Ford, was given away to a fan.
- Government Partnerships – MIS is the first professional sports venue in the state to join the Michigan Business Pollution Prevention Partnership (MBP3) and Retired Engineers Technical Assistance Program (RETAP). These self-administered, private programs (with overview from the state) are designed to reduce pollution, lower energy usage and reduce costs.
- School Partnerships – MIS has partnered with Adrian College to observe and analyze its 200 acres of wetlands around track property to inventory plant, animal and insect species in designated areas, as well as conducting water studies and identifying invasive plant species.
- Educational Partnerships – MIS also partnered with Adrian College to conduct an educational program called Track and Explore to teach children about the animals, plantlife and wetlands that call MIS home.
- Alternative Power – MIS is researching alternative power sources such as wind and solar to operate its facility. The speedway’s suite/media center opening is solar-powered.
- Wetlands conservation – MIS maintains approximately 200 acres of protected wetlands in and around the facility.
- “Green Escape – National Park” – MIS is pursuing open-space programs to make the property available to the community as walking/biking trails and athletic fields. Two soccer fields have been built for use by local school children.