NASCAR will return to Michigan International Speedway for a pair of dates in 2016. But the action will continue all year as track officials add events to the already full calendar to showcase the facility and Irish Hills.
Each year about 385,000 people visit MIS, generating an economic impact of more than $414 million. Nearly 60 percent of the guests on race weekend come from outside Michigan, making MIS the largest state welcome center.
“We have pledged to do our part to bring tourism and business development to this area – all year long, not just summertime,” speedway President Roger Curtis said. “It’s great to see so many people from our community benefitting from moving our business beyond the traditional NASCAR events. And it’s part of our plan to showcase this racetrack to groups from all ages and all walks of life.”
The core business of the speedway remains racing and is the main driver of its annual economic impact. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series makes two stops in the Irish Hills each summer as the best drivers test the high-banked oval.
The first of the track’s two NASCAR weekends is June 10-12 with the Corrigan Oil 200 ARCA Racing Series on June 10; NASCAR XFINITY Series on June 11; and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 on June 12.
The Sprint Cup Series will wind up its summertime stint at MIS on August 28 with the Pure Michigan 400. The Camping World Truck Series Careers for Veterans 200 presented by The Cooper Standard Foundation & Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation is on August 27.
MIS is one of 23 tracks to host NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in the nation and one of just 13 that host two weekends and is the only one in the state of Michigan. The NASCAR races anchor a year’s worth of events that will continue to bring business and drive tourism in the state, helping to showcase all the great things the State of Michigan and all the track’s partners have to offer.
It all gets started in May with a pair of educational opportunities for local students and worldwide. MIS will welcome students from across the globe on May 11-14 as part of the Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) competition. Students will compete in one of the most prestigious SAE Collegiate Design events. Formula SAE is an educational competition that challenges university undergraduate and graduate engineering students to design, build and compete in scaled-down, Formula-style autocross race cars.
In the month of May, more than 1,400 students from the area will come to facility to study the ecosystem. Michigan International Speedway and Adrian College partnered to develop, Track and Explore, a first-of-its-kind science-related field trip program. This unique partnership allows school children and college students from the region to benefit from learning about the ecosystem of the Irish Hills area, while also experiencing nature and conservancy that could contribute to their future work as scientists.
The Faster Horses Festival, one of the most popular and fastest growing music festivals in the United States, rides into town on July 15-17 for a country festival featuring some of the top acts in music including superstars Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum and Eric Church. The festival is set to be a prime summer event featuring multiple stages, camping, late night jam sessions, water slides and more to highlight the unique summer lifestyle experience in the area. The three-day country festival continues to grow so you will want to be sure to get your tickets and reserve your campsite at www.fasterhorsesfestival.com.
Make a Wish hosts its annual Wish-A-Mile Bike Tour, a 300-mile ride through the state of Michigan beginning on July 28 and ending at MIS on July 31. A special 50-mile ride through the sprawling Irish Hills is July 31.
The month of August gets started with an event just for children on August 13. The Art Moehn Chevrolet Childrenz Challenge presented by RW Mercer and Kelly Express Marts, an obstacle course built especially for all children ages 4-13. The course, built for accomplishment, not punishment ranges in length from 1.5-2 miles depending on the age group. There are over 13 obstacles on each course finishing with a 100-foot slip-n-slide. You can enter at www.childrenzchallenge.com, but it is filling up fast.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Michigan Karting Club invites its drivers to MIS for its championships. In 2016, the karting club will be hosting events on May 21-22 and September 24-25.
MIS continues its amazing and heartfelt tradition of the Spirit of America blood drive on September 11. The event serves as a special day of activities to honor and remember the victims and heroes of 9-11.
Michigan International Speedway has been chosen as the state’s only host venue for Tough Mudder, a hardcore, 12-mile obstacle course designed by British Special Forces to test strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie (www.toughmudder.com). The Tough Mudder event will take place on Saturday and Sunday, September 17-18, at Michigan International Speedway. To register for Tough Mudder Michigan, please visit https://toughmudder.com/events/2016-michigan.
The racing season ends with the Michigan High School Athletic Association Cross Country Championships on Saturday, November 5.
Fans will have an opportunity to drive on the two-mile oval at Michigan International Speedway and then take a behind the scenes tour. In 2016, guests can experience both on the same day as the speedway will host track laps and track tours together on May 26, June 16, July 12, August 11 and September 15.
In addition, Mach 1 Racing Schools, Richard Petty Driving Experience, Rusty Wallace Racing Experience, Driving 101 and Extreme Xperience allow guests to experience the speed and banking of the two-mile oval during the summer.
All the action will wrap up with the eighth annual MIS Cares Charity Track and Toy Drive on December 3. Guests may take a lap in their personal automobile around the track in exchange for a new, unwrapped toy or a bag of nonperishable food.