Michigan International Speedway has a long-standing tradition of providing memorable experiences to race fans of all ages. But this week, thanks to NASCAR, that effort continues to be enhanced.
The track and NASCAR have combined to elevate once-in-a-lifetime experiences for children, taking them to a whole new level this weekend. Why? Because Kids Drive NASCAR.
Track president Roger Curtis and his staff are committed to providing children with memorable experiences each trip to MIS through the Fan Appreciation Program. Each year the opportunities have expanded as more children come to the race.
The track annually participates in youth-only autograph sessions with drivers and open garage session in each of the series garage. Children attending the Pure Michigan 400 and Careers for Veterans 200 will be featured guests at driver and crew chief meetings and receive behind-the-scenes garage tours and photos with drivers.
“I’m thrilled that tradition will continue this weekend, create memories for the youngest NASCAR fans and their families,” Curtis said.
Jake Short, the star of Disney XD’s Lab Rats: Elite Force, will serve as Honorary Kids Drive NASCAR Ambassador this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. He’ll participate in a Q&A with NASCAR driver A.J. Allmendinger on Sunday.
NASCAR’s and MIS’ social media channels will share Kids Drive NASCAR content throughout the week, including videos and Snapchat takeovers featuring young drivers sharing their off-track experiences, and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers with their kids. Fans are also invited to get in on the fun by sharing pictures of their children and families enjoying NASCAR races using #KidsDriveNASCAR.
Beginning this week, new NASCAR Acceleration Nation learning materials focused on lessons in aerodynamics and energy are being distributed to more than 10,000 elementary and middle schools across the country. NASCAR teamed with Scholastic to develop the motorsports industry’s first Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) in-school education program in 2015.
The 6,400-square-foot NASCAR Acceleration Nation live experience will be on display at Michigan International Speedway and will host interactive activities and driver autograph signings for kids throughout the weekend.
On Thursday, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Ben Kennedy and Michigan International Speedway executives will visit students at Ezra Eby Elementary School in Napoleon, Mich., to talk about NASCAR and STEM. Last fall, the school received a grant from MIS Cares, a donor advised fund of The NASCAR Foundation, for 35 digital tablets for student use across all subjects.
Michigan International Speedway has had special youth pricing for the past nine season. Kids 12 and under are free for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Careers for the Veterans on Saturday and the Pure Michigan 400 in certain sections on Sunday. In addition, juniors ages 13-16 are half priced on both Saturday and Sunday.
Each race weekend a child is presented a unique opportunity to join Curtis in Gatorade Victory Lane to present a miniature replica version of the trophy to the winning driver.
NASCAR’s fastest track created the Youth Fan Advisory Board in 2014 to provide a unique opportunity for youth to communicate directly with the MIS staff through email and conference calls about their experiences, as well as assist in the future planning of the track. The Youth FAB is comprised of youth 14-18 years old from around the country who are dedicated to the track.
In June, the speedway had kids carry the manufacturer flag across the stage as each driver was announced. That will tradition will continue in August.
Additionally, MIS created The Michigan Heritage, a recognition and celebration of the automobile and its importance to the race track and the manufacturers competing in NASCAR, in 2013. Each manufacturer and MIS donated $10,000 to be given to a youth-related, STEM-related charity in Michigan every year.
NASCAR kicked off the Kids Drive NASCAR, a week-long, youth initiative leading up to this weekend’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Careers for Veterans and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at MIS.
Michigan International Speedway and NASCAR make the perfect partners in this initiative thanks to the track’s continued efforts to create memorable kids’ experiences.
In years past the track has looked for create ways to involve youth in all activities. The speedway has partnered with the Motor Racing Network for a pit reporter.
For those kids who want to participate in interactive games, the track has you covered in a Kids Zone section in the New Holland Fan Plaza. You can even sign up for the MIS Kids Club.