Scoreboard Construction

Capital improvement projects nearing completion


Construction crews around the Michigan International Speedway facility are working tirelessly in an effort to complete nearly $3 million worth of capital improvement projects before the June 17-19 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 race weekend.


Despite the unusual Michigan weather this spring, tremendous progress has been made in many areas of the speedway, most notably the redesign of the infield scoreboard and new tram road/stop on the south side of the facility.


The expansion of the pedestrian tunnel under the start-finish line, the tearing down of three grandstands in turns 3 and 4 and renovation of the Champions Club presented by CP Federal Credit Union have already been completed in time for the race season.


“We commend Clark Construction, Slusarski Paving and the many other Michigan-based contractors for their efforts in making sure these projects are completed in time for the 2011 race season,” MIS President Roger Curtis said.


“Don Bell Signs has also worked around the clock to make sure our redesigned scoreboard is fully installed and operational before the races. Despite a cold, rainy spring here in Michigan, these construction crews are putting their best foot forward in an effort to finish these projects, which will enhance the guest experience this season,” Curtis continued.


The scoreboard, the first of its kind in motorsports when it was installed in 2008, is receiving a makeover. One of the most noticeable changes is the increase in the overall height of the scoreboard from 108-feet tall to nearly 155-feet tall, a difference of 47 feet. 


The LED display that shows the running order of the race, various sponsor advertisements and track messaging, is also increasing from 57 feet tall to 85 feet tall. Because of the size of MIS and the size numbers used so all spectators could see, the former scoreboard only listed running order positions in groups of three. The new board will show the top-14 competitors at one time and include a lap counter.


“These enhancements are necessary to give fans an even better viewing experience of our scoreboard,” Curtis said. “We were the first race track in NASCAR to get an LED scoreboard and other tracks over the last couple of years have followed suit. We have now looked at other tracks and discovered things from their scoreboards that could make ours even better and are implementing some of those changes.”


Crews are currently paving a new tram route from the speedway’s Lot 10 to the frontstretch area of the New Holland Fan Plaza. A tram drop-off point to service the Fan Plaza is next to the Chalet Village hospitality area near the tunnel entrance to the track. The new route now gives the speedway the ability to tram fans from one end of the facility to the other, including to the frontstretch.


Trams are an integral part of transporting vast amounts of fans to and from locations around the speedway. In all, MIS has 40 trams, which can transport up to 2,000 fans in any given moment on Sprint Cup Series race days.


“This is an important capital improvement project,” MIS Director of Guest Services Tim Booth said. “Being able to also access the frontstretch and New Holland Fan Plaza via tram will give fans an easier time getting to those destinations. It’s something we look forward to providing to our guests in 2011.”


The pedestrian tunnel project, which began in 2010 when the track rebuilt its Pit Road Suites and Media Center building, was completed just recently. The project called for the widening of the section of tunnel located directly under the center grandstands and near the start-finish line of the track. A small patch of track was repaved next to the start-finish line, which completed the project.


Back in the winter of 2011, MIS recycled three of its general admission grandstands and relocated the steel and aluminum to Watkins Glen International so the nation’s top road course could be able to add permanent grandstand seating for its race weekends. The removal of seats lowered MIS’ seating capacity to 106,000 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events.


Although sharing resources among tracks in the International Speedway Corporation family is nothing new, this project was unique in that it recycled a staggering 300 tons of steel and 105 tons of aluminum that benefited Watkins Glen for its events. Each grandstand was comprised of 100 tons of steel and 35 tons of aluminum.


Overall, MIS has spent about $60 million over the past five years improving the facility, allowing fans, media and corporate partners to get the most out of a race weekend at MIS.


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

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