Michigan International Speedway

Michigan International Speedway (MIS) is a 2 mi (3.2 km) moderate-banked D-shaped speedway located in Cambridge Township, Michigan, approximately four miles (6.4 km) south of the village of Brooklyn. Situated on more than 1,400 acres (5.7 km2)[2] in the Irish Hills area of southeastern Michigan, the track is 70 miles (110 km) west of the center of Detroit, 40 miles (64 km) from Ann Arbor, and 60 miles (97 km) south and northwest of Lansing, Michigan and Toledo, Ohio, respectively. MIS is used primarily for NASCAR events. It is sometimes known as a sister track to Texas World Speedway, and was used as the basis of Auto Club Speedway. The track is owned by NASCAR. Michigan International Speedway is recognized as one of motorsports' premier facilities because of its wide racing surface and high banking (by open-wheel standards; the 18-degree banking is modest by stock car standards).

Michigan International Speedway

Location12626 US Highway 12
Brooklyn, Michigan, 49230
Time zoneUTC−5 / −4 (DST)
Coordinates42°03′59″N 84°14′29″W / 42.06639°N 84.24139°W / 42.06639; -84.24139
Capacity56,000–137,243 (max.) depending on stand configurations[1]
OwnerNASCAR (2019–present)
International Speedway Corporation (1999–2019)
Penske Corporation (1972–1992)
Lawrence H. LoPatin (1968–1971)
OperatorNASCAR (2019–present)
Broke ground28 September 1967; 56 years ago (1967-09-28)
Opened13 October 1968; 55 years ago (1968-10-13)
Construction cost$4–6 million
ArchitectCharles Moneypenny
Former namesMichigan Speedway (1997–2000)
Major eventsCurrent:


D-shaped oval (1968–present)
Length2.000 miles (3.219 km)
BankingTurns: 18°
Start/Finish: 12°
Backstretch: 5°
Race lap record0:30.767 (Mexico Adrián Fernández, Lola T96/00, 1996, CART)
Infield Road Course (1968–present)
Length1.900 miles (3.058 km)
Race lap record1:06.060 (United States Bill Whittington, March 84G, 1984, IMSA GTP)
Extended Road Course (1968–1994)
Length3.310 miles (5.327 km)
Race lap record1:36.100 (New Zealand Denny Hulme, McLaren M8B, 1969, Can-Am)
Racing action after a restart at the 2014 Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway
Michigan International Speedway's front stretch, view from the infield early on race day
Turn 1 at Michigan International Speedway, 2014. The track was repaved in 2012.

History edit

Groundbreaking took place on September 28, 1967. Over 2.5 million cubic yards (1,900,000 m3) of dirt were moved to form the D-shaped oval. The track opened in 1968 with a total capacity of 25,000 seats. The track was originally built and owned by Lawrence H. LoPatin, a Detroit-area land developer who built the speedway at an estimated cost of $4–6 million.[3] LoPatin was President of American Raceways and had a controlling interest in Atlanta International Raceway, Trenton Speedway, Texas World Speedway and Riverside International Raceway until the company went bankrupt in 1971. Financing was arranged by Thomas W. Itin. Its first race took place on Sunday, October 13, 1968, with the running of the USAC 250 mile Championship Car Race won by Ronnie Bucknum.

In 1972, Roger Penske purchased the speedway for an estimated $2 million. During Penske's ownership the track was upgraded several times from its original seating capacity to 125,000. From 1997 to 2000, the track was referred to as Michigan Speedway. This was to keep consistency with other tracks owned by Penske's Motorsports International before its merger with ISC.[3]

In 1999, the speedway was purchased by International Speedway Corporation (ISC) and in 2000 it was renamed to the original Michigan International Speedway. In 2000, 10,800 seats were added via a turn 3 grandstand bringing the speedway to its current capacity. In 2004-2005 the largest renovation project in the history of the facility was ready for race fans when it opened its doors for the race weekend. The AAA Motorsports Fan Plaza—a reconfiguration of over 26 acres (110,000 m2) behind the main grandstand. A new, three-story viewing tower housing the Champions Club presented by AAA and 16 new corporate suites targeted VIP guests, while a press box and a race operations facility high above the two-mile (3.2 km) oval welcomed the media and race officials.[3] Michigan was repaved prior to the 2012 season. This marks the first time since 1995 that the oval was resurfaced, along with 1967, 1975, and 1986. Also new for 2012 was the addition of a new 20-space trackside luxury campsite to be known as APEX. Situated in turn 3, each site will offer a 20-by-55-foot (6.1 by 16.8 m) area. To accommodate these new campsites, the remaining silver grandstands in turns 3 and 4 were removed.[4]

On January 28, 2019, it was revealed on ISC's 2018 annual report that the speedway's track seating was reduced from 71,000 to 56,000.[1]

Notable accidents edit

  • May 11, 1969 (Mother's Day): the Michigan International Speedway hosted the Wolverine 4-Hour Trans-Am race, the opening round for the 1969 Sports Car Club of America's Trans-Am Series. The event, held on the newly inaugurated Grand Prix road course, a 3.310 mi (5.327 km) configuration designed by the Formula 1 star Stirling Moss, which included the extended outfield road course plus part of the banking in clockwise direction, was overshadowed by the death of a spectator and several more injured. This was the first fatality of the new track's two-years history. On the eighth lap of the race, the Shelby Team 1969 Ford Mustang Boss #2 driven by the Austrian born Australian driver Horst Kwech, spun into a spectator area in the field located on grass, that was sodden with rain, snow and hail that had soaked it earlier in the day. Kwech, as did the other front runners Parnelli Jones and George Follmer, started the race from the inside of the second row on dry tires, and rain began falling as soon the flag was waved. It is not clear whether he had already pitted for a tire change. Despite Kwech's efforts, the out of control car left the track at an estimated speed of 120 mph (190 km/h) and went through the fence. It hit a number of spectators and smashed into two parked AMC Javelins. Twelve spectators were injured, some of them critically; another one, a fifty-year old man named Derwood S. Fletcher, an AMC employee, (partner and vice president of a Buick and AMC dealership in Mason, MI) who was sitting in one of the cars with his wife Lorna, was taken by helicopter to Jackson's Foot Hospital, where he succumbed to his head, chest and back injuries.
  • July 16, 1972: Merle Bettenhausen crashed into the outside wall on the backstretch during the USAC's Champ Car Michigan 200. He tried to climb out of the car while it was still moving, but his right arm was caught in between the moving car and the backstretch wall and was severed, ending his racing career.
  • September 17, 1977: Al Holbert flipped on the backstretch during the first race of the 1978 IROC V racing season. The car then slid hundreds of feet on its roof before stopping near turn 3.
  • June 17, 1979: Steve Pfeifer, substituting for Roger Hamby during the middle of the race, crashed heavily and went over the pit wall during the Gabriel 400, internally injuring freelance photographer Ray Cook. Cook survived, while Pfeifer only suffered cuts on his chest and right knee.
  • July 25, 1981: A. J. Foyt slammed sideways into the Armco barrier during the Michigan 500 and almost lost an arm.
  • July 22, 1984: Al Unser Jr. and Chip Ganassi crashed into the inside retaining wall on the backstretch. The crash effectively ended Ganassi's driving career.[citation needed]
  • July 22, 1984: Pancho Carter flipped violently on the final lap of the Michigan 500.
  • September 1984: Derek Daly was nearly killed in a horrible crash in the CART PPG Detroit News Grand Prix 200. The front end of his car was sheared off and he suffered multiple injuries including a crushed left ankle, double compound fracture to the left tibia and fibula, fractured left hip socket, severely fractured pelvis, several broken left side ribs, broken left hand, 3rd degree burns to the left arm, dislocated right foot and ankle, deep abrasions and soft tissue to right heel, and internal bleeding.
  • August 1985: During practice for the Michigan 500, polesitter Bobby Rahal crashed hard into the wall, an accident blamed on the newly introduced Goodyear radial tires. Competitors refused to race the following day, and the race was postponed. The following weekend, just 10 of 30 cars finished the race, 10 due to mechanical failures and 10 due to wrecks. Danny Ongais flipped several times down the backstretch while Mario Andretti broke his collarbone and hip, and had to miss the next race.
  • June 1986: Rick Baldwin crashed in turn 2 during Winston Cup qualifying. His window net failed when he smacked the wall with the driver's side of the car. His head protruded enough out of the window to smack the wall. He sustained massive head injuries and was in a coma for 11 years before dying in 1997. He was 42.
  • August 1992: Clifford Allison, son of retired NASCAR driver Bobby Allison, was killed during a practice-run crash for the Busch Series race.
  • August 1993: In a Busch Grand National Series race, Johnny Benson got airborne on the backstretch and flipped five times before coming to rest. He was uninjured.
  • August 1994: Ernie Irvan crashed in an early morning practice session. According to drivers on the track, a right front tire deflated, sending Irvan's car into the turn 2 wall at over 170 miles per hour (270 km/h). Emergency workers at the track extricated him from the car, and he was immediately airlifted to Saint Joseph's Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was diagnosed with critical brain and lung injuries and given only a 10% chance of surviving the night. After making a full recovery, Irvan returned to NASCAR in 1995. In 1997 Irvan won his final race at the June race at Michigan. Exactly 5 years after his near-fatal accident there, Irvan crashed at Michigan while driving his own #84 Irvan-Simo Federated Auto Parts Pontiac in a practice session for the Busch Series race. Ernie was again airlifted from the track and was diagnosed with a mild head injury and a bruised lung as a result of the accident. Less than two weeks later, on September 3, 1999, at a tearful press conference in Darlington, SC, where he was surrounded by his wife and two children, Irvan announced his retirement from driving.
  • July 30, 1995: On lap 194 of the Marlboro 500, Lyn St. James experienced a mechanical failure in turn 1, spun and collected Danny Sullivan, which resulted in a broken pelvis and the end of his open-wheel racing career.[5]
  • July 28, 1996: On the first lap of the Marlboro 500, Emerson Fittipaldi attempted to overtake Greg Moore for third place in turn 1, but collided with Moore and spun into the outside wall. The accident fractured Fittipaldi's seventh cervical vertebrae, and he retired from racing as a result of his injuries.
  • July 26, 1998: Three spectators were killed and six injured from flying debris during a CART race crash. Those killed were Kenneth Dale Fox, 38, of Lansing, Michigan; and Sheryl Ann Laster, 40, and Michael Terry Tautkus, 49, of Milan, Michigan.[6]
  • June 10, 2000: Elliott Sadler went on a wild ride when he flipped twelve times in a practice accident after cutting a tire in turn 1. Little footage of the accident has surfaced. Sadler recalled years later that there was footage of the accident, but it was destroyed by NASCAR due to the car having reached higher than the turn 1 catchfencing.
  • August 2003: Todd Bodine and Kurt Busch got together in turn 2 on lap 63. Bodine's car went up the track into Kenny Wallace and turned head-on into the wall. Todd's car lifted into the air onto the hood of Wallace's and slid down the track as Wallace's car burst into flames. Both drivers quickly got out of their cars and were uninjured.
  • June 19, 2004: Chad McCumbee rolled over six times after contact with a few cars in an ARCA race.
  • August 5, 2007: Dario Franchitti went spectacularly airborne during the IRL Michigan/Firestone Indy 400, but escaped without significant injury.
  • June 2009: Brian Scott pounded the turn 4 wall, breaking his wrist in a Camping World Truck Series race.
  • August 2012, Pure Michigan 400: On lap 64, Mark Martin was about to lap Bobby Labonte and Juan Pablo Montoya when Labonte got loose. Martin and Kasey Kahne got collected, and while Kahne slid through the infield grass, Martin spun down pit road and his car caught the pit road opening in Kahne's pit stall, right behind the driver's compartment. Martin was uninjured.

Other events edit

In addition to motor racing, the venue hosts a number of events, including the Michigan High School Athletic Association's cross country finals for the Lower Peninsula[7] and the annual Make-A-Wish Bicycle Tour.[8] The track also hosts concerts in conjunction with its race weekends. Driving schools are held throughout the year. The Formula SAE competition is now held at MIS, after previously being held in the parking lot of the Pontiac Silverdome. Since 2010, it has hosted the Michigan Wine and Beer Festival,[9] and since 2013, the venue has hosted the country music festival Faster Horses.[10][11]

MIS pano 2014 race day

Records edit

Track records edit

Record Year Date Driver Time Average speed
NASCAR Cup Series
Qualifying (one lap) 2014 August 15 Jeff Gordon 34.857 206.558
Race (400 miles) 1999 June 13 Dale Jarrett 2:17:56 173.997
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Qualifying (one lap) 2015 June 13 Joey Logano 37.157 193.772
Race (250 miles) 1995 August 19 Mark Martin 1:10:46 169.571
NASCAR Truck Series
Qualifying (one lap) 2014 August 15 Joey Logano 38.370 187.647
Race (200 miles) 2003 July 26 Brendan Gaughan 1:17:54 154.044
Qualifying (one lap) 2000 July 22 Paul Tracy 30.645 234.949
Race (500 miles) 1990 August 5 Al Unser Jr. 2:33:07 189.727
IndyCar Series
Qualifying (one lap) 2003 July 26 Tomas Scheckter 32.3657 222.458
Race (400 miles) 2006 July 30 Hélio Castroneves 2:03:43 193.972

NASCAR Cup Series records edit

(As of 11 August 2019)

Most wins 9 David Pearson
Most top-5s 21 Cale Yarborough
Most top-10s 31 Mark Martin
Starts 61 Bill Elliott
Poles 10 David Pearson
Most laps completed 11,212 Bill Elliott
Most laps led 1305 Cale Yarborough
Average start* 3.1 Bobby Isaac
Average finish* 7.6 Chase Elliott

* from minimum 5 starts.

Lap records edit

As of June 2019, the fastest official race lap records at Michigan International Speedway are listed as:

Category Time Driver Vehicle Date
D-shaped oval: 3.219 km (1968–present)
CART 0:30.767[12] Adrián Fernández Lola T96/00 1996 Marlboro 500
IndyCar 0:32.2730[13] Bryan Herta Dallara IR-03 2003 Firestone Indy 400
NASCAR Cup 0:36.093[14] Kevin Harvick Ford Fusion 2018 FireKeepers Casino 400
Indy Lights 0:37.3349[15] Alfred Unser Dallara IPS 2004 Paramount Health Insurance 100
NASCAR Xfinity 0:38.290[16] Paul Menard Ford Mustang 2019 LTi Printing 250
NASCAR Truck 0:38.666[17] Myatt Snider Ford F-150 2018 Corrigan Oil 200
Infield Road Course: 3.058 km (1968–present)
IMSA GTP 1:06.060[18] Bill Whittington March 84G 1984 Michigan 500k
IMSA GTO 1:12.210[18] Chester Vincentz Porsche 934 1984 Michigan 500k
IMSA GTU 1:13.960[19] Bob Bergstrom Porsche 924 Carrera GTR 1984 Michigan 500k
Extended Road Course: 5.327 km (1968–1994)
Can-Am 1:36.100[20] Denny Hulme McLaren M8B 1969 Michigan International Can-Am
Trans-Am 1:50.300[21] Mark Donohue AMC Javelin 1971 Michigan Trans-Am round

References edit

  1. ^ a b Page, Scott (January 27, 2019). "International Speedway Corporation continues to reduce tack seating". Jayski's Silly Season Site. ESPN. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  2. ^ "About MIS". Michigan International Speedway. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "Track History". Michigan International Speedway. Archived from the original on March 2, 2009.
  4. ^ Duff, Bob (November 10, 2011). "MIS to offer luxury campsites for 2012 NASCAR races". Windsor Star. Archived from the original on January 16, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
  5. ^ "Pruett Takes First Indy-Car Championship". The Albany Herald. Associated Press. July 31, 1995. p. 3B. Retrieved March 26, 2018 – via Google News Archive Search.
  6. ^ Staff Writer (June 11, 2005). "Major incidents of fan deaths". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
  7. ^ "2022 Michigan high school cross-country state finals".
  8. ^ "Wish-A-Mile Bicycle Tour". Make-A-Wish Michigan. Archived from the original on June 16, 2014. Retrieved April 9, 2014.
  9. ^ Olmos, Ricky (May 10, 2014). "Michigan Beer and Wine Festival draws huge crowd to Michigan International Speedway". MLive. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  10. ^ Jennings, Zeke (July 20, 2014). "Faster Horses Festival draws 25,000 to MIS, fan feedback mostly positive". MLive. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  11. ^ Raven, Benjamin (November 25, 2015). "Faster Horses Festival announces plans for its 4th go-round at MIS". MLive. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  12. ^ "1996 Michigan 500 - Round 12". Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  13. ^ "2003 Michigan Indycars". Retrieved May 27, 2022.
  14. ^ "NASCAR Cup 2018 Michigan". Retrieved May 27, 2022.
  15. ^ "2004 Michigan Indy Lights". Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  16. ^ "NASCAR XFINITY 2019 Michigan". Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  17. ^ "NASCAR Truck 2018 Michigan". Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  18. ^ a b "Michigan 500 Kilometres 1984". Retrieved May 30, 2022.
  19. ^ "IMSA GTU Michigan 1984". Retrieved May 30, 2022.
  20. ^ "Can-Am Michigan 1969". Retrieved May 30, 2022.
  21. ^ "Trans-Am Michigan 1971". Retrieved May 30, 2022.

External links edit