Michigan International Speedway

Michigan International Speedway
Michigan International Speedway
MIS Logo Large.gif
Location Cambridge Township, Lenawee County, Michigan,
at 12626 U.S. 12
Brooklyn, Michigan, 49230
Capacity 108,000 (2011)
Owner International Speedway Corporation
Operator International Speedway Corporation
Broke ground September 28, 1967
Opened October 13, 1968
Construction cost $4-6 million
Architect Charles Moneypenny
Former names Michigan Speedway (1996-2000)
Major events

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400
Carfax 400

NASCAR Nationwide Series
CARFAX 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Cool City Customs 200

ARCA Remax Series
Michigan 200 (June)
D-shaped oval
Length 2.0 mi (3.2 km)
Banking Turns: 18°
Front Stretch Grandstands
Grandstands in 1990s.

Michigan International Speedway is a two-mile (3.22-km) moderate-banked D-shaped superspeedway located off U.S. Highway 12 on more than 1,400 acres (5.7 km2) [1] in Brooklyn, in the scenic Irish Hills area of southeastern Michigan. The track 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 currently owned by International Speedway Corporation (ISC). 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 is now one of the fastest tracks in NASCAR due to its wide, sweeping corners and long straightaways; typical qualifying speeds are in excess of 190 mph (310 km/h) and corner entry speeds are anywhere from 205-215 mph (320 km/h).



Groundbreaking took place on September 28, 1967. Over 2.5 million 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.[2]

In 1972, Roger Penske purchased the speedway for an estimated $2 million. During Penske's ownership the track was upgraded several times from the original capacity to 125,000 seating capacity. From 1996 to 2000, the track was referred to as Michigan Speedway. This was to keep consistency with other tracks owned by Roger Penske's Motorsports International before its merger with ISC.[2]

In 1999, the speedway was purchased by International Speedway Corporation (ISC) and in 2000 the track was renamed to its original name of Michigan International Speedway. In 2000 10,800 seats were added via a turn three 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—provided race fans a new an improved area to relax enjoy sponsor displays, merchandise, and concessions during breaks of on-track activity. A new, three-story viewing tower housing the Champions Club presented by AAA and 16 new corporate suites also awaited VIP Guests, while a state-of-the-art press box and an expansive race operations facility high above the 2-mile (3.2 km) oval welcomed the media and race officials.[3] Michigan is currently being repaved for the 2012 season. This marks the first time since 1995 that the oval was resurfaced, along with 1967, 1975, and 1986.

Notable accidents

  • 1978: Al Holbert flips on the backstretch during the first race of the 1978 IROC V racing season.
  • 1981: A. J. Foyt slams sideways into the Armco barrier during the Michigan 500 and almost loses an arm.
  • 1984: Pancho Carter flips violently on the final lap of the Michigan 500.
  • 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]
  • August 1985: During practice for the Michigan 500, polesitter Bobby Rahal crashes hard into the wall, an accident blamed on the newly introduced Goodyear radial tires. Competitors refuse to race the following day, and the race was postponed. The following weekend, just 10 of 30 cars finish 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 collar bone and hip, and had to miss the next race.
  • June 1986: Rick Baldwin crashes in turn 2 during Winston Cup qualifying. His window net failed when he smacked the wall with the drivers 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 passing away 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 NASCAR Busch Series race.
  • August 1993: In a Busch Grand National Series race, Johnny Benson gets airborne on the backstretch and flips 5 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 Two 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, surrounded by his wife and two children, Irvan announced his retirement from driving at a tearful press conference in Darlington, SC.
  • July 26, 1998: Three spectators were killed[4] 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, both of Milan, Michigan.
  • 2000: Elliott Sadler goes on a wild ride when he flips twelve times in a practice accident after cutting a tire in turn 1.
  • August 2003: Todd Bodine and Kurt Busch get 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 alright.
  • 2004: Chad McCumbee rolled six times over and over after contact with a few cars in an ARCA race.
  • 2007: Dario Franchitti goes spectacularly airborne during the IRL Michigan/Firestone Indy 400, but escapes without significant injury.

Other events

In addition to motor racing, the venue hosts the Michigan High School Athletic Association cross country finals for the Lower Peninsula.[5]

The track also hosts concerts in conjunction with its race weekends. A concert will be held on Saturday, June 14, and Saturday, Aug. 16.

Driving schools are held throughout the year.

The Formula SAE competition is now held at MIS.

Great Lakes Wine Festival

Starting in 2010, MIS has hosted the annual Great Lakes Wine Festival. In 2011, 25 Michigan wineries and 17 breweries attended this event. The 2011 Great Lakes Wine Festival was a three day event beginning Friday May 20th until Sunday May 22nd. The festival offers different wine tasting and food pairings. MIS has camping available for festival goers to spend the entire weekend.[6]

Current schedule


Track Records

Record Year Date Driver Time Average Speed
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Qualifying (one lap) 2005 August 19 Ryan Newman 37.069 193.232
Race (400 miles) 1999 June 13 Dale Jarrett 2:17:56 173.997
NASCAR Nationwide Series
Qualifying (one lap) 2003 August 15 Kasey Kahne 38.608 186.490
Race (250 miles) 1995 August 19 Mark Martin 1:10:46 169.571
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Qualifying (one lap) 2005 August 17 Kyle Busch 39.645 181.612
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 Thomas Scheckter 32.365 222.458
Race (400 miles) 2006 July 30 Helio Castroneves 2:03:43 193.972

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Records

(As of 6/19/11)

Most Wins 9 David Pearson
Most Top 5s 21 Cale Yarborough
Most Top 10s 30 Mark Martin
Starts 61 Bill Elliott
Poles 10 David Pearson
Most Laps Completed 11212 Bill Elliott
Most Laps Led 1308 Cale Yarborough
Avg. Start* 5.4 Davey Allison
Avg. Finish* 6.2 Carl Edwards

* from minimum 10 starts.


  1. ^ [1] Michiganspeedway.com track info
  2. ^ a b [2] michiganspeedway.com track history
  3. ^ michiganspeedway.com track history
  4. ^ [3] Major Sport Accidents
  5. ^ [4][5] mhsaa.com
  6. ^ http://www.mispeedway.com/Events/Great-Lakes-Wine-Fest.aspx

External links

Coordinates: 42°03′58.68″N 84°14′29.18″W / 42.0663°N 84.2414389°W / 42.0663; -84.2414389

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