The Experience of Michigan International Speedway
Experience of Michigan International Speedway
When you write about NASCAR you’re really not supposed to write about you but for the first time in a long time I went to the speedway as a fan. I was hoping the Michigan International Speedway would accept my press credentials so I could go and cover the race. It didn't happen but my Race Buddy, the guy who got me started in this crazy sport was able to go, so I was able to.
Thursday - I got to the Michigan International Speedway on Thursday with my camper. Yes, this is a day or more earlier than most NASCAR fans. The reason is twofold. In the olden days we used to leave Thursday after work from the Chicago area. The problem with that is it always increased the travel time from about 4.5 hours to 5.5 to 6 hours because of traffic around the lake. Setting up a camper at two AM is fun but it leaves you pretty tired when you finally get to the track for practice and qualifying on Friday.
Getting to the track on Thursday enabled me to actually have a mini vacation. Camper set up by 4:30 Pm and ready to enjoy the weekend, nothing like it. My race buddy drives up from Lexington KY was able to get off work early and arrived around 6. It was great to catch up with him before the racing activities on Friday.
Friday – In spite of being up until 1 AM Thursday night we were able to hit the trailers in the Fan Zone and make it to the Champions Club by 10:30 in time for breakfast. We spent the whole day in the Club.
I met NASCAR Nationwide Series Driver, Alex Bowman’s Grandma. She goes to every race he is in, how about that. Since it was Friday, I was able to bring my lap top into the track and write about qualifying.
Friday Night we went to Jerry’s Pub on Wampler’s lake, off the beaten path and you need to look for it. Brad Keselowski was there signing autographs along with some Miller Lite girls supporting the sponsor. My buddy and I have never been about autographs and pictures; it has always been about the experience maybe that is why I make a good media guy. I did take a picture of Brad and tweeted it though.
Saturday – No laptop at the track because there would be lots of walking on pit road and around the speedway. Hence there would be no coverage of the Nationwide race by me. It was a great day at MIS.
We got to the track in time to walk pit road during qualifying for the Nationwide race. If you have an opportunity to get to the track this is where you can get that up close look at the cars. Especially since they look like actual cars now. It is also a great opportunity to see some drivers up close and perhaps get an autograph or two.
When the Nationwide race was over we went back to the camper to hang with the neighbors but by 7:30 we were at Jerry’s Pub again to see the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the band. Thank you to Jerry for hosting us all these years.
The beauty of going to a place off the beaten path is that you run into hard core race fans that have been there many times. Fans you actually see at the track. You also catch up with the regulars, plus it is on a lake. The Michigan International Speedway is actually in a resort area if you get off the highway and look.
Sunday Race day – What can I say we have had too much fun so far. It was difficult getting up and being able to make the tweet up. Bob Pockrass hosted as usual. @NASCARcasm was there as well as @MISroger, @MikeCalinoff and many of you fans.
After the tweet up we went to pit road again to watch the crazy fans take pictures with their drivers pit box, write good luck messages on pit wall and even the start finish line. That start finish line looks pristine on TV, except there are hundreds of good luck wishes written on it.
All in all it was fun being a fan again on a great day at Michigan International Speedway. If you have never gone to a NASCAR race, you need to. It takes a lot of work to search out what you want to see, especially at a big track like MIS, but it is well worth it. NASCAR tracks, drivers, and teams are as accommodating as any sport can be, in fact better. Way too much fun!
All Set Up at Brookfest Acres MIS
All set up at Michigan International Speedway Brookfest Acres Campground. Let the Party begin!
Frank Kimmel in Champions Club
Frank Kimmel joined us in the Champions Club prior to the ARCA Race. What a great ARCA Champion he is.
Roger MIS Track President Champions Club
Roger the president of the Michigan International Speedway joined us. If you go to MIS and you don't see him you didn't enjoy the full experience. He is everywhere.
Brad Keselowski Jerry's Pub
When you get off the beaten path you still see drivers and teams. Brad Keselowski signed autographs and took pictures for fans at Jerry's Pub on Wampler's lake. If you were not looking for it you would never find it.
Sam Hornish Jr. in the Fan Zone
When visiting the Fan Zone, visit early and you might see your driver there. Visit both days.
You never know who you will run into or where
While you are out and about pay attention you might see some crazy fans you saw years before. In this case I ran into the Can Man at Jerry's. Saw him many a time on pit road. I still don't know how the cans stick to his head? Maybe that is a good thing?
MIS Tweet Up Know these guys?
If you are not on Twitter you might not get this but if you are you get an opportunity that others won't know about to see some great people. In this case the hard core pawn guys.
Did I tell you I love the Prerace
Finally if you ever get a chance to watch the driver introductions, presentation of colors, the prayer and national anthem right up close to the stage you must. OK maybe it is because I still get choked up with these festivities but if you can do it.
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