BROOKLYN, Mich. (WLNS) — Drivers, start your engines!
Friday kicks off the first race weekend of the year for the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
Thousands of people are coming into the Irish Hills area for a weekend of racing fun and organizers at MIS hope to offer more than just cars going around a track.
As NASCAR drivers practiced zipping around the track Friday morning, they were keeping up a summer tradition that’s been going strong for decades.
“We’re super excited to get this going,” said Rick Brenner, track president of MIS.
This is Brenner’s first race weekend as track president.
“It’s just nice to see so many people having a good time, interested in the same thing,” Brenner said.
With a new track president also comes new features.
This year, Brenner says they’ve added more entertainment for NASCAR fans and people staying at the campgrounds, along with trips into Jackson and Lenawee counties to see the sights.
“The whole concept that we’re working with is to continue to create layers of reasons for people to want to come out. Whether that’s a trip into town, whether that’s the gorilla show, whether that’s the live concert, it’s all a part of course the pinnacle, which of course is the big races for the weekend,” Brenner said.
Over in the infield campground, a group of friends and family had their very own bar and tribute to veterans.
One of the campers, Carl Swan, says he’s been coming to the speedway for 25 years and he’s noticed the extra effort.
“Oh yeah, 100 percent. They have great concerts for us in the evenings. They’re also more family-oriented then they used to be years ago. You can bring your kids here and be comfortable,” Swan said.
Enjoying the shade of an awning on his camper Friday afternoon, Rodney Lenz from Galesburg, Illinois, has been coming here twice a year for 12 years.
He says the extra features are nice but nothing beats the rush of the race.
“I like the speed so that’s the big thing for me. It’s one of the fastest tracks so I like coming here for that,” Lenz said.
The races continue all weekend, culminating on Sunday with the Firekeepers Casino 400.
Tickets for the events will be available online, over the phone, and at MIS all weekend.
Here’s a link to their website: http://www.mispeedway.com/?homepage=true