Pure Michigan’s own Maria Wygnal attended Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway. This was her first NASCAR race experience.
Brian Vickers won Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway (MIS), with Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounding out the top three. Five cars shared the lead late in the 200-lap race. Conserving fuel became an important factor on the 2-mile speedway and it was Vickers who ultimately prevailed after Jimmie Johnson ran out with just over two laps to go.
If you’re looking for somewhere to go with lots of people and plenty of excitement, a NASCAR race is the place for you. Michigan has you covered at (MIS), home to the largest, single-day paid admission sporting event in the state. This past weekend was the second and final race weekend at MIS for 2009. And what a spectacle! I don’t think you can appreciate how fast those cars are moving until you’ve seen them and heard them in person.
Since this was my first NASCAR race, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was everything I had imagined and more. What I discovered is that there are thousands and thousands of racing fans who make the trip to see the race in Michigan, with many of them camping and tailgating near the track, and everyone has a great time.
If you’re new to the sport like me, here are some tips for race day:
- Arrive early to avoid traffic (day parking at MIS is free and there are trams to get you to and from the track)
- There are plenty of concession stands for food and drinks, but you will save money by bringing your own snacks and soft-sided coolers for beverages (check the MIS guest guide for a list of items allowed)
- Bring ear plugs (when the cars go by, they are loud!) and plenty of sunscreen
- If you have the opportunity, tour the Pit before the race – you’ll get a chance to meet crews and drivers and get a behind-the-scenes peek of the Pit area (Pre-Race Pit Passes are available for purchase in advance)
- If you’re up for the excitement, find a spot next to the track when the race starts, or at some point during the race, to feel the cars speed past (you’re not allowed to stand next to the track, but the ushers I encountered were willing to let you stay for a lap or two before they asked you to move on)
Nestled in the Irish Hills of southeast Michigan on 1,400-plus acres, MIS is located in Brooklyn, Mich. About an hour and half from Detroit, the track is near the birthplace of the automobile and there is plenty to see and do in the area for automotive enthusiasts and race fans. Before or after a great day of racing at MIS, find time for a little Michigan adventure. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race returns to MIS in 2010 on June 13 and August 15.