MIS, the place for ‘Summerfast’ fun
BROOKLYN — The checkered flag dropped on the Quicken Loans 400 and the green flag for the Pure Michigan 400 is still is a month away, but the activity at NASCAR’s fastest track is nearly as quick as the cars on the track.Michigan International Speedway (MIS) is the place for “Summerfast” fun and new events are being added daily. The track hosts the NASCAR Sprint Cup twice every year, but other racers are challenging the facility in new ways.Each year about 385,000 people visit MIS, generating an economic impact of more than $414 million. Nearly 60 percent of the guests on race weekend come from outside Michigan, making MIS the largest state welcome center.“We have pledged to do our part to bring tourism and business to this area — all year long, not just summertime,” speedway President Roger Curtis said. “It’s great to see so many people from our community benefitting from moving our business beyond the traditional NASCAR events. And it’s part of our plan to showcase this racetrack to groups from all ages and all walks of life.”The core business of the speedway remains racing and is the main driver of its annual economic impact. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series makes two stops in the Irish Hills each summer as the best drivers test the high-banked oval.The Faster Horses Festival rides into town from July 18-20 for country concerts featuring some of the top acts in music including superstars Tim McGraw, Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert. The festival is set to be a prime summer event featuring two stages, nine campgrounds, late night jam sessions, food trucks, water slides and more to highlight the unique summer lifestyle experience in the area.Make a Wish hosts its annual Wish-A-Mile Bike Tour on July 24-27, a 300-mile ride through the state of Michigan ending at MIS. A special 50-mile ride through the sprawling Irish Hills is July 27.The second NASCAR weekend is August 15-17 and is highlighted by the Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday. Bandit Chippers Pole Day starts the weekend as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifies. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races on Saturday in the Careers for Veterans 200 presented by The Cooper Standard Foundation and Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation. The CHUMP Car Series tests the skills of its drivers at MIS just one week later from August 22-24.The month of August will see numerous competitors of all ages descend on MIS. It all gets started with an event just for children on Saturday, August 23. New in 2014 is the Art Moehn Chevrolet Childrenz Challenge presented by AOS, RW Mercer and Kelly Express Marts, an obstacle course built especially for all children ages 4-13. The course, built for accomplishment, not punishment, ranges in length from 1.5-2 miles depending on the age group. There are over 13 obstacles on each course finishing with a 100-foot slip-n-slide. Enter at www.childrenzchallenge.com.“Having the Childrenz Challenge at a first-class venue such as Michigan International Speedway is an honor for us,” Childrenz Challenge creator Scott Vitale said. “A facility that prides itself on bringing families together as our host site is an ideal situation and we couldn’t be more excited. This event has been established to provide an avenue for kids to push those fears aside and conquer those challenges. We’re going to show kids what greatness they have within themselves.”For the third consecutive year, the Michigan Karting Club invites its drivers to MIS for its championships on September 5-7.MIS continues its annual tradition of the Spirit of America blood drive on Thursday, September 11. The event serves as a special day of activities to honor and remember the victims and heroes of 9-11.Another kind of athlete will be able to test their skill in a muddy 5-7 mile hardcore obstacle course in the Mudderella on Saturday, September 13. The Mudderella event, designed by women, empowers women to own their strength, work together and have fun.Michigan International Speedway has been chosen as the state’s only host venue for Tough Mudder, a hardcore, 12-mile obstacle course designed by British Special Forces to test strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie (www.toughmudder.com).The Tough Mudder event will take place on Saturday and Sunday, September 20-21, at MIS. To register for Tough Mudder Michigan, visit https://toughmudder.com-/events/2014-michigan.The racing season ends with the Michigan High School Athletic Association Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 1.