SBD/June 15, 2011/Facilities

Michigan Int'l Speedway Ready To Unveil Changes For NASCAR Weekend

Fans attending NASCAR races at Michigan Int'l Speedway this weekend "will notice plenty of changes, including a new tower scoreboard in the infield, an expansion of the pedestrian tunnel under the race track at the start/finish line and the removal of three grandstands between turns 3 and 4," according to Mike Pryson of the JACKSON CITIZEN PATRIOT. The improvements are "part of nearly $60 million in upgrades at MIS during the past five years." MIS Dir of Guest Services Tim Booth said that "many of the ideas for recent improvements have come directly from interactions with fans through surveys, a fan advisory board and emails and letters from fans." Booth: "Some of the changes may not be the sexiest things, but as far as enhancing the fan experience in a practical way, they’re big upgrades." Pryson noted the "most visible of the upgrades is the new scoreboard in the infield." The new scoreboard, nearly 155 feet tall, "has replaced the 108-foot-tall infield tower scoreboard that was erected" in '08. It includes a "larger LED area that will be able to display even more track announcements, advertising messages and race information." The removal of some of the grandstands "reflects the drop in ticket demand during the past decade." The move "has reduced the seating capacity of MIS by about 14,000," and the capacity of the grandstand is "now listed by the speedway at 106,000 seats for the 2011 season." This year marks the "first time since 1997 that MIS does not have a seating capacity larger" than the 109,901-seat Michigan Stadium (JACKSON CITIZEN PATRIOT, 6/14).

STOP LIGHT: Kentucky "plans to speed traffic toward the inaugural Sprint Cup race in the state by stopping a half-dozen construction projects along Interstate 71/75 during the weeks around the race." The July 9 Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway is "on the tail end of the high-traffic July 4 holiday travel weekend." Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesperson Nancy Wood said that "nearly all the work being done as part of the $91 million Revive the Drive-NKY project will be halted from June 30-July 12" (AP, 6/12).
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