Originally built in 1914, the 1.25 mile long brick and concrete oval was known as the Detroit Race Course. It was converted into a public racetrack in 1954 and eventually became known as Michigan Motor Speedway. During its early years of existence, the track was actually an independent track, but it later became affiliated with the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.
Located in the middle of a wooded section of land, the track is surrounded by tall pine trees and has an elevation change of about 20 feet from one end to the other.
The track’s design is similar to that of a ship; there are three long straightaways, referred to as ‘straights,’ with hairpin turns and a ‘catwalk’ along the top of the grandstands.
Annual motorsport events include the Michigan Hot Rod Race in June, the Duster Dash in September, and the Big Chilli 500 in November. The track also holds summer festivals, including the Grindhouse Gasoline Festival and the Ice Cream Social.
On the other side of the world, there is also the Australian Speed Week, which is considered the biggest sportscar event in the country. In fact, several of the cars that were showcased at the 24 Hours of LeMons also took part in the Australian Speed Week. This could indicate that there is a link between the two events, which might suggest that oval tracks could become a thing of the past.
Attendance figures as of 2015 were:
- 200,000 people per day
- 500,000 people per week
- 1 million people per month
- 2 million people per year
- 4 million people per decade
- 8 million people per century
These are incredible figures and, combined with the success of grassroots motorsport, could imply that traditional oval tracks are experiencing a rebirth.
Located in the state of Michigan, the track is actually quite susceptible to extreme weather conditions. In fact, the name ‘Michigan’ even comes from the Canadian province of the same name, which was named after John W. Macneill, who went on to become the first Canadian-born Prime Minister of Canada. The weather in Michigan can be unpredictable and changeable, with summer temperatures spiking up as high as 115°F (46°C). By comparison, the temperature in the state is usually in the high 70s (80s) Fahrenheit (25–30°C). It rarely rains at all at the track, with the only real wet weather events being spring thunderstorms and the occasional hailstorm.
The grandstands at Michigan Motor Speedway were originally constructed in 1921 and were designed in the shape of a horseshoe. The stands are made of wood, metal, and painted brick and have a capacity of about 26,000. In 2014, a major renovation project was undertaken and the capacity was increased to 41,000. The stands were expanded in 2018 yet further, with the most recent upgrade increasing capacity to 49,000! The capacity of these grandstands is absolutely enormous and is nearly enough space for an entire city block. If you were to stand in the center of the track and look towards each corner, you would be able to see everyone in the grandstands. For a vehicle that is only two meters in length, that is quite the sight!
The renovation of the grandstands was only possible thanks to the generous donations from several companies. In addition to this, private funds were also raised throughout the year to ensure that the project moved as quickly as possible. This included a charity golf match, an auction, and a fund-raising dinner, all of which helped to make the renovation possible.
The track also implemented a standing-room-only policy for the 2019 season, which was put into effect after it was revealed that about 600 people were unable to purchase tickets to the NASCAR race because of its attendance limit. This is quite surprising, as standing room only was previously available for all NASCAR events at the track, but is no longer the case.
Although the capacity of the grandstands has increased, the experience for fans is still quite good. High-quality materials were used throughout the entire project and attention to detail was paid to every aspect of the redesign. This included the sourcing and use of natural oak wood from Denmark, which was used for the flooring, as well as for aspects of the seating.
The Fan Experience.
One of the major factors that contributes to the attractiveness of a motorsport event, especially one of this magnitude, is the fan experience. Thanks to the incredible work of the organizers at Michigan Motor Speedway, as well as the dedication of the fans who attend each year, this factor is taken into consideration to the extent that every aspect of the venue is designed to ensure a better viewing experience.
When travelling to a motorsport event, particularly one of this caliber, it’s important to make sure that you are not putting yourself in any sort of danger. This is why it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the location before you visit, as well as what to bring and what not to bring. In terms of essentials, you will need to have a valid ID with you (for example, a driver’s license), as well as credit card(s) in case you want to purchase anything while you’re there. In addition to this, you will need to make sure that your vehicle is road-worthy and that you have gas in your tank, as there are certain locations that you cannot enter if you’re not traveling there in a reasonably safe vehicle.
The stadium has all of the necessary amenities for the fan to have a good experience, including food courts, merchandising booths, and plenty of parking spaces. In addition to this, the track itself is well-signed and there are clearly delineated lanes for the motorbikes that are permitted in the Grand Prix.
The organizers also do a fantastic job in terms of marketing, with each year’s event being streamed live on social media and billboards around the track being used to advertise the event.
The Attendance at Other Tracks.
Other tracks that have been mentioned previously include:
- Daytona Beach
- Martinsville (Virginia)
- Sonoma (California)
- Havana (Florida)
- Las Vegas
It’s always important to do your research before you visit a new location, particularly one that is a few thousand miles away from home. Fortunately, with the information that we’ve provided above, you should have no trouble finding out everything that you need to know about Michigan Motor Speedway, as well as other tracks around the world.