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NASCAR Daily News Headlines * April 16, 2009
MIS To Rebuild InfieldMichigan International Speedway officials announced the first phase of a broad master plan that includes a significant redesign of the speedway’s infield. Phase One of the plan, approved by the speedway’s parent company, International Speedway Corporation, includes a more than $17 million reconstruction of the current terrace suites and media center in the track’s infield.
Demolition and construction will begin immediately following the track’s August NASCAR weekend and will be ready for the 2010 season at the track. The two-story design calls for 30 corporate suites that span the second floor of the structure. A number of the suites will include movable walls so areas can expand or decrease based on partners’ needs, building upon MIS’ philosophy to tailor custom packages to each partners’ business goals.
The structure’s first floor is a state-of-the-art media, technology and meeting center. Print, radio and TV journalists, including their photographer counterparts from across all news mediums, will have ample space to work and cover MIS’ popular events. Separate rooms for large press conferences and competitor meetings will also be housed on the first floor, near a new kitchen and press dining area.
“We continue to invest in the overall experience at MIS,” speedway President Roger Curtis said. “There are few companies today investing in their facilities in such a manner. We are exploring ways to create lasting and memorable experiences for our fans, guests, media and sponsors while they are at MIS. We are also investing in the future of auto racing at one of the revered speedways in the country – Michigan International Speedway.”
The suite and media center project was designed by Rossetti Associates. The Southfield, Mich., architecture, planning and design firm has created a host of sporting venues from Ford Field, home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions and the NCAA’s 2009 men’s basketball Final Four, to The Palace of Auburn Hills, home of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons. The company has an impressive portfolio of sporting, residential, commercial and educational projects across the country and around the world including Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. and Sungui Stadium in Incheon, Korea.
Michigan International Speedway is the first auto racing project for the company, which excited the acclaimed team of Michigan-based designers and planners.
“When you think about sporting events, the focus of the project is typically toward the event itself or the playing field,” Rossetti Associate’s Jim Renne, principal in charge of the project, said. “For motorsports, however, the focus is all around you — it’s the pits, it’s the backstretch, it’s the garage, it’s the frontstretch. It’s the 360-degree experience that made this project exciting and unique.”
The scope of Phase One of the project includes modifying pit road and the current fire lane. The speedway’s fueling station in the garage will also be moved. The project is the largest at MIS since the construction of the suite tower in 2005. In that venture, the speedway’s motorsports fan display area was also expanded and paved.
Phase One of the master plan redesign of the infield is just one piece of an ongoing transformation at MIS. In all, MIS will have spent more than $55 million since 2005 on various capital improvement projects from enhanced seating to a new scoreboard and public address system, to better campsites and directional signage — all with the fan in mind.
The speedway also launched a new logo in 2008 to embrace the “NASCAR in a national park” branding the fans have come to love and embody at MIS. Future hopes for the speedway include an eventual Phase Two of an infield renovation to create a fan walk-style entertainment area with fan-accessible garages, along with reconfigured and enhanced infield campsites.
“We will continue to do our part to make sure the fans are a part of every decision we make,” Curtis said. “Race fans are as passionate about their favorite venue as they are about their drivers. We talk to them directly and regularly because we care about what they have to say, and it’s our mission to make sure they know how important their input is to our business.”
Nestled in the lush Irish Hills of Southeastern Michigan, Michigan International Speedway is the Great Escape, a venerable NASCAR national park where fans can get away and enjoy the very best in racing and camaraderie. It’s the love of racing and the thrill of a great time for race fans and drivers alike.
For tickets, camping and pit passes for all MIS events, call the speedway toll free at 800-354-1010 or log onto (MISpeedway.com).
Phoenix Goodyear Tire NotesTeams in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will run the same tire codes at Phoenix this week -- this left-side tire (D-4240) is slightly different than the one run at Phoenix last season -- this year's left-side features a compound change to offer more grip -- this tire set-up came out of a Goodyear tire test at Phoenix in mid-January -- drivers participating in that test were A.J. Allmendinger (Dodge), Joey Logano (Toyota), Jamie McMurray (Ford) and Martin Truex Jr. (Chevrolet) -- teams in these two series will also run this same combination of left- and right-side tires at Richmond in two weeks -- as on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Phoenix.
Ten Set for Induction into West Coast Stock Car Hall of FameThe West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame has announced 10 new members for induction in ceremonies to be held July 3 at Irwindale Speedway in Southern California.
The 2009 class is the sixth in the history of the Hall which inducted its first members in 2002. The Hall, founded in 2001, memorializes significant contributors to the sport’s development and history – including designers, engineers, mechanics, drivers, race track owners, promoters, publicists and members of the motorsports media.
The latest group brings the Hall’s membership to 83. The nomination process began earlier this year followed by a final vote by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors.
Elected in the Historic category (1930 through 1969) are Ben Gregory, brothers Joe and John Fernandez, Bert Letner, Chuck Meekins, Dick Rathman and Art Watts. -- Inductees from the Modern era (1970 to present) are Chuck Bown, Rick Carelli, Doug George and Wayne Spears.
Bown, Portland Ore., won three times in the NASCAR Camping World Series West before moving to the Northeast where he became the champion of the NASCAR North Series. Bown then competed in the NASCAR Busch (now Nationwide) Series winning the 1990 championship and 11 times overall. His father, Dick, was inducted into the Hall in 2003.
Carelli, a Denver, Colo. native, drew acclaim as the “High Plains Drifter” during a successful late model coast-to-coast career. He won the 1991 NASCAR Southwest Tour title and won 21 times in the division. Carelli added the 1993 NASCAR Camping World Series West championship. He won nine NCWSW races. He currently is general manager of Kevin Harvick Inc. which won the 2007 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title with Ron Hornaday Jr.
George, Atwater, Calif., won the 1990 NASCAR Southwest Tour title. He posted nine victories before moving to the NASCAR Camping World Series West where George won six times and the 1995 title. George currently is crew chief for Billy Ballew Motorsports and Kyle Busch in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The team has two victories in 2009.
Gregory, Point Richmond, Calif., whose given name was Gordon Campbell raced under a pseudonym because his California Highway Patrol superiors frowned on his racing activities. He was a consistent winner in the 1950s at many Northern California tracks including the Bay Meadows mile.
The Fernandez brothers operated J&J Signal Service in Oakland, Calif., out of which many of the top drivers of the 1950s – Clyde Palmer, Marvin Panch, Johnny Soares and Lee Petty – competed and won.
Letner, Downey, Calif., whose son Danny was inducted in the Hall’s inaugural class, was one of the 1950s’ top car owners fielding Hudson Hornets for Indianapolis 500 winner Troy Ruttman, Lou Figaro, Bill West and his son.
Meekins, Gardena, Calif., raced for nearly a decade winning five NASCAR Pacific Coast Late Model (now NASCAR Camping World Series West) races and numerous other stock car events. He finished second in the 1956 PCLM points standings.
Rathman, Los Angeles, began his racing career in Southern California’s “roaring roadster” competition of the later 1940s then moved to the Southeast where he became one of the top Hudson Hornet drivers. He won 13 times in NASCAR Strictly Stock (now Sprint Cup) Series between 1952 and 1954.
Spears, who operates a pipe valve manufacturing company in Sylmar, Calif., won a trio of NASCAR Camping World Series West championships – two with Bill Sedgwick and a third with Kevin Harvick. His Spears Manufacturing team also won the 1987 NASCAR Southwest Tour title with Roman Calczyniski. Spears was among the founding team owners of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 1995 winning races with David Starr and Dennis Setzer.
Watts, Portland, Ore., was a top competitor in the Pacific Northwest winning many stock car races before joining NASCAR. His single PCLM win came at the old Portland Speedway.
This year’s Hall of Fame induction dinner will be preceded by a golf tournament at Azusa Greens Country Club beginning at 11 a.m. The Hall is seeking a presenting sponsor for the tournament as well as offering table sponsorships for the prime rib dinner and awards ceremonies.
Additional information can be obtained from Dusty Brandel, 818-842-7005 or 925-552-9887, email@example.com.
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