06 Jun Michigan International Speedway – A History of the D-Shaped Track
NASCAR drivers and fans are gearing up for this weekend’s race at the Michigan International Speedway (MIS). Located less than 70 miles from the 5-hour ENERGY® headquarters in Farmington Hills, MI this track is found amongst the Irish Hills of Southeastern Michigan. Its wide, sweeping corners and lengthy straightaways makes this speedway one of NASCAR’s fastest racing tracks with qualifying speeds reaching over 190 miles per hour! We’re all looking forward to the upcoming race, so close to 5-hour ENERGY®’s home base, but let’s slow down for a few minutes to take a look at the rich history of this D-shaped track.
Groundbreaking began on September 28, 1967 mainly headed by Detroit area land developer, Lawrence LoPatin. Michigan International Speedway guaranteed racing excitement because of the large, saucer-shaped 18 degree banking. The track’s first NASCAR race proved to be a nail-biter with drivers Cale Yarborough and LeeRoy Yarbrough battling door-to-door for the final laps. In the end, Cale was victorious after LeeRoy spun out just 300 yards from the finish line.
The track continued to host many historic races with legendary NASCAR drivers, including Richard Petty, Mario Andretti, David Pearson, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon and more. These drivers have all celebrated their wins in Victory Circle, but Michigan International Speedway has gone above and beyond by honoring these drivers and past champions in the Walk of Champions area.
Entrepreneur and racer Roger Penske purchased the speedway in 1973, where he decided to update MIS to a premier motorsports facility. Penske more than quadrupled the grandstand seating, from 25,000 to over 125,000, and added several other buildings including three garages, two ticket offices, an administration building, an entertainment shop and more. The track was turned in to the venue Penske imagined it would be, but was purchased by the country’s leader of motorsports entertainment, International Speedway Corp. in 1999.
Now that you know more about Michigan International Speedway’s history, let’s take a quick look at some of the racing records the track holds. Ryan Newman holds the record for the fastest qualifying lap. With an average speed of 193.232 miles per hour, Newman completed one lap in a mere 37.069 seconds on August 19, 2005. Finishing a 400 lap race in two hours, 17 minutes and 56 seconds, Dale Jarrett holds the record for the fastest race on June 13, 1999. Additionally, NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson’s nine wins at the Michigan International Speedway is the record for the most wins.
The speedway’s constant focus on improvement makes it one of the country’s premier racing facilities and the high speeds guarantee on the edge of your seat excitement. Be sure to tune in on Sunday to the Quicken Loans 400 and join the 5-hour ENERGY® Racing team to cheer on our own Clint Bowyer as the team comes home to Michigan!