From Tailgate to Trackside: NASCAR Gets Manky in Michigan

Kara MartinSenior Analyst IAugust 15, 2009

Looking to rock 'n' roll all night and party every day? Then Michigan International Speedway is the place for you!

Located just 67 miles southwest of Detroit Rock City, it’s time to get a little Irish in the hills of Brooklyn.

Michigan, “the birthplace of the automobile,” celebrates its 41st year of great racing by hosting this week’s Carfax 400.

MIS opened its grandstands, overlooking the two mile D-shaped oval, to 12,000 eager race fans in 1968. As racing in all forms grew, so did the speedway.

Today the track holds 132,000 seats and plays host to the state’s largest, single-day paid-admission sporting event.

In 1973, when the nation’s oil crisis and climbing gas prices threatened racing as a whole, Roger Penske purchased the track on the steps of the Lenawee County courthouse for a estimated two million dollars.

Penske envisioned turning the speedway into one of America’s premier motorsport arenas by adding more than 100,000 seats, three garages, 26 pit terrace suites, a sign shop, concessions, an infield hospital, entertainment facilities, and countless new buildings and warehouses.

In 1999, Penske’s reign came to an end as Penske Motorsports, Inc. merged with NASCAR's founder, Bill France’s International Speedway Corporation.

MIS is still considered one of the Nation’s premeire tracks to this very day.

Class dismissed, it’s time to get a little manky in Michigan!

MIS offers some of the best camping money can buy. For the swankiest of fans, you can reserve a spot in the private Pit Road Motorcoach RV Campground for a mere $2100 per couple and an additional $250 per additional person.

This exclusive area is home to only the finest of Class A motorhomes.

The grounds feature:

  • Water and 50-amp electrical hook-up
  • Portable restrooms
  • Access to dump station and fresh water
  • Private camping area
  • Special enter/exit privileges

"Regular Joe" infield overnight camping is extremely limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis, and costs between $150 and $200 per vehicle.

A weekend pass will set you back $100, and $40 gets you general admission Sunday afternoon walk-ups.

Set up camp as early as 4 p.m. on Thursday afternoon and stay through until noon on Monday morning.

Infield amenities include showers, restrooms, dump stations, fresh water, and Buddy’s Convenience Store.

Strapped for cash or don’t fancy yourself a full weekend warrior? That’s okay. MIS welcomes all forms of free tailgating from the exterior lots that surround the track.

What the fans be grillin?

Despite its name, “The Coney Dog” is a quintessential Detroit delicacy. Recreate the historic hot dog at the track by smothering it with beanless chili, raw onions, and yellow mustard.

If pizza is more your thing, then pick up a few pies on your way to the track. Served up square, and paired nicely with an antipesto salad, Detroit’s version on the deep dish boasts a crispy crunchy crust piled high with your favorite toppings.

We are headed to the Irish hills, so what could be better than a good Guinness Stout to complement your meal? Pack a few bottles of Bailey’s Irish Cream and Jameson’s Irish whiskey and you’ll be getting a little Irish in no time.

Since fans will leave the driving to the professionals on race day, kick up your tailgating experience by replacing your favorite light beer with “Irish Car Bombs” in an Erin Go Bragh round of beer pong.

Pour a ½ pint of chilled Guinness into a cup, fill a shot glass with ½ ounce of whiskey and ½ ounce of irish cream. Drop the shot glass into the Guinness and start chugging!

Pace yourself or you’ll be as useful as a cigarette lighter on a motorbike in no time!

Looking to rev up you race day experience?

Tour the pits to see how racing looks from the inside out. The pit area will be available when admission to the track opens and will close one and one half hours before the start of the race, so get there early to enjoy all of the festivities. Pre-race pit passes can be purchased for $50 at any MIS ticket office.

Wanna see paradise by the dashboard lights? Join fellow fans at the Trackside Club. Located in the Terrace Suites directly above Pit Lane, you’ll be able to see and feel the action on the track, then sit back and enjoy resort-quality food service.

The Trackside Club also provides a rooftop deck that puts you atop of all the action. Purchase an August weekend package for $500.

Each package includes:

  • Trackside Club Admission
  • Pre-Race Pit Pass
  • Continental Breakfast and Catered Lunch
  • Commemorative Event Gift
  • Unlimited Beverages
  • Souvenir Event Program (Sunday only)
  • Roof-Top Viewing Deck
  • Paddock Parking Pass 
  • Pre-Race Driver Introduction 

Access MIS offers includes a new hospitality option for fans and company gatherings at Acceleration, “an inclusive resort at the track.”

Entertain and relax throughout the day and remain one hour after the conclusion of the race.

Each package includes:

  • Hospitality credentials
  • Pre-race pit access
  • Buffet style breakfast and lunch
  • Unlimited Beverages Coke Products
  • Six (6) drink tickets per guest Budwieser products and wine
  • Post-race snack (Sunday only)
  • Entertainment
  • Closed circuit color television
  • Company name displayed on reserved table
  • Souvenir programs
  • Event gifts
  • Special Guest Speakers (June Speakers: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kasey Kahne, Robby Gordon)
  • Complimentary scanner rental 
  • Lot 11 parking pass

Check out these packages and more at

Let the Michigan melee begin and buckle up as we head into Bristol next weekend.


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