Michigan International Speedway announces new track president
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- International Speedway Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select Market: ISCA; OTC Bulletin Board: ISCB) ("ISC") today announced that it has named Rick Brenner as President of Michigan International Speedway ("MIS") effective Monday, September 19. Brenner accepts the role, making a move from Minor League Baseball (MiLB) to motorsports. "We are proud to announce Rick Brenner as President of Michigan International Speedway ," stated ISC Chief Operating Officer Joie Chitwood. "He is a seasoned sports executive who is well positioned to lead Michigan International Speedway into the future. We welcome him to the ISC family and look forward to the great things he will accomplish within our company." Brenner most recently served as President of DSF Sports and Entertainment for more than 10 years, the company that owns the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. In that role, Brenner managed all facets of the multi-unit business as well as leading the design and construction of the Bowling Green Ballpark. Prior to DSF, Brenner spent six of his 11 years with the Trenton Thunder as Chief Operating Officer and General Manager. Brenner earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Plymouth State University in Plymouth, New Hampshire.
Michigan International Speedway president Roger Curtis leaving
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – August 30, 2016 - International Speedway Corporation today announced that Roger Curtis is leaving his position as President of Michigan International Speedway ("MIS"), effective immediately, to pursue new opportunities. A replacement has not been announced. Joie Chitwood, ISC Chief Operating Officer, will oversee MIS operations in the interim. "We want to thank Roger Curtis for his many years of service with ISC, and the last 10 years, specifically, as the face of Michigan International Speedway ," stated Chitwood. "We wish him much future success."
Goodyear tire test at Michigan postponed
Goodyear officials have postponed this week's two-day tire test scheduled at Michigan International Speedway due to the chance of inclement weather. The test originally was scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. A new date for the test has yet to be determined. Three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams were slated to take part -- the Richard Childress Racing No. 27 Chevrolet with driver Paul Menard, the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford with Danica Patrick and the Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota with driver Martin Truex Jr. MIS, a wide, two-mile oval located in Brooklyn, Michigan , will host the Firekeepers Casino 400 June 18 and the Pure Michigan 400 on August 13. This week's test would have been the second of 2017 for the NASCAR's official tire supplier. Additional tests are scheduled for Indianapolis (April 25-26), Kentucky (May 9-10) and Chicago (June 6-7). A Goodyear tire test scheduled for Atlanta in August is expected to be canceled now that track officials have announced they will delay a repaving project for the 1.54-mile venue.
Hot Lap: Michigan International Speedway
Take a virtual lap around Michigan International Speedway
Michigan gives final sneak peek at proposed '17 aero package
The prospective 2017 aerodynamic rules package for NASCAR's premier series will receive what likely will be its final dress rehearsal this weekend at Michigan International Speedway . NASCAR officials announced the move July 28, one month ahead of Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM). The 400-mile race is expected to be the last step before NASCAR's competition department delivers final, formal aero rules to teams as preparations for next season begin. The rules at the 2-mile track this weekend will be a repeat of what the series competed with earlier this year in a 400-mile event won by Joey Logano . The rules are designed to reduce the over-stabilizing effects of downforce and sideforce with smaller spoilers, fewer cooling fans, and a neutral body alignment that eliminates rear axle offset, or "skew." The Sprint Cup Series began the season with a five-stage process for testing and validating the potential 2017 rules setup. With last month's announcement, there's an unexpected sixth stage, intended to help competition officials accumulate more data and feedback before finalizing the package. Similar incarnations of the package went through testing at Michigan (May 17) and Kentucky Speedway (June 13-14) before being used in race conditions at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 21), Michigan (June 12) and Kentucky (July 9). Competition officials have indicated they do not intend to adjust aero rules for any of the 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs, which begin Sept. 18 at Chicagoland Speedway . The reduction of downforce and other aerodynamic stability has been an evolving philosophy during the last two seasons. The guiding principles behind the trends involve placing more control and input into the drivers' hands, and promoting side-by-side racing by minimizing the advantages of undisturbed, "clean" air for leading cars. Last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway , several drivers mentioned their desire for further testing of the package at more varied tracks before the 2017 rules are decided. Carl Edwards , winner of the series' two most recent Coors Light Pole Awards, still said he was encouraged by the push toward lower downforce, saying, "I think that the less we have, the better." " Michigan is a tough place because even though we're reducing downforce, there is still a lot of it, but it's a very high-speed track so any aero changes, they are magnified there," Edwards added. "Hopefully the track has aged some there. It's a little hotter the second time back and there's a little more rubber down, and hopefully it provides a really good race. "I hope it's a good test of that package. You test it at a new repave like Kentucky and you test it at a really, really fast single-groove track right now like Michigan and it's really hard to gauge where it's at, but I really applaud NASCAR trying and going that direction. I think what you've seen this year with all the great racing and the passing and all that is due in large part to the reduced downforce. If we can keep going that way, it's going to be good." </p>
Michigan rules package adds speed, opportunity
RELATED: Drivers held up in pre-qualifying inspection BROOKLYN, Mich. -- NASCAR officials and Sprint Cup Series drivers will go racing off into the unknown Sunday here at Michigan International Speedway (1 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), equipped with an adjusted aerodynamic rules package and a lot of questions. Few were answered on Friday, the first day teams rolled onto the 2-mile track with a package featuring a smaller rear spoiler as well as changes to the front splitter. Single-car runs dominated the lone practice session, no different than qualifying, which ended the first day's action. Instances of cars running side-by-side and/or nose to tail weren't rare. They were non-existent. With two practices on tap for Saturday, some brave souls may yet emerge. Speed was the topic of conversation on Friday as teams adapted to the changes. "I am really excited about the fact that not only is it really cool to go 220 mph at the end of the straightaway, but then we have to slow down to 180 mph in the corner," Aric Almirola , driver of the No. 43 Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports , said. "For a race car driver, 220 mph is fast and it is fun and honestly not that scary because you have to let off the gas to go in the corner. "What is scary is running 200 mph at the end of the straightaway and 198 at the end of the corner and it really hurts when the right front tire blows out and you hit the wall." The discrepancy in straightaway speed vs. cornering speed is expected to open up passing zones. It creates "opportunity," Almirola said. "You can drive in the corner a little deeper," he said. "You can lift a little sooner. It really opens up the driver's tool box if you will." "It's a nice change of pace," said Brad Keselowski , a Michigan native who is winless in 13 career starts at the speedway . "We are all kind of learning together how that will affect the racing. I don't think anyone will have an answer until they drop the green on Sunday. "That seems to normally be the case here where races are different than practice and qualifying. … It is fun to drive. You enter the corner almost 220 mph and you turn left and the front goes and the back doesn’t always go with it. That is quite a feeling for sure. It is a unique challenge that I think will bring out some of the best racing we have seen in quite some time." NASCAR began tweaking this year's lower downforce aerodynamic package at Kansas, requiring teams to weld rear trailing arms and brackets to limit offset and movement in the rear of the vehicles, decreasing sideforce. Further changes were put into play for this year's non-points Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway . The number of fans used for cooling purposes, which teams had begun using to move air from underneath the car and create downforce, was decreased and the rear toe alignment was reset in a move to limit sideforce. The fan and trailing arm changes will remain in place but the rear toe alignment was only for the non-points event. The latest moves, for this weekend's race Michigan as well as next month's event at Kentucky Speedway (July 9 at 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), consist of the spoiler, deck fin and front splitter changes in addition to those previously announced. RELATED: Tire test to show Kentucky changes, tweaked rules package Two years ago, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars created approximately 3,000 pounds of downforce. Rule changes for '15 reduced that to 2,700 pounds, according to Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR Senior Vice President, Innovation & Racing Development, said Friday. "They're running the '16 rules package at 2,000 (pounds), and the package we're running here in Michigan will be 1,500," Stefanyshyn said of the downforce numbers. "So it's been a journey over three or four years." Those changes have also reduced sideforce by approximately 110 pounds, he said. "Obviously we take the aerodynamic forces off the car, it makes the car a bit more difficult to drive for the drivers, but in taking those aerodynamic devices off, we do clean up the amount of air or turbulence around the cars so the cars should be able to move around each other better and pass. So that's kind of the theory." Combined with a Goodyear tire matched more closely to the lower downforce package, the changes have resulted in closer competition on the track this season. Friday's activities were more about getting acquainted with the new package; how it will impact competition when cars are three- and four-wide, several rows deep, has yet to be answered. "I think it's difficult to visually see the difference, but when you look at the data from the cars, the speed trace is significantly different, the mid‑corner speeds are down a lot, the entry speeds are up a little," Scott Miller, NASCAR's Senior Vice President of Competition, said. "And from some of the driver comments, having to use the brakes pretty hard and maybe even thinking about needing brake cooling and everything at a big track like this is a departure from where we've been before, and we're really hoping that those things actually produce a really, really good race on Sunday."
Hamlin tops chart, spins in final Michigan practice
RELATED: Full practice results " Top 10 consecutive lap averages Denny Hamlin set the pace in final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice Saturday at Michigan International Speedway , but damaged his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota in a spin midway through the session. Hamlin, who qualified third in Friday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying, clocked a lap of 197.878 mph in Saturday's final practice. The session, originally scheduled for 50 minutes, was halted with approximately 27 minutes left because of lightning in the area of the 2-mile track. Hamlin told NBCSN that the car got loose "out of the blue" as he navigated Turn 4. He avoided contact with the wall, but did slight damage when the nose of his car dug into the grass bordering the frontstretch. Hamlin indicated the team did not expect to deploy the reserve car. RELATED: All the cars at Michigan as they'll line up Rookie Chase Elliott was second-fastest at 197.786 mph in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet. He was followed by two Hendrick teammates on the leaderboard -- third-fastest Jimmie Johnson (197.694 mph) and fourth-best Kasey Kahne (197.455 mph). Michigan native Brad Keselowski completed the top five in the final prep for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM). Team Penske teammate Joey Logano , who secured the Coors Light Pole Award in Friday qualifying, was seventh-fastest. Alex Bowman , subbing for Dale Earnhardt Jr . in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet, was 10th-fastest at 196.969 mph. Stewart atop Saturday's early practice Tony Stewart topped the speed chart in Saturday's morning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session at Michigan International Speedway ahead of Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Stewart circled the 2-mile track in his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet with a fast time of 202.122 mph to pace the 55-minute practice session. "Smoke" has one win in the Irish Hills in 33 starts there. Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford, 201.427 mph) and Chase Elliott (No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, 201.196 mph) came in second and third, respectively. Both drivers are in search of their first win in the sport's top series. Kurt Busch (No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, 201.089 mph) and Kyle Larson (No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet, 200.932 mph) completed the top five. Alex Bowman , who will pilot the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for the sidelined Dale Earnhardt Jr . this weekend, placed eighth in practice. All told, 12 drivers crossed the 200 mph mark on their laps Saturday morning. Polesitter Joey Logano placed 16th in the session. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Logano rules in Michigan , lands first win of 2016
RELATED: Full race results " UPDATED: Standings " Chase Grid SHOP: Logano gear BROOKLYN, Mich. -- In the second race that featured NASCAR's new lower-downforce package, Joey Logano lowered the boom -- again. There was one major difference between Logano's victory in Sunday's FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway and his win May 21 in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte. This one counted in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings and punched Logano's ticket into the Chase playoffs. But it remained abundantly clear that Team Penske already has a handle on the aerodynamic configuration the sanctioning body is considering for 2017. Logano -- the Coors Light Pole Award winner -- led 138 of 200 laps at the 2-mile track and dominated a succession of restarts, except for one instance on Lap 117 when race runner-up Chase Elliott grabbed the lead from the driver of the No. 22 Ford. Reasserting his superiority on a Lap 154 restart, Logano held the top spot the rest of the way to win for the first time this season, for the second time at Michigan and for the 15th time in his career. It was the 50th victory for Team Penske since switching to Ford equipment after the 2012 season and the 100th premier-series victory for Roush Yates Engines. RELATED: See all of Logano's wins in the sport's top series The top three finishers boasted the youngest average age for a podium in Sprint Cup Series history -- 23.0. Logano is 26, Elliott 20 and Larson 23. The previous youngest average age for a top three was 24.7 (three times, dating back to 1951 at Charlotte Speedway ). "Everyone did a great job of understanding what this package was going to do," Logano said in Victory Lane. "They put together a great race car for me. It was a lot of fun racing with Chase there at the end ... "Perfect execution. We've been knocking on the door for a win here all season. We got that All-Star win, but it's nice to get that win and lock ourselves into the Chase." Logano had a comfortable lead over Elliott, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year leader, when Denny Hamlin popped his left-rear tire on the frontstretch and careened into the inside wall near the entrance to Turn 1. NASCAR called the ninth caution of the afternoon, setting up the final restart with seven laps left. Logano chose the outside lane, and eventual third-place finisher Kyle Larson tried to push Elliott past Logano into the lead, but to no avail. Logano pulled away, maintained an advantage of nearly one second and won the race by .889 seconds over Elliott, who was chagrined despite a career-best finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Elliott's waterloo actually came at Lap 154, when, as the leader, he missed a shift and allowed Logano to regain the lead. "You can't do dumb stuff and win these races," Elliott said. "Completely my fault. The guys gave me a great car today. This whole NAPA group has been working so hard these past few weeks, and that one was on me. "Like I said, you can't do dumb stuff to win these things and I did today." Asked to elaborate on what he did wrong, Elliott replied, "Putting it in the correct gear would be a good start." Logano's teammate, Brad Keselowski , ran fourth behind Larson, with Kevin Harvick rallying from a 29th-place starting position to finish fifth. Carl Edwards , Tony Stewart , Austin Dillon , Jamie McMurray and Kurt Busch completed the top 10. The seventh-place result for Stewart was his second-best this season. Stewart missed the first eight events of the year after an offseason back injury. RELATED: How does top 10 boost Stewart's Chase hopes? Martin Truex Jr . led 10 laps early but spun to bring out the first yellow flag of the day on Lap 46. Truex's Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota got loose running in close quarters with the No. 15 Chevrolet of Clint Bowyer . After righting his car, Truex recovered to finish 12th. Two former Michigan winners -- Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr . -- were sidelined early. Busch finished last in the 40-car field after the engine in his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota expired in a fiery detonation after completing 52 laps. It marked the fourth straight finish of 30th or worse for the reigning Sprint Cup champion. "There's nothing you can do to change it around," said Busch, a three-time winner this year. "You're not going to go to the luck store and buy any. We had a lot of good fortune go our way at the beginning part of the season I guess. We still had blown tires that hurt us, but we're either top four or we're bottom four. There is no absolute in-between for us." RELATED: Fiery ends to two drivers' days; more top Michigan photos Earnhardt was caught up in a crash that also forced AJ Allmendinger out of the race. Rookie Chris Buescher 's No. 34 Ford slid up into Earnhardt's Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet, sending Earnhardt up into Allmendinger's No. 47 Chevy. Buescher continued after the impact, but both Earnhardt and Allmendinger made substantial contact with the outside wall at Turn 2's exit. "He must have just lost the nose of his car," Earnhardt said of Buescher. "I hate it, but you try to take care of each other out there. We all try to race hard, and I wish he would have taken better care of us. He just lost the car and hit the quarter panel. It happens, though. I'm angry, but I won't be too upset about it later. It's frustrating right now because we had a good car and I was happy with the way the car drove." Notes: Harvick increased his series lead over Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kurt Busch to 30 points. Logano, the 10th driver to win a Cup race this season, jumped three spots to fifth. ... Larson's No. 42 Chevrolet failed the laser inspection station (LIS) after the race. NASCAR is taking the car to its research-and-development center in Concord, N.C., for further evaluation. If penalties are warranted, they will be announced in the coming week. ... The Sprint Cup Series' next race is scheduled June 26 at Sonoma Raceway (3 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). With NASCAR's top division taking the week off, the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series will visit Iowa Speedway this weekend for a national series doubleheader. Contributing: Staff reports
Heads up: Michigan /Road America weekend
Here are the hot topics, trending news and key story lines to get you ready for this weekend's races at Michigan International Speedway and Road America . WEATHER In Brooklyn, Michigan , the forecast shows partly cloudy skies with a 50 percent chance of rain, scattered thunderstorms during the day and a high of 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin – the site of the XFINITY Road America race -- calls for a mix of sunshine and clouds with scattered thunderstorms, a 60 percent chance of rain and a high of 73 degrees Fahrenheit. KEY TIMES Sprint Cup Series: The Sprint Cup Series holds its first practice and Coors Light Pole qualifying session on Friday, beginning at noon and 5:15 p.m. ET, respectively. The race begins at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday on NBCSN/NBC Sports App. XFINITY Series: The XFINITY Series practices twice at Road America on Friday (10 a.m. and noon ET) before qualifying at 6:35 p.m. ET. The race takes place Saturday at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports App. Camping World Truck Series: The Camping World Truck Series has its pair of practices on Friday, beginning at 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. ET. The race gets underway Saturday at 1 p.m. on FS1. CATCH DRIVERS LIVE We stream every driver press conference in the media center at NASCAR.com/presspass . The Michigan press conferences begin Friday with Camping World Truck Series drivers Tyler Reddick (11:30 a.m.) and Cameron Hayley (11:45 a.m.), followed by Sprint Cup Series' Austin Dillon (2 p.m.), Greg Biffle (2:15 p.m.) and Alex Bowman (3:45 p.m.), who is filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr . in the No. 88 Chevorlet. LAST TIME Joey Logano dominated the event, leading 138 of the 200 laps and earning Team Penske 's 50th Sprint Cup career victory and 100th premier series win for Roush Yates Engines. Rookie Chase Elliott contended for the win, passing Logano for the lead briefly at Lap 117, but Logano ultimately took back the top spot for the win, while Elliott finished second. YOU SHOULD KNOW ... • Kyle Busch called Brad Keselowski a "dirty racer" following the pair's collision in Friday night's XFINITY race at Bristol Motor Speedway . The two stayed away from one another in Sunday's Sprint Cup event, but will there be leftover tension in the Irish Hills? • The No. 3 team is eyeing Victory Lane this weekend: After Sunday's rain-delayed race at Bristol, No. 3 crew chief Slugger Labbe said that they've had Michigan -- one of driver Austin Dillon 's favorite tracks -- circled on their team calendar and Dillon is looking to earn his first Sprint Cup win in the Irish Hills. • Pocono winner Chris Buescher launched himself into the top 30 with a top-five finish last weekend at Bristol. To make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , the rookie needs to maintain or improve upon his 30th-place position in the driver standings in the three races before the playoffs begin. • Michigan has produced a different Sprint Cup winner in each of the last five races at the two-mile track. Four of the last six winners have started from the pole position.
Austin Dillon makes gains, tops final Michigan practice
RELATED: Final practice results " Practice 2 results Austin Dillon locked down the fastest lap in final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice Saturday at Michigan International Speedway . Dillon guided the Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet to a session-topping run of 194.301 mph around the 2-mile track. He will start eighth in Sunday's FireKeepers Casino 400 (1 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the 15th of 36 races this year for NASCAR's top division. Home-state driver Brad Keselowski flew to the second-fastest lap in the 55-minute final tune-up, ringing up a 194.013-mph run in the Team Penske No. 2 Ford. Jimmie Johnson (193.851 mph), Trevor Bayne (193.778 mph) and defending race winner Kurt Busch (193.741 mph) rounded out the top five on the speed charts. The session marked the final prep for new aerodynamic rules that further reduce the downforce and sideforce effects of the 2016 aero package. Speeds decreased Saturday on the warmest day of the weekend in the Irish Hills region, significantly down from the 201.630 mph lap that rookie Chase Elliott posted in Friday's first practice. RELATED: Drivers discuss Michigan rules Elliott had a slight brush with the right-rear fender of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet in the latter moments of the final session. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate, scheduled to start 10th in Sunday's 400-miler, was 21st-fastest in final practice. Coors Light Pole Award winner Joey Logano clinched the ninth spot on the leaderboard with a 193.304 mph lap in the Team Penske No. 22 Ford. Edwards edges ahead in early Saturday session Carl Edwards corralled the top spot in Saturday's early NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Michigan International Speedway . Edwards wheeled the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota to a best lap of 197.770 mph on the 2-mile track as preparation continues for Sunday's FireKeepers Casino 400 (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). He'll start 11th in the 400-miler after his effort in Friday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying. Kyle Busch , Edwards' teammate in Gibbs' No. 18 Toyota, established the second-fastest lap in the 55-minute session, securing a lap of 197.737 mph. Pole winner Joey Logano was third-fastest at 197.444 mph in the Team Penske No. 22 Ford. Rookie Ryan Blaney (197.406 mph) and home-state favorite Brad Keselowski (197.395) completed the top five. Kurt Busch , last week's winner at Pocono and the defending winner of Michigan's June race, was 19th-fastest in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevy.
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