CIRCUITS: MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
Name: Michigan International Speedway
Take Highway 12 out of Detroit, heading west towards Chicago, and after about an hour you will reach Michigan International Speedway on a 816-acre site in the Irish Hills. The track was built in 1967 by a Detroit property developer called Lawrence LoPatin, who was the first president of American Raceways, Inc. which operated a number of tracks at the time. LoPatin hired Charles Moneypenny - the man who designed the Daytona International Speedway - to create a two-mile D-shaped speedway - with 18-degree banking in the turns - and got Stirling Moss to lay out a road course on the infield and outside the main bowl. The track opened the following year and the first big event was a 250-mile USAC race won by Ronnie Bucknum. NASCAR was also an early visitor and has remained a regular event on the MIS calendar while CanAm and TransAm races were also held. American Raceways went into receivership in 1972 and in mid-1973 Roger Penske acquired the facility and began a renovation program. The road circuits were no longer used and action was concentrated on the oval - which is one of the fastest in use in CART racing. The first 500-mile race was held in 1981 and was won by Pancho Carter.
In the mid-1980s the track acquired a fearsome reputation because of its bumpy nature with even the best drivers being caught out. AJ Foyt broke his arm there in 1981 when he crashed his Coyote Indycar and in 1984 both Chip Ganassi and Derek Daly were injured in major accidents. In 1985 Mario Andretti suffered a broken collarbone when he hit the wall. The following year the track was resurfaced and the number of accidents reduced, although Emerson Fittipaldi would end his racing career after a smash at MIS in the summer of 1996.
The track, which has 125,000 seats hosts a series of major events in the summer months, including CART, NASCAR and IROC events.
Penske sold all his circuits to the France Family's International Speedway Corporation in the summer of 1999.
There was a brief flurry of international interest in MIS when FIA President Max Mosley paid a visit to the track in the autumn of 1992, while looking for a venue for the United States Grand Prix. Mosley looked at the little-known road circuit but concluded that it would be too much work to revive the circuit for Formula 1 cars.