By Christopher Nagy
If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to grip the wheel with steely determination as you soar along the sweeping corners and the long straightaways of the 2-mile track at Michigan International Speedway, you have your chance in early December.
Of course, you’ll be doing it in your own 2007 Dodge Neon or 2003 Ford Windstar, but still …
Michigan International Speedway is giving back to those less fortunate in the state by hosting the 11th annual MIS Cares Charity Track and Toy Drive from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec 7 at the speedway, 12626 U.S. 12 in the village of Brooklyn. During the event, MIS Cares – the charitable arm of Michigan International Speedway – will be accepting donations of a new, unopened toy or bag of nonperishable food for an area food pantry in exchange for taking a lap around the oval in your personal vehicle.
“The MIS Cares Track and Toy Drive is an opportunity to make an impact during this holiday season,” track President Rick Brenner said in a news release. “We continually strive to remember those not as fortunate this time of the year – and with the help of the community, we can make a huge impact.”
All food items will be donated to the Brooklyn Food Pantry in Brooklyn and St. Mary’s of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Adrian. The toys will be donated to the U.S. Marines Toys for Tots in Jackson and Lenawee counties.
Although being afforded the opportunity to take to the track will be a big draw for many, guests who want to stick around a bit longer won’t be spinning their wheels. There will be plenty of other activities and events offered throughout the day, including visits and photos with Santa from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Children also are invited to color a holiday card that will be sent to active military members.
The employees of the speedway and Americrown Corp. will provide support for the event and also make a donation to the four organizations with personal support. Americrown will supply treats and beverages to all the guests during the event.
Michigan International Speedway will begin accepting toy and food donations starting Dec. 2 during regular weekday hours; however, early donation drop-offs won’t allow access to the track due to track activity. Toys for Tots and food pantry collection boxes will be located in the speedway lobby.
All donated toys must be unwrapped and new. Donated food items should be nonperishable. The food banks are also seeking soap products, paper goods, canned fruits and juices.
The MIS Cares Charity Track and Toy Drive is weather dependent. Participants should enter the speedway through the tunnel gate off Brooklyn Highway and follow the signs to the infield entry point. Guests will be directed to follow the signs to enter the racetrack.
The track laps are limited to passenger vehicles only. Motorcycles will not be allowed to take a lap. No passing of other vehicles will be allowed at any time. The driver of the vehicle must be 21 years of age and provide a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance. All participants will need to sign a waiver before driving on the track. Seatbelts and headlights must be on at all times, and the speed around the track will be limited to 25 mph.
For more information, visit mispeedway.com.