Courtesy Bill Janitz, Director of Public Relations, Michigan International Speedway
BROOKLYN, Mich. - After four days of Michigan International Speedway's "Drive for Relief," people have been ecstatic about the opportunity to give a donation to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort, as well as taking a few laps around the 2-mile MIS oval.
With hundreds of cars taking part, the event has been a hit with many from all over the region and as far away as Ontario, Canada. People can still take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on Friday, September 16 from 5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Drew Doman, an 11-year-old from Lake Columbia, Mich., took a few laps around MIS with his parents Scott and Susan. Drew went around his local neighborhood and asked for donations for the Drive for Relief. In the end, he brought nearly $250 with him, which he dropped in the donation bin at MIS' start/finish line.
"He worked really hard at collecting money from the neighborhood," said his father Scott. "He went out for two hours during the evening to collect the money and bring it here to MIS."
On Thursday, school buses from Jackson County Western and Hudson public schools took a few laps around the track.
The Hudson School District bus had second grade students from Lincoln Elementary School. Teachers Kathy Smith, Cindy Corner and Beth Reamsnyder brought over 50 second-graders as a reward for their lesson plan of respect, responsibility and safety. All the students saved their loose change and donated it to the Hurricane Relief effort.
In addition, seven large trucks from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) took two laps around the track. All seven trucks came from the Lenawee County Garage in Adrian.
"This is great. I've always wanted to take one of these trucks on the track," said the Manager of the Maintenance Garage Clarence 'Mooch' Timm, who helped put together the MDOT effort. "All of these guys used their vacation time to come out here today. This is for a good cause and I'm excited about it."
Other visitors included Joan Keenman of Livonia, Mich. and Gerald Grossman of Manchester, Mich. Keenman checked out of her senior home in Livonia for the day and drove down to the track.
"I wanted some of the other ladies in the home to come with me, but they weren't up to driving at MIS I guess," she said. "I've been meaning to donate some money to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. I figured, why not give a donation and be able to take a few laps around a tremendous facility like MIS in the process. I wish I could've stayed longer."
Grossman made the 14-mile trek from Manchester to MIS in his 1930 Ford Model-A 2-door coupe he had restored last year.
"I think I pushed it to about 35 miles per hour," he said. "That was so enjoyable. My first trip to MIS was during the first time trials ever hosted here in 1968. I haven't been back since just this last August when I came out to the Onsted Show Car Nationals. I wasn't able to take the car out on the track then, so this was a great opportunity for me to do it now, and give back to the relief effort. Hopefully we can do this again next year."
Even with all the experienced drivers taking laps around the track, a few less experienced teenagers took part in the event. With a white driver's education vehicle, driving instructor Paula Swartz gave her two students, Andrea Anderson of Jackson and Jazzy Parks of Clark Lake, a final driving lesson on the 18-degree banked turns at MIS. Anderson and Parks were taking their final driving lessons before obtaining their licenses in the near future.
"I heard about the event and thought "we should do that," said Swartz. "We called the boss and he said it would be OK."
Both students were very excited after taking a few laps each.
"This was really cool. You felt like the car was going to tip over in the turns," said Anderson. "I was a little nervous."
"This was a perfect ending to our driving class," said Parks. "I wish we could have come out here all the time for driver's education. It was awesome."
Donations for the Hurricane Katrina disaster relief efforts can also be made by visiting, www.racefanshelp.com.