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BROOKLYN, Mich. (Sept. 18, 2013) - Michigan International Speedway President Roger Curtis has been elected as chairman of the Michigan Travel Commission in recognition for his dedication to growing the tourism industry in the state. His peers on the commission selected Curtis for this top leadership position.

Curtis was originally appointed to the Michigan Travel Commission in 2007 and was reappointed for a second term on the commission by Governor Rick Snyder in 2011. He will serve through 2015.

As one of only 13 individuals selected by the commission, Curtis and his team are tasked with helping to expand tourism business in the state.

"The award-winning Pure Michigan campaign has become more than just a slogan - it has become a powerful brand and rallying cry for our great State," Curtis said. "Though we are proud that MIS is the State's largest welcome center with our two NASCAR race weekends and the new Faster Horses Festival, there is so much more to our amazing state - from the resurging Detroit to the 'west coast' to the beautiful Upper Peninsula. It is going to be an honor to serve as the chair and continue to help spread the word to the world about all that Michigan has to offer."

The Michigan Travel Commission is in charge of promoting tourism in the state of Michigan and implementing the Michigan Tourism Strategic Plan. The plan focuses on two key areas of promoting tourism in Michigan. The first is helping the tourism industry to grow and prosper over the next five years. The second part of the plan describes the eight goals in helping Michigan to prosper.

Curtis is also co-chair of the Promotion, Marketing and Communications subcommittee working to implement the Strategic Plan. He shares this role alongside Barry Owens, general manager of Treetops Resort. The goal of the committee is to discuss strategies to increase tourism through a variety of communication objectives.

The Michigan Travel Commission consists of 13 members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. Members of the committee represent all geographic areas of the state and are all experienced in the travel, tourism and recreation industry or an associated field.

A member of the commission is appointed for a four-year term and cannot serve more than two full terms. The Travel Commission meets four times annually, including the annual meeting.

Curtis, the president of the state's largest welcome center twice a year, has been a large proponent of Pure Michigan, the state's official marketing campaign. Michigan International Speedway biannually hosts guests from around the United States and Canada for two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.

In addition, Michigan International Speedway is the home to numerous events all year long. The Irish Hills backdrop provides a perfect setting for any company looking to host meetings of any size. MIS has welcomed businesses from not just the state of Michigan, but globally.

The 1,400 acres at Michigan International Speedway offers a range of amenities to meet all the needs of businesses and organizations. The newly remodeled Champions Club presented by CP Federal Credit Union offers a unique setting overlooking the frontstretch. Businesses can also use any of the Pit Road suites for meetings or networking functions.

Besides its pair of NASCAR races which annually see about 200,000 people at the racetrack - 60 percent of whom are from outside the state of Michigan - MIS officials have opened its property to new business opportunities.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013 09:52

Get your bid in for the MIS Extreme Bus Makeover

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Michigan International Speedway is once again offering fans an opportunity to win an Extreme Bus Makeover in 2014. Instead of talking about the newly painted buses at the races, it is your turn to be the talk of the weekend.

But hurry, because like the speeds at NASCAR's fastest track, the time to submit your bid is quickly coming to an end. Don't miss your chance to camp at Michigan International Speedway for the races in style. It's time to start submitting your winning bids for the fifth annual Extreme Bus Makeover.

Your race weekend transportation could be the lucky bus that is professionally designed, painted and decaled by the staff at MIS. Bidding concludes on Wednesday, Oct. 30.

The winner will have the option of choosing one of two designs created by the MIS Sign Shop. Delivery of the bus to MIS will occur the week of February 3-7, 2014 and the winner will sign off on the design when the bus is dropped off.

The bus will be painted, decals will be applied and the bus will be revealed to the winner in May, giving the winner plenty of time to get acquainted with their new and improved ride before the 2014 Quicken Loans 400 weekend.

Proceeds for the Extreme Bus Makeover will benefit MIS Cares, Michigan International Speedway's official charity, and the NASCAR Foundation.

MIS currently has 9,000 campsites making it the largest registered campground in the State of Michigan. What better place to show your newly designed bus than in front of your friends during a race.

"It's that time again to makeover the exterior of one lucky fan's bus," track president Roger Curtis said. "This idea has grown into a wonderful charitable event since its introduction in 2009. Everyone at MIS enjoys the event and the greatest reward is seeing the lucky fan's face upon returning their newly repainted bus."

Restrictions and limitations include but are not limited to: the two designs produced only by the MIS staff, no fabrications of the bus and strictly paint and vinyl will be added to the exterior. The winner will be required to execute additional releases by MIS and the NASCAR Foundation.

This marks the fifth year of the Extreme Bus Makeover at MIS. The idea started as a quick decision to do something unique and different for one lucky fan and has blossomed into an annual charitable tradition that will be remembered by winners forever.

Nancy Lantz from Delta, Ohio, submitted the winning bid for the 2013 event. She and her husband Rick have been avid race fans who have come to MIS for 22 years. About eight years ago, the Lantz's decided to ditch their grandstand seats for a spot in the infield. When Curtis originally saw their plain yellow bus, he joked with the Lantz's that it could use a makeover. Lantz soon entered the contest and was amazed when her bus was unveiled.

"We love it," Lantz said with enthusiasm during the unveiling in May. "The guys did an awesome job."

Lantz and three previous winners before her have all made a big difference to MIS Cares and the NASCAR Foundation. Now it's your chance to make a difference.

(DETROIT) -- Marc Trahan, Executive Vice President of Volkswagen Group of America, spoke at the Automotive Press Association Luncheon Tuesday, September 17 at the Detroit Athletic Club. He stated that since 2009, Volkswagen Group of America has doubled sales in the United States. This year, as the organization readies for its next phase of growth, the company is preparing for new products and making significant investments in infrastructure and powertrain. He presented a preview of the company's latest initiatives in innovation, technology, diesel success and strategy and quality practices. Trahan also stated that diesel cars are well received in Europe because diesel is taxed less than gasoline. If diesel fuel was taxed here in the U.S. at the same amount or less than gasoline, the public would be more receptive to buying diesel cars.

SUBMITTED BY G.B.V, G.E.B, R.B. and R.P.M
PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY ROBERT BENKO


Executive Vice President of Volkswagen Group of America, Marc Trahan

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- With the generosity and support of more than 500 donors, the Spirit of America Blood Drive at Michigan International Speedway will again save thousands of lives.

The 424 units can potentially save 1,272 lives. (Each unit can be transfused to up to three people.)

The annual blood drive at the racetrack began as a tribute in 2002 in honor of the victims and heroes of 9-11. Since its inception, the Spirit of America blood drive has collected more than 9,300 pints of blood, positively affecting more than 27,960 lives.

"I can't say enough about the countless efforts of donors, volunteers, sponsors, Michigan Blood and MIS employees and the many others who helped make this event a success," MIS Director of Guest Services and Spirit of America founder Tim Booth said. "A special thanks goes out to the blood donors. This drive wouldn't be possible if it weren't for their generosity."

"It is always inspiring to see people donate blood, but today was unique in the 60 year history of Michigan blood -- because people were donating not just to save a life but also to commemorate on very salmon event in the history of our country," Michigan Blood Vice President of Community Relations Jim Childress said. "It was an honor to walk among them. We are also longer to honored to be part of Michigan International Speedway's commemorative activities today. It is something we hope to be part of for many years come."

Among the numerous participants, one family arrived with three generations of donors. Richard, Jayce and Raymond Kussmaul of Clinton, Mich. joined the donors to honor and remember the victims and heroes of 9-11. Richard, who was once in a bad automobile accident and needed blood has been donating since high school and understands the importance of donating. He feels, "we got what we gave."

Tom Kaade from South Bend, Ind. could not pass up a chance to donate blood for something that meant so much to him. Shortly after the events on 9-11, Kaade and his fellow volunteers from the Jonesville, Mich. snow patrol team traveled to New York City. They spent the next several days volunteering with the Salvation Army in any capacity needed.

"FEMA asked how soon we could be there and we said we were packed and ready to go and drove through the night to get there," Kaade said.

The Spirit of America has evolved into more than just a blood drive. It's an event and a time of reflection - all at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich.

This year, MIS has partnered with Michigan Blood, a nonprofit, community service organization founded in 1955, to host the blood drive and Be the Match® Registry drive.

Those who attempted to donate got the opportunity to travel by MIS tram around the track, through the tunnel to the pits, and into MIS's Home of the Brave, a 4,000-square-foot multi-media exhibit featuring "as it happened videos," Presidential letters, magazines and newspapers, and additional tributes.

Donors were also treated to a lunch by CP Federal Credit Union in the Champions Club overlooking the track.

At the conclusion of the tour, donors got an up-close view of more than 3,000 American flags proudly displayed at Unity Field to honor the victims of 9-11. The flags, each representing victims of the 9-11 attacks, are placed in the speedway's Lot 10 by veterans from local American Legion chapters.

PICTURED: The Spirit of America blood drive returned to Michigan International Speedway on Wednesday as guest were able to donate in remembrance of 9-11. (photo credit: Russ Millett)

Friday, 06 September 2013 15:13

Automotive Press Association Luncheon-Toyota

(DETROIT) -- Despite a number of challenges the past few years, Toyota is solidly back, according to Bob Carter, Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations at Toyota Motor Sales, USA. Following the charge of President Akio Toyoda, the automaker is now developing and designing vehicles with more advanced, modern styling and fun-to-drive quotient. Carter discussed Toyota's recent product success, coming attractions and bright future for the company and the industry at large during the Automotive Press Association Luncheon Thursday, September 5 at the Detroit Athletic Club. He also spoke on the growing importance of Toyota's Michigan-based facilities and workforces.

G. Benko

(DETROIT) -- U.S. auto sales of light vehicles in August 2013 indicated increases by all of the U.S. automotive companies.

GM sold 275,847 with an increase of 14.7% from 2012
Ford sold 220,404 with an increase of 12.0% from 2012
Toyota sold 231,537 with an increase of 22.8% from 2012
Honda sold 166,432 with an increase of 26.7% from 2012
Chrysler sold 165,552 with an increase of 11.5% from 2012
Hyundai sold 66,101 with an increase of 8.2% from 2012
Nissan sold 120,498 with an increase of 8.0% from 2012

The Detroit Big Three had 44% of all car sales in August 2013. Compared total for 2013 with 2012 of total sales through August show an increase of 9.6% more vehicles sold. The prediction for 2013 is an increase for all domestic automakers for a total of 15.4 million vehicles.

G.B.V & J.B.