MIS grandstands relocating to Watkins Glen

Published 8:11 pm Wednesday, December 8, 2010

BROOKLYN — Michigan International Speedway continues to be an industry leader with its green efforts in a variety of ways.

This time, the Irish Hills track will recycle three of its general admission grandstands and relocate the steel and aluminum to Watkins Glen International so the nation’s top road course will be able to add permanent grandstand seating for its race weekends.

Although sharing resources among tracks in the International Speedway Corporation family is nothing new, this project is unique in that it will recycle a staggering 300 tons of steel and 105 tons of aluminum that will benefit Watkins Glen for its events. Each grandstand is comprised of approximately 100 tons of steel and 35 tons of aluminum.

“People in the industry and our race fans recognize that we are one of the leaders in green efforts so this recycling of steel to Watkins Glen is something we are more than happy to do,” MIS President Roger Curtis said. “This will give another track within our company, Watkins Glen in this case, permanent seating so the fans of WGI will have an even better experience while they attend races there. In turn, this allows us to continue our green and recycling efforts in a positive manner and use the free space we will have where the grandstands stood for something even better.

“We are looking at alternatives for the space where the three grandstands are and will have something decided in the near future,” Curtis continued.

Over the last few years, MIS has not only spent millions of dollars improving the facility, but has taken a sports leadership role in its green initiatives.

The speedway has worked with partner Coke on a recycling program for its race weekends over the past two years collecting thousands of pounds of aluminum and plastics from cans and bottles. MIS recycles materials such as cardboard, paper, glass, plastic, aluminum, construction waste, electronic waste, batteries and motor oil, which occurs year-round.

Additionally, MIS formed a partnership with NASCAR to plant trees on track property to help offset the carbons produced during the June 2009 event weekend.

The speedway has also worked with Carfax and The Conservation Fund’s Go Zero program to zero out the CO2 emissions that resulted from the facility’s energy use during the previous four August race weekends.

MIS has also reduced waste by switching from printed hardcopies to electronic versions of documents such as track media guides, holiday cards and calendars. Additionally, the new Pit Road Suites and Media Center, which opened in June 2010, has a 20 kW photovoltaic (solar panels) system, which offsets energy costs for the building used year-round.

MIS earned its Green Venues Michigan Leader Certification by the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth (DELEG), which was announced in December 2009, for its ongoing conservation efforts.

At the time, MIS was just one of four venues to earn certification by DELEG, joining the Detroit Institute of Arts, Grand Valley State University and the Cedar Creek Institute of Hastings, Mich.

“All of these initiatives are great, but we want to continue to do more things in the future to raise our profile when it comes to green efforts,” Curtis said. “We don’t want to rest on our laurels. Like this steel project with Watkins Glen, we will keep moving forward with these and other green efforts in a positive manner. It’s the right thing to do — our fans know it, our corporate partners know it, and we know it.”

The steel will begin making its way to WGI once disassembled by crews at MIS in early 2011. All the seats should be up in time for WGI’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Aug. 14, which is one week prior to MIS’ race weekend on Aug. 21.