Michigan International Speedway names first 8 members of Youth Fan Advisory Board

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NASCAR knows that youth are its future, where new fans and new drivers will come from. That’s why the sanctioning body has become so proactive in trying to attract more youthful fans.

Borrowing a page from NASCAR’s playbook, Michigan International Speedway is doing the same.

While MIS and several other tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit have fan advisory boards or panels that are made up of adults, MIS is taking things a little further, announcing on Thursday the first eight members of its Youth Fan Advisory Board.

It’s the real deal: track officials will solicit input from the YFAB’s eight teen members from the Midwest and Canada to assist in future planning for the track.

“Engaging and attracting youth is critical for NASCAR, our sport and MIS,” MIS president Roger Curtis said in a statement. “We want to learn what and how to do more for the young race fans who come to our events.

“It is important to us that we maintain an open line of communication with all our guests; guests of all ages, as we strive to make their trip to the track memorable each time. The Youth FAB allows us to talk with youth and gather ideas to improve their fan experience.”

The eight YFAB members are: Daniel Bell, 16 years old, Meadville, Pa.; Katie Browning and Andrew Gillon, both 14 and both from Wyandotte, Mich.,; Kathleen Cassidy, 18, Gulford, Ontario, Canada; Nick Molina, 17, Troy, Mo.; Adam Oelrichs, 14, Sterling, Ill.; Veronica Shoemaker, 16, Livonia, Mich. and Chase Winter, 15, Cass City, Mich.

“I was interested in the Youth Fan Advisory Board just for the fact how much MIS gets involved with fans and how they always give back,” Cassidy said. “I wanted to be part of that and not only make a difference for youth, but fans in general who come to the track.”

Cassidy has been coming to the track for 11 years, with her most memorable moment coming last year.

“My favorite memory was last year when Roger (MIS President Roger Curtis) stopped in our campsite and he gave me a Fan Appreciation gift to follow an MRN (Motor Racing Network) reporter for the Sunday race,” she said. “I got to interview my favorite driver, which is Brad Keselowski.”

Gillon looks forward to making youngsters and teens new fans of MIS.

“The Youth FAB is interesting and it is a good opportunity for kids our age to help MIS out,” he said. “Plus, we can have a fun time with it. I am really looking forward to helping MIS get better as a track and make it better than it already is.”

The Youth Fan Advisory Board is patterned after the track’s adult Fan Advisory Board, which began in 2008.

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F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on NBCSN, NBC Sports App this week

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After five years and 98 Grands Prix broadcast since 2013, NBC Sports Group’s coverage of Formula 1 concludes with the 2017 season finale from Abu Dhabi at the Yas Marina Circuit this week.

The lights come on for the day-into-night Grand Prix of the year as the sun sets on five years of broadcasts, original content and additional digital specific features such as Paddock Pass.

For Abu Dhabi this week, all of the race, qualifying and second free practice will be live on NBCSN with first and third free practice live on the NBC Sports App. The race returns is back in the usual morning a.m. time slots after three mid-day races in Austin, Mexico City and Sao Paulo, and a pair of overnight affairs in Kuala Lumpur and Suzuka. Formula 2 coverage of its season finale from Abu Dhabi also airs both on NBCSN and online.

With this the final race of the season before F1’s winter break, there’s still a handful of things to get sorted even though Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have wrapped their respective championships.

Sebastian Vettel (Brazil) and Max Verstappen (Mexico) have won the last two races, with Hamilton’s most recent win coming at Circuit of the Americas. Will it be any of these three that wrap the year on a high or could any of their teammates – Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo or Valtteri Bottas – upend the script?

Mercedes has won the last three races in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton winning in 2014 and 2016 with Nico Rosberg taking the 2015 crown.

Vettel and Hamilton have three wins apiece in Abu Dhabi, Vettel having taken all of his with Red Bull in 2009, 2010 and 2013, and Hamilton adding a 2011 McLaren triumph to his last two with Mercedes. Raikkonen (2012, Lotus) and Rosberg are the other Abu Dhabi winners, and while both Vettel and Raikkonen have won in Abu Dhabi, Ferrari never has in the first eight races here.

The last place up for grabs in the constructor’s battle is for sixth, with Toro Rosso (53 points), Renault (49) and Haas (47) separated by only six total points. Toro Rosso and Renault got into a nasty war of words in Brazil, and will part ways after the weekend.

Felipe Massa signs off his career in F1 for the second and expected final time at Williams, and with Toro Rosso having confirmed Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley last week, his seat is one of only three left to fill for 2018, and the most attractive.

McLaren and Honda also bring to an end their partnership after three troubled seasons, but on the bright side will look to score points for a third straight race together, which hasn’t happened since the Hungarian, German and Belgian Grands Prix of 2016.

As ever, and perhaps for the final time as a collective unit, Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett will be on the call with Will Buxton reporting from the pits and paddock.

Here’s the F1 schedule, with stream links and TV network if applicable:

  • Practice 1: Friday, Nov. 24, 4 a.m.-5:30 a.m. ET (Streaming)
  • Practice 2: Friday, Nov. 24, 8 a.m.-9:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Practice 3: Saturday, Nov. 25, 5 a.m.-6 a.m. ET (Streaming)
  • Qualifying: Saturday, Nov. 25, 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Pre-Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 7 a.m.-8 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 8 a.m.-10 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Post-Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 10 a.m.-10:55 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Race (Replay): Sunday, Nov. 26, 7 p.m.-9 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • F2 Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 6 a.m.-7 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • F2 Race (Replay): Sunday, Nov. 26, 9 p.m.-10 p.m. ET (NBCSN)