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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