I-500:,Owosso Speedway

Owosso & Soo I-500: The Ultimate Cool Racing Combo

By Ric Federau, Contributing Writer

As a reader, you must be a race fan. It seems the title of this article has captured your attention. And that’s exciting. So let’s carry on the article whereby you’re going to learn how an auto race venue sponsors the world’s most prestigious, exciting, toughest, most. grueling snowmobile race. How did that happen? How did it come about? And where are we going from here with this? It’s very unique that an auto race venue would sponsor a professional snowmobile race. But it’s not unique that race fans are race fans and in the racing community it doesn’t matter if it’s automobile, Snowmobile, motocross or any other type of racing. Racing is just racing. So step back, get comfortable. I’m about to tell you how this whole story came about.

I-500:,Owosso Speedway

This whole story started during the COVID period as COVID shut down the I-500 snowmobile race for a year due to the fact that the I-500 did not want to become a super spreader during Covid times. Having to take a year off and not host the race created a lot of frustration for us all. In an effort to recover the board Of directors for the I-500 decided to promote our professional snowmobile race by taking it on the road during the offseason and set up a vendor’s booth to promote the International 500 and the sport of oval ice endurance racing.  A  unique part about this Is the fact that the I-500 track announcer happens to be the track announcer for many auto race venues throughout Michigan as well as other states. So the phone call was made to our track announcer ( Matt Prieur) whereby we discussed the potential to visit race venues throughout Michigan where he is the track announcer and possibly set up a booth to promote the International 500 race and the sport of Oval ice racing. Matt agreed this would be a great idea and collectively we decided to title the summer tour “ The I-500 PURE-MICHIGAN SUMMER TOUR.”   

I-500:,Owosso Speedway

So let the tour begin…… Collectively, we started scheduling auto venues throughout the whole state of Michigan covering the mitten from bottom to top each week from June through September. The Fall season is when auto racing closes its season and snowmobile racing begins. Race fans can go from one racing season right to the next and never miss a corner of racing excitement. What’s really cool about this is that many drivers who race autos at all the auto race venues we visited also race snowmobiles at the I-500.  Race fans who follow auto racing throughout the summer and into the fall can follow their favorite race drivers right into the racing season for snowmobile endurance racing.

I-500:,Owosso Speedway

As you can imagine the “I-500 Pure-Michigan Tour “ plan sounds pretty cool and a logical thing to do for promotion of the I-500, sport of oval ice racing, auto racing and it’s great for race fans as well.  The tour proved to be a success and brought the overall racing community together.  One of the many visits we made during the I-500 Pure-Michigan Summer Tour was to the Owosso Speedway which is located between Owosso, MI and Ovid, MI.  on scenic M-21.  The Owosso Speedway is owned and operated by Mr Rex Wheeler and his staff. While at the Owosso Speedway promoting the International 500 I was given the opportunity to meet Mr. Wheeler whereby I could thank him for allowing the I-500 to promote our event and the sport of snowmobile endurance racing. Throughout our discussion, it was easy to see Mr. Wheeler’s passion for racing and how much he was deeply involved in reconstructing the Owosso Speedway to be one of the most prestigious short track venues in America. His demeanor and enthusiasm for racing in general was obvious and contagious. He’s a good listener and due to his overall love for racing he wanted to learn more about the sport of

I-500:,Owosso Speedway

snowmobile endurance racing.  

With Mr Wheeler’s interest to learn more about the I-500 we decided to meet a few more times whereby we discussed the I-500 and snowmobile endurance racing in detail. His infatuation Is to give race fans the ultimate experience of racing on a year round basis while promoting both venues, meaning the International 500 and Owosso Speedway. After many meetings a sponsorship ensued on behalf of the Owosso Speedway and Mr. Wheeler.  Therefore In an attempt to bring race fans the ultimate year round racing experience through both racing seasons we want to promote both sports and both venues. Hence,” Owosso Speedway”  has become the title sponsor of the International 500 snowmobile race.  

I-500:,Owosso Speedway

It’s a combined effort on our behalf to promote both styles of racing in hopes that fans will visit both race venues to enjoy racing at its finest. Racing doesn’t stop when the leaves fall. My recommendation is for you as a race fan, check out the summer schedule for the Owosso Speedway to enjoy the ultimate experience in short track auto racing.  Once the auto racing season comes to a close in the Fall, then it’s time to ramp up and make plans to attend the International 500 snowmobile race hosted at Sault Ste. Marie Michigan the first Saturday in February each year. 

ALL LEFT TURNS FROM HERE …

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