Memphis International Raceway (MIR), site of this weekend’s International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) Summit World Finals, is the Mid-South’s premiere racing destination for racers and spectators alike. The facility, located minutes from Memphis, Tenn., includes multiple Motorsports venues allowing it to host a wide variety of events.
Drivers and teams from IHRA divisions around North America have qualified for the Oct. 20-22 Summit World Finals through a series of Summit Team Finals events. The Summit SuperSeries is contested at nearly 100 IHRA-sanctioned tracks throughout North America with more than 8,000 racers competing in the program annually. Summit Team Finals main event championship winners, with a valid IHRA membership and an “X” number, are eligible for the Summit SuperSeries World Championship race set for MIR this weekend.
“MIR is a motorsports facility, but we also host large corporate events along with 5K runs and more,” track president Pam Kendrick said. “This Saturday during the IHRA Summit World Finals, we will host an Inflatable 5K that morning. The size of our property allows for us to hold multiple events simultaneously which makes us a desired location for a lot of events.
“With four racing facilities consisting of the championship quarter-mile dragstrip; 1.77-mile road course, .75-mile paved oval and the newly-opened UTV track sitting on just under 400 acres, we can be flexible and host optimum events.”
Prestigious events such as the 63rd Annual World Series of Drag Racing, Original Super Chevy Show, Hot Rod Power Tour, ARCA Series, IHRA Summit World Finals and NASCAR races have taken place at MIR. Previous NASCAR and NHRA notable MIR winners include: John Force, Tony Schumacher, Antron Brown, Larry Dixon, Kenny Bernstein, Brad Keselowski, Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Ron Hornaday, Tim Wilkerson, Allen Johnson, Greg Anderson and many more.
One of the track’s 2017 highlights was NASCAR’s return to the Mid-South region with the NASCAR K&N Series race on June 3. NASCAR and MIR enjoy a storied history dating back to September 1998 when the facility hosted its first NASCAR race. Harrison Burton, son of former NASCAR driver NBC Sports analyst Jeff Burton, was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd as he took the checkered flag earlier this year at MIR.
“The fans here were awesome,” the 16-year-old Burton said. “They were rowdy and had a good time. That was awesome to win in front of these people who have been waiting for NASCAR to be back for so long. To see them rejuvenated by us being back, hats off to the fans in Memphis. It’s one of the coolest atmospheres we’ve been to.”
Red Bull Global Rallycross, another 2017 highlight utilizing a new 1.8-mile course layout at MIR in April to open the 2017 season, was a perfect example of the diversity of Memphis International Raceway. The course featured one of the longest and fastest courses in Red Bull GRC history. The layout was built into MIR’s .75-mile oval starting at the end of the backstretch.
Drivers charged around the banked corners and came up to speed on the front stretch, hitting top speed in front of the main grandstand. Continuing around the oval, drivers took a hard left off of the backstretch into the dirt section, which included multiple turns and the series’ signature 70-foot jump. Returning to pavement, drivers charged up the pit lane towards a complex paved section that included multiple left-right combinations. MIR’s flexibility can be seen innovating its programming or assisting the community – both are significant strengths.
“MIR is one of the top 10 tourist attractions in the state of Tennessee,” Kendrick said. “Our relationship with country and state government as well as local city officials has proven to be a strong support system both ways. We have hosted many events with The Memphis CVB (Convention & Visitor’s Bureau) as well as the City of Millington. The neighboring cities and communities work closely with us as we stimulate economic development in many areas such as hotels and restaurants, but the list goes on. MIR works to promote other attractions in the County to offer alternate experiences while many out of town guests are here for events.”
When it comes to Motorsports, diverse events and community involvement, Memphis International Raceway and its dedicated staff can pretty much do it all.