A new historic tradition has begun at Michigan International Speedway. The Michigan Heritage, an ode to the spirit of the automobile and its importance to the race track, will be awarded to the winning manufacturer of Sunday's Pure Michigan 400.
The trophy, inspired by the iconic Stanley Cup, will recognize the winning manufacturer – Ford, Toyota or Chevrolet – after each NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at MIS.
"NASCAR racing is steeped in tradition," MIS President Roger Curtis said. "And we wanted a trophy that would signify tradition, excellence, manufacturer rivalry and leave a lasting legacy on our community. I'm so proud of what the Michigan Heritage is, but what it will become years and years from now – a true and lasting heritage to MIS and NASCAR's manufacturers."
Each manufacturer and MIS has donated $10,000 that will be given to a youth-related, STEM-related charity in Michigan. The charity will be named at a later date.
The trophy was designed by Fortress Studios artists Steven Kuypers and Steven McShane, both graduates of Detroit's College for Creative Studies. The Michigan Heritage trophy is three feet tall, weighs about 30 pounds and features an original sculpture similar to Greek goddess of victory Nike, also inspiration for classic cars hood ornaments from Cadillac, Rolls-Royce and Packard.
The original bronze artwork sits atop a wooden base similar to architecture of Detroit landmarks such as the Fisher Building and Guardian Building.
Manufacturers are important to MIS. The track annually recognizes NASCAR's manufacturers, asking fans in the grandstands to cheer on their favorite during a fun poll conducted over the PA during pre-race ceremonies.
The Michigan Heritage will be presented after every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan in June and August, starting with Sunday's Pure Michigan 400.
When the trophy was announced in June, Ford Racing's Jamie Allison said: "This race is a date we all circle on our calendars beginning of every season. Every racetrack is important; every win is magnificent. Obviously, (at MIS) you talk about backyards, our hometown. We circle the date. We want to show up and compete and win in front of our friends, our neighbors, our employees, the entire network of people who support our company, whether it's executives, fans, you name it. It's an extra level of pride that comes with being here in your hometown."