Speedway helps celebrate 50 years of NORAD
BROOKLYN, Michigan – The roars of CF-18 and F-16 fighters and NASCAR machines filled the air at Michigan International Speedway last weekend as the speedway and NASCAR helped North American Aerospace Defence Command celebrate its 50th anniversary.
“What a great weekend for NORAD and NASCAR,” said Lt. Gen. Charlie Bouchard, NORAD deputy commander. “To hear the cheers of the fans when the fighters flew over and the personal gratitude from those in attendance was humbling and inspiring.”
NORAD was featured throughout the weekend at the speedway: race fans visited a NORAD information booth; a 45-second NORAD video was played on the Sprint Vision big screens; the NASCAR newsletter included an article on NORAD; the NASCAR website featured NORAD information; a four-minute NORAD video played at the Saturday evening concert; and, just prior to the big race on Sunday, an interview with Lt. Gen. Bouchard was broadcast live on the big screens for more than 150,000 fans. All of this was highlighted by no fewer than six individual flyovers from NORAD fighter jets.
“We have never had flyovers like this before,” said Tony Nagerson, controller of all flight operations for the Michigan International Speedway. “Given that the pilots were treated like rock stars by the fans tells you how much they appreciated those flyovers.”
Speedway officials couldn’t have been happier. “It was an honour to have Lt. Gen Bouchard and the rest of the NORAD crew here at MIS,” said Michigan International Speedway President Roger Curtis. “We were proud to help them celebrate their 50-year anniversary at our speedway, and it is even more special due to the amount of Canadian fans that attend the race here. They have spent 50 years protecting our skies and we applaud their efforts. It’s the least we could do.”