. dixie motor speedway birch run michigan
Where we headed this time?
dixie motor speedway birch run michigan
Venue Physical Address: Dixie Motor Speedway: 10945 Dixie Hwy, Birch Run, Michigan 48415 Ph: 517-624 9778
Got Directions to Dixie Motor Speedway?
From Detroit (around 80miles) take North I-75 to Exit 136 (Birch Run/Frankenmouth). Turn Right, then shortly after turn Left onto Dixie Highway. Track is about a mile along on right. Simply follow Speedway Signs from Interstate
Hotels Accommodations nearby close by Dixie Motor Speedway
> Find 50 Area Birch Run MI Hotels
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Nearest Major Airports to this Speedway:
> FNT - Flint Bishop International Airport
> DTW - Detroit Wayne Metropolitan Airport aka "Metro Aiport"
> (a little ways South West of town. A smaller airport Detroit Wayne County City Airport (DET) also exists within the city limits. )
> Detroit Metro Airport Website (DTW)
> Find: Hotels near FNT & DTW Airports in Michigan
Shop for the cheapest airfare to Detroit Metro Airport DTW and Flint Bishop International (FNT) at my Online Travel store Compare prices of the big hitters in Flights, Hotels & cars, including Travelocity, Expedia and Priceline, and save.
Got a local Birch Run Map?
You'll find an interactive map on the Birch run hotels link above
Weather & Radar: U.S. National Weather Service
Tickets/Schedule - Official Website: dixiemotorspeedway.com
Camping?: There's no official camping, but there is lots of parking that might easily become overnight.
Tourism Info: Birch Run Chamber of Commerce & Frankenmuth Convention Visitors Bureau
Local Attractions: Historic German town Frankenmuth, Birch Run Outlet stores (huge), Bronner's Christmas Store (the biggest in the world & worth a trip on its own.)
Special thanks: Owners / Promotors Mike, Krista & Hanna Kern for their hospitality and warm welcome!
See also More Michigan Short track travel guides
. TRIP REPORT - Dixie Motor Speedway - April 23, 2004
The relatively short drive North from downtown Detroit (about 80 mins) along I-75 was lengthened only slightly by a pile up around Great Lakes Crossing / Pontiac that slowed down traffic while the rubber neckers had their look in but soon I was just outside the city and at Michigan's own "Field of Dreams" in Birch Run. Owned and Promoted by Mike and Krista Kern, the Dixie Motor Speedway was whitewashed and upgraded for the start of the 2004 installment Friday night short track racing season, so popular among local Michiganders.
Upgrades at the track included recently finished new banking on the 1/2 mile extension of the old 3/8's flat track, a new pit / backstraight grandstand, a bitchin' set of lights that made night into day so slickly I didn't even notice, and a fresh boost of enthusiasm from promotor, Mike. "It's about entertaing people," Mike offered, while he watched intently as a wreck put a yellow flag to the feature event. "We are really trying to make a great night for everyone who comes to visit. And we've done so much in the off season to make that possible. To offer healthy, safe, family entertainment for everyone in the region and those who visit from further away." When the wreck caught flames and the driver leapt from his car, Mike watched intently as the volunteer safety team went to work, reaching for his radio and overseeing the operation. "Get the driver away first" he ordered. "Don't let them open the hood! Don't let air get to the fire." A former driver himself before he bought the 50 year old speedway in 1979, Mike knew of the dangers.
And while he was keen to admit that he wished he had "just one more day" to get everything up to the level his obvious perfectionism demanded, I really couldn't find fault in the preparations or with the on track action.
Local drivers were keen to visit the new configuation of the track, too. The banking had only been tried for the last event of 2003 and this was the first chance to try it in earnest. In the pits I met and chatted with Top Notch Racing's Bob Szecsodi, a driver in his 6th year, who was absolutely oozing enthusism to take his #42 modified onto the banks. "It felt so good in warm up!" Bob said, refering to the car. "If it keeps going this good, I'll take it on the road, to Shadybowl, where they say the purses are big, maybe even to IRP (Indianapolis Raceway Park), which in local terms was the "BIG TIME". I told Bob he had a fan in the grandstands and wished him the best of luck for his events.
Little did I know, however, that co-owner Krista, who had originally invited me to visit Dixie as part of my Short Track tour of America under condition that I actually call a race while I was there was true to her invitation and asked me up into the announcer's tower to meet local celebrity race callers, Larry Loynes and Tom Kestenholz, and to call the first heat of modified action! So there I was, biased to start with, and probably the first foreigner in Michigan racing history to call a race.
I did a crappy job, I'm sure, since the moment I mentioned meeting Bob and being impressed with his preparation and passion for the sport, Bob started to get squirrly, started to push harder (setting the lap record for Modifieds at the track - 16.242 seconds), made his way from 4th to 2nd and in the final lunge on the final turn locked wheels with the leader of the race and spun just feet from the finish line, letting 4th place runner, take the flag. I don't think an announcer should be saying stuff like "C'mon Bob!", it's probably outside the realm of caller ethics, but, heck, I had a good time and so did the approximately 3,000 people in attendance as well as the racers on the track. The race, in just 10 laps, proved more thrilling than anything NASCAR had offered up for a few weeks. I'd come to see the high diving act, and, by jingo, I'd seen the high diving act! Sorry Bob.
But then a place is only as good as its history and I was told that Dixie had been first inaugurated in 1948, "as well as we can tell...And there hasn't been a raceless year since!", which I thought impressive. I met with the current mascot of the track, "Dipstick" (see pic) but was told at least 4 different times about the retired mascot, "Gator", who was said to live in a dip in the original configuration of the track's infield. A dip so deep that cars would often disappear from view when misfortune sent them in that direction, and occasionally, after rain, the pit would hold water too, causing a huge fishtail that added insult to disappearance. Gator had to be retired, just a few years ago, young local and life time attendee of the track, Josh Westendorf, told me, "because the suit was so tatty. The gators jaws each pointed in a different direction!" I also learned of one of the track's trational "fan drags", which ended in a demolition derby, when an angy drag loser drove his car at speed into the winner's car after both had wrecked trying to out do each other. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the "test of testosterone" shinanegans, but I remembered overhearing at the driver's meeting earlier that any fighting in the pit would result in the local police being called, and I wondered if there wasn't a connection. The other tradition, and one I'm certainly coming back for, is the school bus figure 8s, which were a little trade mark of the track, with school bus caricatures appearing on the pit wrist bands and Souvenir Program. When I was first shown them in the back lot (pic), I thought they were for bringing local school kids to the track to teach them something about racing!
Turns out I was the one learning something about racing, or re-learning what it was that made me, as a kid, get so good at sneaking into circuits back home, that I eventually offered my services to tracks to find the "holes in their fences", that made me take jobs running errands for race teams just to be near heroes and have access to tips about the good corners to watch the action from. I found, at a modest 1/2 mile banked oval in Birch Run, Michigan, the kind of "grass roots" racing and "down home" racing family hospitality that I'd lost hold of at so called bigger events. Thank you for having me, I certainly enjoyed my visit. I'm sure everyone else who visits during your 2004 season will too!
Godspeed, Cvetko Ostroznik
. More Michigan Speedways / Short Tracks
Dixie Motor Speedway Trip Pics
NOTES: Here I am with Dixie Motor Speedway co-owner / promotor Mike Kern. Thanks to Mike and Krista for their hospitality and a great night's entertainment!
NOTES: With Circuit Mascot, "DipStick". Reminded me of some folks I'd met in Hollywood 3 weeks earlier.
NOTES: No its not cedar savage Karaoke. Here I am with Larry Loynes and Tom Kestenholz (right) in the announcer's tower trying to call my first race. I sucked at it, but it was fun.
NOTES: With local Modified driver Bob Szecsodi from Top Notch Motorsport and Kebs Racing. A true gentleman!
NOTES: Bob's #42 modified machine that provided so many of the thrills during both Modified events.
NOTES: Found these guys selling stuff out of the back of a truck. Mike and Tom Coates from C.C. Motorsports in Omer, MI.
NOTES: Flagman, Clint Marlin, on his roost.
NOTES: More speed
NOTES: Young local and lifetime Dixie Speedway attendee, Josh Westendorf, explains a thing or two about figure 8, racing, the new 1/2 mile banked track, and the legend of the Alligator Swamp and the now retired prior mascot, Gator (before Dipstick, above).
NOTES: Detail: Local Modified Drivers traditions. Note the family picture next to the steering column inside this car.
NOTES: Detail: message says, "Full throttle until you see GOD, then break!"
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MORE SHORT TRACK RACING PICS FROM DIXIE MOTOR SPEEDWAY MI
NOTES: Pro Late Model # 62 driven by Mark Klein waits for is events in the pits.
NOTES: A staple of racing fun at Dixie, the School Bus figure-8 race, these old kiddie haulers wait in the back lot for deeper in the season when they'll provide what I'm told is a fun side show.
NOTES: One of the best dolled up cars in the paddock, #34 Kim Lake's Pro 4.
NOTES: Pit Detail, #11 Pro Late Model driven by Jay Reinbold
NOTES: Pit Detail. A full contingent of modifieds.
NOTES: Detail. Number decals.
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