In the week leading up to every big race at Michigan International Speedway, track President Roger Curtis always takes time to meet with NASCAR fans, particularly those from out-of-state. It makes sense when you consider their impact.
"Our economic impact is about $320 million a year on the state," said Curtis. "That's because 60 percent of our fans are coming from out of state, so we're the state's largest welcome center twice a year."
Based on those numbers, it's east to see why Pure Michigan originally wanted to jump on board. On Sunday, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation will sponsor its third Pure Michigan 400 races at MIS.
While it's hard to pinpoint the exact impact one race can have on the entire state, Michelle Begnoche says the record travel numbers don't lie.
"Last year, we had over $18 billion spent in Michigan by visitors and about $13.1 billion of that was from leisure travelers, which is the highest amount of leisure travel that we've had," said Begnoche, Spokesperson for Pure Michigan Travel.
Some of that success can certainly be pegged to the annual races because Michigan does so many things well that NASCAR fans tend to like.
"We're a great state for hunting and fishing, for boating, for camping," she said. "We are a great state for car culture."
Even though ticket sales have remained flat in recent years, Curtis says a ten-year high in ticket renewals shows the partnership is working.
"A lot of them are listening and that's again why we're driving this huge economic impact because we've got all these tourists coming back," he said.
Pure Michigan has one more year left on its sponsorship contract for the race.