The competition has always been fierce in the NASCAR Cup Series - between drivers, teams and even the three manufacturers (OEM) – Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota. When that stage shifts to the OEMs backyard, the stakes become even greater.
Such is the case again this year, when, for just the second time in NASCAR history, NASCAR Cup Series races will be contested at the same track on consecutive days, with Michigan International Speedway (MIS) serving as the site. The NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 will be held on Saturday, August 8 at 4:00 pm (NBCSN), while the Consumers Energy 400 will take place the following day at 4:30 pm (NBCSN). The top-finishing OEM from the weekend Cup Series events will be presented with the Michigan Heritage Trophy, which has been awarded by MIS since 2013. The distance for each race will be 312 miles.
In an effort to bring even greater awareness to the significance of the Heritage Trophy, this year the NASCAR Cup teams will be saluting their respective manufacturers during the course of both races, with each car featuring the decal of their manufacturer in the “contingency space,” which is located on left front-quarter panel of the car. In addition, the hashtag #HeritageTrophy will be included on each car as well.
The Heritage Trophy gives well-deserved bragging rights to the winning manufacturer of the Michigan race weekend. For the 2020 historic doubleheader, an OEM must win one or both NASCAR Cup Series races at Michigan International Speedway. If one OEM sweeps both races, that OEM will be declared the winner of the Heritage Trophy. If different OEMs win on August 8 and 9, then the award will go to the OEM with the most points earned by top 10 finishers of both races.
This year’s salute to the manufacturers is being done in partnership between Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR and the Race Team Alliance, on behalf of its member teams.
“The Michigan Heritage Trophy is one of the more unique and coveted prizes in NASCAR,” said Michigan International Speedway President Rick Brenner. “The competitive spirit at any race, especially at MIS, isn’t just confined to the drivers, and this trophy allows the winning manufacturer to boast about their accomplishment. We are thrilled that the race teams have joined us this year in recognizing the prominence of this trophy to our sport and in the state of Michigan, and look forward to an amazing doubleheader of racing in the Cup Series this weekend.”
“The Race Team Alliance is happy to assist in this salute to the OEMs and bring greater awareness to the historic rivalry associated with the Heritage Trophy,” said Race Team Alliance Executive Director Jonathan Marshall. “What makes this especially exciting is the fact that the OEM Tribute takes place in Michigan – home to the auto capital of the world.”
The race teams fully understand the importance of their respective manufacturer taking the honors for a full year. This is especially true for Michigan native Greg Ives, crew chief for Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro for Hendrick Motorsports. Ives grew up in Bark River, in the Upper Peninsula, and graduated from Michigan Tech University in Houghton.
“We race to win trophies every week, but Irish Hills of MIS pose the battleground for the manufacturers,” Ives said. “Michigan was my first NASCAR track I went to as a kid and with this being my home state track, I look forward to capturing the Michigan Heritage Trophy not only for the 88 Hendrick team, but also for our partner in Chevrolet.”