The last few weekends have been busier than usual for Quicken Loans. First it was the Chevy Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans that took place at Belle Isle the first weekend of June. Last weekend, the Quicken Loans 400 returned to Michigan International Speedway (MIS) for the second straight year.
Both weekends provided memories for fans and Quicken Loans employees who attended the event. While the action on the track was exciting (Mike Conway and Simon Pagenaud were victorious at Belle Isle and Greg Biffle visited Victory Lane at MIS), some QL employees got to experience a couple once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
You may have heard of Scott Bierwirth, the director of mortgage banking at Quicken Loans who won a flag waving competition during the Quicken Loans Grand Prix Street Festival Powered by Chevrolet in Campus Martius and Cadillac Square. The win earned Bierwirth the right to wave the green flag to start Saturday’s portion of the Grand Prix.
Last Friday, a small group of Quicken Loans employees were also lucky enough to show off their flag-waving skills. I’ll get to that in a little bit, though. First, allow me to detail the behind-the-scenes day a group of QL employees got to experience Friday at MIS.
It all started Friday morning with a bus ride out to Brooklyn, MI. Upon arriving at MIS, we headed up to the suite for lunch and to watch one of the practice sessions. After lunch, we made our way down to the garage to get a first-hand glimpse of pit crews working on cars. There was even a meet-and-greet session with Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet. The South Bend, IN native was excited about racing close to his hometown at a track that has historically treated him well.
“I enjoy the area because it’s close to home and it’s great for our manufacturers and obviously it’s great for Quicken Loans,” Newman said. “It’s also nice because it’s one of the few places where the temperature is actually cooler than the week before. We chase the heat all year round but it’s actually not as warm here so that’s nice.”
After earning his second top-5 finish of the season the previous week at the Party at the Poconos 400, Newman thinks he’s got some positive momentum going as the the second half of the season nears.
“It definitely spins some positive momentum for all of Stewart-Haas Racing,” Newman said. “We have to keep going, though, because momentum can stop very quickly.”
Now, back to the part about waving the flag. I, along with four other team members were fortunate enough to get the opportunity to showcase our flag-waving skills during qualifying for the Quicken Loans 400. Talk about an experience. Everyone was nervous about dropping the flag onto the track. While waving a flag might not seem like a difficult task, it’s more than nerve-wracking when the driver is racing around the track at nearly 200 mph.
Luckily for the five of us, nobody dropped the flag. It was an experience that I think we can all say we’ll never forget.
So, to recap: spent all day Friday at MIS. Got to hang out in the garage and suite while also getting time to chat it up with Ryan Newman. To top it off, we got to wave the green and white flags at qualifying.
Not too shabby for a Friday, right?
Did anyone out there make it out to MIS for the Quicken Loans 400? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments below!