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UTV blog: Michigan

June 22, 2011, Special to NASCAR.COM, NASCAR.com

At this point in our trip, we have driven 2,820 miles. To put that into perspective, that's like driving from LaGuardia Airport in New York to the Los Angeles International Airport. When driving thousands of miles, it is easy to remember the big cities like New York and Los Angeles. But this week, we remember one of the small places in between -- Brooklyn, Mich.

Regan Smith and Miss Coors Light play some PS3 at the UTV in Michigan.

The Chesney Brothers arrived in Michigan on Tuesday and Brooklyn was a wonderful, shining example of small town America. We saw a local church having a bake sale; we saw high school kids volunteer as crossing guards at a festival; and we met genuinely nice people. There was a small drug store that was not called Walgreens or CVS and did not have an awkward teen as the manager. This is about as close to a modern day Pleasantville as we have ever seen. The town was not built to handle the 100,000 people that descend upon it during race week. So, we had to stay about an hour and fifteen minutes away from the track. Next time you go to Michigan International Speedway, book your hotel early!

Driving in from our Lansing, Mich., hotel, especially on Route 127, we saw dozens of motorhomes, boats, and cars for sale in front yards. It definitely read like an area still reeling from the economic down turn. Either that, or used salesmen were cleverly placing cars along the path they knew NASCAR fans would be driving in on.

Thursday, we were in Brooklyn for Racefest. Racefest was basically a fun block party located in the heart of the small town. It was a great way to kick-start the weekend. It featured several show cars, including the Coors Light show car. There were also celebrity appearances. There was cheap food and games for the kids. We were happy to be part of all of this.

The Ultimate Tailgating Vehicle was the site of fun video shoots this past weekend. Rutledge Wood and Kyle Petty shot their show live from atop the observation deck of the NASCAR.COM Ultimate Tailgating Vehicle. Drivers Regan Smith and Jennifer Jo Cobb stopped by as well. Jennifer and Miss Coors Light used the attached grill to cook dinner for Jennifer's pit crew. The crew was a lot of fun, especially for being folks who had been working their butts off all day. In talking to the group, we learned that some of the crew members were interns who travel along with the team. Not a bad way for a youngster to spend the summer.

2,820 miles in the books, 2,948 to go. Tim and John have already overcome the odds in making it this far and not hating each other. We are looking forward to a strong second half. If you see us at the races, come by and say hi, we might just hook you up with a prize!