It’s that time of year again! The International-500 Snowmobile Race will be taking place Saturday, Feb. 1, at the I-500 track in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan! This event attracts the best of the best riders from all over the United States and Canada. The competition is fierce and promises to bring the highest levels of skilled riding from these elite snowmobile racers. Saturday, Feb. 1is race day! Gates open at 8 am and the green flag drops at 10 a.m. Get ready for a day full of heart-pounding and blood racing adrenaline when 38 sleds begin their journey toward fame and glory!
The sound of the sleds beginning their first lap is deafening and exhilarating! Crowds by the hundreds migrate to the track for the special day. There’s even a hospitality tent that will be open for beverages, and it’s a good place to warm up for the duration of the day. Also make sure to check out the vendors and booths throughout the day!
The I-500 is truly an experience to remember. This race of endurance has found a place in the hearts of fans and riders alike. It is basically a holiday in the Upper Peninsula. One trip to the I-500 and you will be a fan for life too. But the I-500 is more than just one fun day in the Soo. There is a whole week dedicated to this event, and the I-500 track plays hosts to many of the activities. Click here for the race week schedule.
The fun begins on Monday, Jan.27, with the Mini-5 Kids Snowmobile Races. That evening the family-friendly activities continue when the general public will actually be able to ice skate the track from 7-9 p.m!
Tuesday kicks off with the start of the qualifying runs which will whittle the competition down to 38 teams. Qualifying runs for the Inaugural Meijer Pro Shootout (formally the Woody’s Challenge) also will begin. This is a special race in that the top “Sweet 16” qualifiers will be eligible to race in the Shootout on Thursday. For some off-track action, check out the Woody’s Inaugural Cornhole Tournament at the Kewadin Casino, just 4 miles east of the track. For more information on how to register your team click here. You can also meet I-500 drivers and get autographs at Meijer from 5-7 p.m.
Wednesday marks Bud Clarke Day at the I-500 Track. Don’t miss when Great Lakes Antique Snowmobile Series (G.L.A.S.S.) 440 Fan Super Stocks and 340 Fan Super Stocks get a feel for the track at. These antique sleds will get a chance to race 15 laps for bragging rights. the qualifying heats for the main event continue as well, shaving the competition down to only the best of the best for the 500-mile race around the ice oval on Saturday.
The International Snowmobile Racing, Inc. Formula III division will get a chance to race around the track Wednesday too with night races scheduled for 8:15 p.m.
Thursday and Friday
Race action is in full swing Thursday evening with the inaugural Meijer Pro Shootout at 7 a.m. The winner of the 15 lap shootout will take home a $1,000 payday.
Thursday also marks the much-anticipated Pub Crawl! The biggest pub crawl in the Eastern Upper Peninsula, it is the perfect opportunity to rub elbows with fellow race fans! The anticipation is palpable on Friday, as the mile-long ice oval gets its final preparations for the big 500-mile race. The Annual Miss I-500 Pageant takes place Friday night at Kewadin Casino.
Do you have a favorite memory from any of the past I-500 race days? Be sure to share them with us on your social media using #ilovethesoo. For the latest Sault Ste. Marie information give us a follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
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