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President of MIS anticipating another big year in NASCAR

Photo: Alan Ashley/ZumaPress.com

Michigan International Speedway president Roger Curtis hopes that Brad Keselowski, who was born in Michigan, will win a Cup race in his home state.

DETROIT (AP) -- The track president of Michigan International Speedway is issuing a unique challenge to Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski.

The Michigan-born Keselowski has never won a Cup race at MIS, but president Roger Curtis has quite a prize in mind if he finally does.

"I have a deal with him, that when he wins a Cup race, he can design his own trophy, because he wants these really huge, giant trophies like they used to give in NASCAR," Curtis said. "I think he's going to win one of our two races this year."

Curtis was in Detroit on Tuesday, where top NASCAR officials took part in a panel discussion on the new Gen-6 race car, which is making its debut this year. The Sprint Cup season begins at Daytona later this month.

MIS will host races in June and August after an eventful 2012. The track was repaved before last season's races, and in June, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won there for his first Cup victory since 2008.

Keselowski's series championship gave Michigan racing officials another chance to brag.

"We've got a lot of momentum," Curtis said. "The Brad Keselowski story, the speeds that we had at MIS. People love the 200 mph-plus. I think that's still going to be there."

Curtis spoke to The Associated Press briefly after the panel talked for over an hour. NASCAR president Mike Helton and vice president of competition Robin Pemberton took part in the event.

The new cars will include driver names and manufacturer badges on the windshields.

The Gen-6 car was the main focus, but Helton was asked about the possibility of a road course being included in the Chase for the Sprint Cup at some point.

"We were clear at the outset - and time could change this - but we weren't going to adjust the schedule to fit the Chase," Helton said. "The Chase was an element we added at the last 10 races of the year, and when we did that, there weren't any road courses in that part of our season. I'm not sitting here and saying that will never change, but there's nothing any time soon."

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