Dealer group notes: Zeigler off to the races, while AutoNation is going to school

The racecar that will prominently feature the Zeigler Auto Group next weekend at Michigan International Speedway likely will be traveling tremendously faster than the vehicles involved in upcoming teen driver education classes to be hosted by AutoNation.

The two auto groups announced campaigns this week meant to connect with their communities in different ways, but leadership has high hopes for success.

Zeigler Auto Group is an anchor sponsor of Josh Bilicki’s Spire Motorsports Chevrolet which will be the No. 77 Michigan State University/Zeigler Automotive Chevrolet featuring a special Michigan State paint scheme for the NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 on Aug. 7.

Michigan State head men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo and head football coach Mel Tucker will serve as co-grand marshals for the race at Michigan International Speedway

“Zeigler is excited to bring in superstar MSU coaches Mel Tucker and Tom Izzo as grand marshals for our upcoming home race at Michigan International Speedway,” said Zeigler Auto Group president and chief executive officer Aaron Zeigler said in a news release.

“As long-time supporters of MSU, having the Spartans aboard our 77 is a huge honor for us, especially when it will be featured right here at home,” Zeigler continued. “MIS was the first place #TEAMZEIGLER sponsored a NASCAR race car, and we are proud to say that Josh Bilicki was behind the wheel that day, as he will be on August 7.”

Izzo, who just concluded his 27th year, has compiled an impressive list of accomplishments, including the 2000 NCAA National Championship, 10 regular-season Big Ten Championships, six Big Ten Tournament titles, eight Final Four appearances, eight National Coach of the Year awards and a Big Ten-record 24 straight NCAA Tournament appearances.

Izzo said, “A special thank you goes to Aaron Zeigler for showing his Spartan Pride with the Michigan State University/Zeigler Automotive Chevrolet.”

Tucker led the Michigan State football team to their biggest turnaround in school history in 2021, his second season with the team. The Spartans finished 11-2 with a Top 10 ranking and a win in a New Year’s Six Bowl, earning Tucker Big Ten Coach of the Year honors. He also was named a finalist for National Coach of the Year by multiple organizations.

Tucker said, “I’m looking forward to seeing the Michigan State University/Zeigler Automotive Chevrolet car in person and in front of thousands of fans at Michigan International Speedway.”

Bilicki added his perspectives on driving this green and white racecar during the upcoming race.

“My relationship with Zeigler Auto Group began at Michigan International Speedway in 2019,” Bilicki said. “Since then, I’ve enjoyed getting to know their team, many who have become like family to me. Team Zeigler is very competitive and passionate about everything they are involved in, from business to supporting local sports teams. I’m so thankful for the collective support and look forward to carrying the Michigan State University/Zeigler Auto Group colors at their home race next weekend.”

AutoNation driver education program

Meanwhile, drivers not quite with the experience of a NASCAR competitor can get some tutelage from AutoNation

As novice teenage drivers head back to school this year to begin an exciting new chapter in their academic and social lives, particularly with a newly minted independence of a driver’s license, AutoNation announced it will host complimentary one-hour Teen Driver Safety Clinics at AutoNation USA stores nationwide to help promote a safe ride.

“The top risks for new teen drivers range from distractions from their phone to inexperience, speeding, and nighttime driving,” AutoNation executive vice president and chief customer experience officer Marc Cannon said in a news release. “Education is key to helping young new drivers stay safe on the road, which is why we are partnering with local organizations to host clinics around the country that will teach teens safety skills, along with some essential car care tips.

“We are proud to offer this complimentary community service for the first time this year,” Cannon continued.

AutoNation’s Back to School Teen Driver Safety Clinics are one hour and taught by a community expert on the topic. Driver safety curriculum includes a range of topics such as distracted and impaired driving, proper driving positioning, and seatbelt usage, as well as instruction on what to do when pulled over for a traffic violation or when faced with a field sobriety test.

A local AutoNation service associate will also be present at each location to share hands-on car care tips such as jumpstarting a battery, proper tire inflation, changing a flat tire, checking vehicle fluids and safety items to store in a car in case of an emergency.

Students and parents who participate will have opportunities to ask questions and will receive a mini car care kit with essential items to support their safety and car care journey.

Parents and or guardians are encouraged to participate with their teen(s). Registration is required to attend.

To find the nearest AutoNation USA store and register a teen for a complimentary session, visit