RYAN HUNTER-REAY NAMED AS DRIVER OF THE NO. 20 BITNILE.COM CHEVROLET

This didn’t take long. Disappointed Linus Lundqvist wasn’t named.

From Ed Carpenter Racing

NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion Joins Ed Carpenter Racing 
About Ed Carpenter RacingEd Carpenter Racing (ECR) first entered the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in 2012. The Indianapolis-based race team has proven its versatility by collecting eight wins across each type of track the series competes on – street and road courses, short ovals and speedways. ECR is led by IndyCar’s only team owner/driver, Ed Carpenter, three-time pole winner for the Indianapolis 500 (2013, 2014 and 2018). The 2023 season will see the team continue to compete with two full-time entries: the No. 20 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet of Ryan Hunter-Reay and the No. 21 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet, driven by Rinus VeeKay. Carpenter will round out the team’s three-car effort on the ovals, campaigning the No. 33 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet. More information may be found at http://www.edcarpenterracing.com/.

Daly, Carpenter Part Ways

A release from Ed Carpenter Racing:

ED CARPENTER RACING DRIVER UPDATE
ECR, Conor Daly Mutually Agree to End Their Relationship, Effective Immediately
(INDIANAPOLIS) June 7, 2023 – Ed Carpenter Racing announced today that the team and Conor Daly have mutually agreed to end their relationship, effective immediately. The No. 20 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet will continue as a full-time entry in the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. 
Team owner Ed Carpenter stated, “This is the most difficult decision I have made as a team owner because I respect Conor and know what he means to INDYCAR and its fans. Our team has not been performing at the level we are capable of this year, and despite making technical changes and investments in the offseason, 2023 has been extremely challenging. I have put a great deal of consideration into the current state of our team and realize it is my obligation to our employees, partners, and supporters to do whatever is necessary to elevate our team’s competitiveness. We sincerely wish Conor continued success and will cheer him on wherever he goes next.” 
“Although we’ve mutually decided that it’s in our best interests to take different paths, I’d like to thank ECR for the past three and a half seasons,” said Daly. “I’m grateful to everyone who has supported me – past, present and into the future. I look forward to taking on the next opportunities that await, and I want to thank the fans for being with me on this ride.”
The status of the No. 21 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet is unaffected, as well as the ovals-only program of the No. 33 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet. Information regarding the driver of the No. 20 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet for the upcoming event at Road America will be released in due course. 
About Ed Carpenter RacingEd Carpenter Racing (ECR) first entered the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in 2012. The Indianapolis-based race team has proven its versatility by collecting eight wins across each type of track the series competes on – street and road courses, short ovals and speedways. ECR is led by IndyCar’s only team owner/driver, Ed Carpenter, three-time pole winner for the Indianapolis 500 (2013, 2014 and 2018). The 2023 season will see the team continue to compete with two full-time entries: the No. 20 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet and the No. 21 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet, driven by Rinus VeeKay. Carpenter will round out the team’s three-car effort on the ovals, campaigning the No. 33 BITNILE.COM Chevrolet. More information may be found at http://www.edcarpenterracing.com/.

Detroit Wrap Up

Photo: Fireboat salute to the winner

180 degrees. It’s how much most observers turned their thoughts about the Detroit Grand Prix from Friday to Sunday. All new events experience growing pains and discover what changes need to be made. The Grand Prix made adjustments to the track after Friday’s practice, and I think they helped.

I was one of the skeptics. The track layout I saw did not impress me, and when I arrived the entire venue appeared to be shoehorned into a very tight space.

It was an event that grew on me and seemd to grow anidentity as the weekend moved on. Afyter Saturday’s relatively normal qualifications, I had a bit of hope for Sunday. The waved off start and the the first lap crash caused by Callum Ilott dashed those hopes momentarily, but once the gren falg waved again, the race turned out to be decent.

This race has the potential to be another great event. Its goal is to bring peoplke to downtown Detroit. It succeeded in that aspect. I talked to several residents of Detroit, most of whom never went to Belle Isle, but decide to check out the event since it was near where they worked or lived. The test is whether they return next year. People seemed happy that the race returned to the streets.

Fans Came and Stayed

Ususally fans who line fences in the general admission sections along the fence come and go during the race. The area typically looks less dense by the end of the race. Along the fence between three and four, fans lined up and stayed for the entire race.

Fans lined up along the fence between turns 3 and 4.

Tweaks

I am not pals with Bud Denker, so he probablywon’t listen to me, but here are some things I would like to see done differently. While there was lots of signage in the central area around Jefferson Street, directions to turn three were scarce. The track maps were fine, but they were confined to the back end of the rtack.

I understand the geography limits what can be done, but virtually all the concession and merchandise tents were near turn three. The turn three vendors area was huge, but not everyone got there. A few more concessions at the other end of the track would be welcome.

I am not a track engineer, but I tink the runoff areas could be a bit longer and wider. That might have prevented two of the caution periods. Sting Ray Robb had trouble turning his car aroundin one area.

Up on the Roof

I venture to twqo rooftops Saturday and Sunday. The veiws were amazing. It was quite a party going, on, especially at the Center Garage. The roof was quite full.

Fans lined the wall to watch. There were a couple of lounge areas with viewing screens .Concessions not found at ground level were available.

View from Center garage roof. during Indy NXT race

The view was amazing. The roof was the only way to see turns 5 and 6.

I left Detroit with a much better impression of the event than I had when I arrived. Events like this take years to grow. Detroit seemed to grow over just three days. We wil see how well the promoters can sustain it. I’m guessing this is going to be a gem.

Quick Thoughts-Detroit Grand Prix

I was wrong, as were many others. The wreck fest did not happen. The Detroit Grand Prix turned out to be an entertaining race with two on track passes for the lead and late caurions creating some drama toward the end. We laso a battle between teammates. Some storylines from today.

Palou on a Roll

Alex palou’s resume since May 13:

May 13- Wins the GMR Grand Prix

May 21- Wins pole for the Indianapolis 500

May 28th- Finishes fourth in the 500

June 3- Wins pole for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix

June 4- Wins the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix

Not a bad month’s work at all. Palou now has a 51 point lead over Matcus Ericsson for the championship.

Digital painting by Kyle McInnes

Asked at the winner’s press conference which drivers concern him mostm Palou priceeded to name seven drivers and he said he could name several more. The points chase will tighten up in the next month, and he is aware of it.

The Curious Case of Pato O’Ward

Pato O’Ward continues to confuse me. Great skill, usually good equipment, but he seems to get into hiw=s own head too much. An ill fitting wheel nut on his pit stop set him back, Just a few minutes later, he crashes. Last week we saw him try to gain in a spot on a questionable pass.

I like Pato, and I think he is great for the series, He seems to have what I callan “inner Senna” which takes over at the most inopportune times. I hope he can start being more consistent and star winning races again. The series needs O’Ward victories.

Kirkwood Comeback

The race started as a typical Kirkwood race, as he was involved in an early incident when Callum Ilott ran over the back of Kirkwood’s car in turn three of lap 1. Kirkwood got a new rear wing and worked his way through the field , even leading a lap, His sixth place finish on the box score shows he officially gained six spots from wher he started. he in fact gained 20 spots.

Split Pit Not an Issue

The split pit lane did not cause any issues in today’s race. It was barely noticeable. The modifications Indycar made after Friday’s practice seem to have helped.

What Happened to Crash Fest?

This was not the raqce drivers or a lot of fans expected. Third place finisher Felix Rosenqvist said, “The track came alive.” Rosenqvist said the surface got grippier as the race went on

.Will Power believes nif the second half of the front stretch is repaved there will be more passing next year.

We ended up with an entertaining race.

A Final Thought

I haven’t heard attendance figures for the weekend, but today’s crowd was huge. The grandstands and garage rooftops were packed. Most fans standing along the fence between turns three and four stayed there the entire race.

I hope the level of entusiaqsm and civic pride I saw today can be sustained.

I will have a more detailed wrap up tomorw. Thanks for following along . Special thankd to Kyle McInnes for his outstanding photo work this wekend.

Pagenaud Leads Warmup

Photo: Simon Pagenaud leads Benjamin pedersen and Helio Castroneves through turn 3

Simon Pagenaud Had the fastest lap in the just concluded warmup session for the Chevrolet Grand Prix of Detroit. It was the cleanest full car practice of the weekend. the only red lfag came with less than a minute to go for debris.

Pagenaud’s time of 1:02.3615 beat Callum Ilott by 12 hundredths of a second. Marcus Armstrong, Scott Dixon, and Josef Newgarden complete the top five.

Pole sitter Alex Palou was seventh and Scott McLaughlin, who starts second, was 16th.

I ventured to turn three for the warmup. It is a great spot for viewing. Fans are very colse to the action. The area provides one of the best views of the track. The merchnadise are is located at Hart Plaza. It was the first time this weekend that I actually felt immersed in the race event.

Turn three is also the bs=est photo spot I have found.

Racee Day at Detroit

Today’s schedule:

8 am: Gates Open

10 am: IndyCar Warmup

11 am: TransAM Race

12:45 pm: Command For Indy NXT

12:50 pm: Green flag for IndyNXT Peacock

2:31 pm: Cars to grid

3:09 pm: Invocation

3:10 pm: Canada then USA Anthems

3:14 pm: Drivers to cars 3:23 pm: Command

3:30 pm: Green Flag NBC, Peacock

Good morning from a mnuch cooler Detroit. High today for the race should be around 78 degrees, a nice break from the high 80s and 90 degrees of the past two days..

The warmup should be interesting. No one wants to have a car damaged before the race. Indy NXT showed tha this track can produce a mostly clean, entertaining race. Will Indycar be able to have a race like Indy Nxt had?

The starting lineup:

I haven’t been able to get around the track as much as I had hoped yet, . I have no feel for the attendance. This track layout is very segmented and difficult to get from end to the other.

I will be back after the warmup. Here are some photos from yesterday. The first was taken by Kyle McInnes, qwho has produced outstanding work this weekend. The rest, which pale in comparison, are from the roof of a parking garage.

by Kyle McInnes
Scott McLaughlin
Scott Dixon
Fekix Rosenqvist in turn 9
Left side pits at the start of qualifying

Palou Takes Second Straight Pole

Photo by Kyle McInnes

What an incredible four weeks Alex Palou has had. He won the GMR Grand Prix, followed that the next weekend with the pole for the Indianapolis 500, came back after a pit incident to finish fourth, and today he wins the pole for tomorrow’s Detroit Grand Prix. Palou’s lap of 1:01.8592 beat Scott McLaughlin by three tenths of a second.Palou has now won a polreon each of the types of tracks Indycar runs on- an oval, a road course, and a street course.

Despite he carnage in the two practice sessions, qualifying was relatively clean with just a few light wall types. The only major issues came in the second round when Kyle kirkwood tore left front wheel off his car after hitting the wall. kirkwood will start 121th.

Andretti Autosport, which had won poles in theother two street course to date, only had one Fast Six representative. Romain Grosjean will start third. Colton Herta has struggled so far this weekend and will start 24th.

The Rahal team continues to lag. Graham Rahal will start 27th. Christian Lundgaard admitted the team is just not fast.

Someone to watch tomorrow is Simon Pagenaud. He starts eighth and has looked good every time out the last two days.

Notes

We are nearly halfway thriough the season and Will Power has yet to win a pole.

Chip Ganassi Racing has qualifying figured out. Team Penske is starting to catch up to them.

I never thought I’d miss Belle Isle. The past few years it had turned into a racy track. Will this course take 10 years to create a decent show?

Results

1. (10) Alex Palou, Honda, 01:01.8592 (95.734)
2. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 01:02.1592 (95.271)
3. (28) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 01:02.2896 (95.072)
4. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 01:02.4272 (94.862)
5. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:02.5223 (94.718)
6. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 01:02.6184 (94.573)
7. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:02.1817 (95.237)
8. (60) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 01:02.1860 (95.230)
9. (6) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 01:02.1937 (95.219)
10. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 01:02.2564 (95.123)
11. (11) Marcus Armstrong, Honda, 01:02.2958 (95.063)
12. (27) Kyle Kirkwood, Honda, 01:04.6075 (91.661)
13. (7) Alexander Rossi, Chevrolet, 01:02.5714 (94.644)
14. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 01:02.1911 (95.223)
15. (20) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 01:02.9522 (94.071)
16. (77) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 01:02.2644 (95.111)
17. (29) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 01:03.0017 (93.997)
18. (45) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 01:02.6495 (94.526)
19. (55) Benjamin Pedersen, Chevrolet, 01:03.1599 (93.762)
20. (78) Agustin Canapino, Chevrolet, 01:02.9071 (94.139)
21. (18) David Malukas, Honda, 01:03.2126 (93.684)
22. (14) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 01:02.9589 (94.061)
23. (06) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 01:03.3879 (93.425)
24. (26) Colton Herta, Honda, 01:03.4165 (93.383)
25. (30) Jack Harvey, Honda, 01:03.7728 (92.861)
26. (51) Sting Ray Robb, Honda, 01:03.7496 (92.895)
27. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:03.8663 (92.725)