The Schedule’s the Same, but Some Venues are Changing

Indycar’s 2023 schedule features the same venues as 2022, but that doesn’t mean nothing has changed. Three tracks- Road America, Detroit, and Weather tech raceway Laguna Seca- will be different. The Grabd prix of Detroit moves to downtown from Belle Isle, and then other two tracks will be completely repaved.

The new Detroit downtown layout will feature a dual pit lane, with cars pitting on both sides. I’m not sure how this will work out in real time. Teams will need to put some thought into their pit choice, and decisions on when to pit could come down to what cars in neighboring pits are doing.

I will need to see how this track works inre al life. On paper it has too many square corners for my tatse.

Road America Repave

The Road America repave was chronicled by thwe track on social media in a series of videos. We might see slower speeds for a year as the the track gets rubbered in and cures.

This video is fascinating

Weather Tech Raceway Upgrades

Weather Tech Raceway Laguna Seca is investing $10 million in upgrades, including repaving then track and replacing the pedestrian bridge near the start/finish line. Several drivers are not in favor of repaving the track. I’m not sure i like the idea either. How will it change the racing? We will have to wait and see.

I’m glad there will be a new bridge, which will be wider and more up to date. It was always an adventure crossing it. The other upgrades will bring an aging facility more up to date. There were signs of some improvements in September. One improvement took away a great viewing spot, however.

Detroit Unveils Downtown Track

From Indycar:

When the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear returns to its original home on the streets of Downtown Detroit in 2023, the event will connect with the neighborhoods and businesses in the Motor City like never before.

The Grand Prix will celebrate one more action-packed weekend at Belle Isle Park, June 3-5, 2022. Organizers confirmed Nov. 23 that a new era of the Detroit Grand Prix will begin June 2-4, 2023, when the event will bring a dynamic street-festival atmosphere to the Motor City. The new home of the Grand Prix will feature three full days of activities on some of Detroit’s most popular and active Downtown areas, including racing on a new 1.7-mile,10-turn street circuit along Jefferson Avenue, Bates Street, Atwater Street, St. Antoine, Franklin Street and Rivard.

The Grand Prix will provide unprecedented access to attendees with more than half of the event’s footprint along Jefferson Avenue and the Detroit Riverfront open free of charge. Grand Prix visitors will be able to enjoy complimentary access to the main fan activation areas at the event, including Spirit Plaza, Hart Plaza and the Riverwalk. Fans will be welcomed in these key areas that will feature live music, food, games and displays all weekend long, without the purchase of a Grand Prix ticket.

The unique design of the new Downtown Grand Prix layout will have minimal impact on traffic flow in Downtown Detroit as the track will not extend north of Jefferson Avenue. In fact, the transition to the new home of the Grand Prix in 2023 is expected to help boost the local economy, with increased foot traffic from event attendees for Downtown businesses and visitors helping to fill the local hotels, restaurants and bars throughout race weekend.

A recent economic study conducted by the University of Michigan’s Sports Management department with the Center for Sports Venues and Real Estate Development revealed that the transition of the Grand Prix to Downtown Detroit is expected to generate an estimated $77 million in total spending for the region, representing a 20 percent increase from the last Grand Prix economic study conducted in 2017.

“We are very excited to bring the Grand Prix back to Downtown Detroit beginning in 2023,” said Bud Denker, chairman of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear. “Bringing this annual international event back to the streets of Detroit will help our businesses Downtown, will shine a light on our beautiful Riverfront with an inclusive summertime festival, and it will open up new opportunities to engage and connect with our local neighborhoods and communities.”

The Grand Prix’s proposal to return the event to its original home on the streets of Detroit was unanimously approved Nov. 3 by Detroit City Council. Since September, Grand Prix organizers have met with over 1,000 people throughout the city, listening to feedback and ideas on the Downtown relocation from Detroit residents, business leaders, neighborhood groups, city officials and more.

Enthusiasm and energy for the return of the Grand Prix to Downtown Detroit across all these diverse groups has opened up new opportunities for engagement with the event for the future. Grand Prix organizers have already started planning neighborhood activities and events in Detroit that will begin in 2022, including youth art and culture opportunities, spirit competitions, STEM educational initiatives through racing and more.

The Grand Prix will work to create an even deeper level of engagement with Detroit neighborhoods. In the coming months, the event will be working to connect some of its key founding partners to neighborhoods across the city to support specific programming and projects. This community connection will extend throughout the year with unique experiences and engagement opportunities for city residents during Grand Prix weekend.

In addition to its enhanced community outreach, the Grand Prix will continue its local charitable efforts while it transitions to Downtown in 2023. With the help of its partners, the Grand Prix has helped make more than $13.5 million in improvements to its current home on Belle Isle since 2007. More than $5 million in additional funds have been raised for the Belle Isle Conservancy over the last six years through the annual Grand Prixmiere Gala hosted on race weekend.

Grand Prix organizers will continue to host the successful Grand Prixmiere in the future and have pledged to extend its support for Belle Isle and the Belle Isle Conservancy. As part of its continued efforts, the Grand Prix will contribute a portion of the funds raised at the annual charity gala to ensure that the iconic Scott Fountain on Belle Isle will be up and running for the start of race weekend each year and the historic fountain will flow throughout the summer for park visitors to enjoy.

The Grand Prix also plans to contribute to several other Detroit-area charities in 2023 through the funds raised at the Grand Prixmiere. On Tuesday, Denker announced that the first organization that the event will contribute to annually is the Detroit Public Safety Foundation (DPSF). Founded to support the efforts of Detroit’s first responders, the DPSF helps provide programs that make Detroit a safer place to live, work and visit.

“We appreciate all that Detroit’s first responders do every day to help keep our city safe,” Denker said. “We would not be able to bring the Grand Prix back Downtown and host a world-class event in the Motor City without the help of the Detroit Police Department and the Detroit Fire Department, and we feel it’s so important to support everything they do year-round through the important work of the Detroit Public Safety Foundation.”

The Detroit Grand Prix began as a Formula One race on the streets of Motor City in 1982. Formula One raced annually in Detroit from 1982-88. In 1989, the Detroit Grand Prix welcomed Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) as its primary series and the first INDYCAR races were hosted on the Detroit street circuit from 1989-91.

In 1992, the Grand Prix transitioned to Belle Isle with INDYCAR races on the island annually through 2001. After a six-year hiatus, the Grand Prix returned to Belle Isle thanks to the vision of Roger Penske and through the Downtown Detroit Partnership. Following successful events in 2007 and 2008, the Grand Prix paused for a few years due to the national recession and returned in 2012 with support from General Motors and Chevrolet serving as the event’s title sponsor.

The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear was hosted each summer on Belle Isle since 2012, before the global pandemic forced the cancellation of the event in 2020. After returning in 2021, the Grand Prix will celebrate its final event on Belle Isle, June 3-5, 2022, before returning to its home in Downtown Detroit in 2023.

For more information on the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, visit Previous Grand Prix ticketholders can renew their seats for next summer’s event, while all tickets for the 2022 Grand Prix will go on sale in January.

Detroit’s New Track Plan- Hit or Miss?

Photo: Keke Rosberg at the 1983 Detroit Grand Prix

The Detroit Grand Prix’s announcement last week that the 2023 event will be on the streets of downtown instead of Belle Isle caused quite a stir among the Indycar fan base. I don’t have a problem with moving the race venue. I have grown to appreciate Belle Isle. The racing has improved greatly the last few years. I do have a problem with the proposed track. It looks like a modified oval suited for Formula E.

The 1.7 mile track has 10 turns with a 7/10 mile straightaway longer than either straight at Bell Isle. The track at Belle Isle is 2.35 miles long with 14 turns. I would like to see one more curve section. The double sided pits look interesting and could be a factor during the race, but I was hoping for a mor exotic layout.

Racing on the streets of Detroit is not a new concept. Formula 1 raced downtown from 1982-1988. CART had events in the city from 19889-1992, then the race moved to Belle Isle starting in 1993and ending after the 2001 event. Indycar returned to Belle Isle in 2007 and 2008. The race in its current format came back in 2012.

The former downtown circuit was a much more proper track. Perhaps the track below can’t be reproduced because of construction or street alterations, but I hope they can find a way to make the proposed track more interesting. I like the first turn hairpin and chicane just before the finish line.

Promoters have also said that about 50% of the track will have free viewing access. That is great, but how ill the event be profitable? I guess they are counting on huge suite and hospitality revenues.

When I go to the Detroit Grand Prix next year, I will spend some time checking out the proposed layout and hopefully get to drive the proposed track. . It might be better than I think. I assume there will be some more detailed layouts available by then. It is risky to make such a radical change to what has been a successful race, but Roger Penske usually knows what he is doing.

Detroit GP Returns to Downtown in 2023

If you have always wanted to go to a race n Belle Isle, next year is your last chance. The Detroit Grand Prix issued a statement announcing that the Detroit Grand Prix will take place downtown on the streets of Detroit in 2023.

The statement:

I never had the chance to attend a race in downtown Detroit. I am interested to see the layout and how the event plays out. If the organizers are hoping for the same type of buzz that nashville got last summer, I think they may be disappointed.

First, Nashville was a brand new event. Second, Detroit has had a race of some kind for several years. The race isn’t a novelty. I’m not sure a new location is enough to get a significantly bigger crowd. I guess we will have to wait and see.

Detroit GP to Leave Belle Isle?

Discussions began today in Detroit to possibly move the Detroit Grand prix to a downtown street race. Formula 1 first raced on the downtown streets in 1982, and Indycar also raced in the heart of the city until 1991.

Ayrton Senna on his way to victory in the 1986 Detroit Grand Prix. Image from the Detroit Free Press

The proposed circuit doesn’t look that thrilling. It looks more like a gloriifed oval, something Formula E would run on.

A statement from the Detroit Grand Prix:

As the plans for this proposed new circuit come more into focus, I will discuss some of the pros and cons of the move to downtown.

Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Presented by Lear Fast Facts

Race weekend: Friday, June 11 – Sunday, June 13
Track: Raceway at Belle Isle Park, a 2.35-mile, 14-turn temporary street course (clockwise)
Race distance: 70 laps / 164.5 miles (both races)
Media Links: Race 1 Entry List | Race 2 Entry ListDriver Video Quotes
Push-to-pass parameters: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation (for each race)
Firestone tire allotment: Eight sets primary, five sets alternate (weekend). Teams must use one set of primary and alternate tires in each race. One additional set available to teams fielding a rookie driver is available for the first session of the weekend.
Twitter: @DetroitGP @IndyCar, #DetroitGP, #IndyCar
Event website: INDYCAR website: 2019 race winners: Race 1: Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet); Race 2: Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) 2019
NTT P1 Award winners: Race 1: Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda) 1:14.1989, 114.018 mph; Race 2: Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet) 1:14.8607, 113.010 mph.
Qualifying lap record: Takuma Sato, 1:13.6732, 114.831 mph, June 4, 2017
NBC Sports race telecasts: Race 1 Qualifying, 11 a.m. ET Saturday NBCSN (live); Race 2 Qualifying, 9 a.m. Sunday, NBCSN (live); Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Race 1, 2 p.m. ET Saturday, NBC (live); Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Race 2, noon ET Sunday, NBC (live). Leigh Diffey is the play-by-play announcer for NBC’s coverage of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy.
Peacock Premium Live Streaming: All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on Peacock Premium, NBC’s direct-to-consumer livestreaming product.
INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analysts Davey Hamilton and Nick Yeoman. Jake Query and Michael Young are the turn announcers with Ryan Myrehn and Joel Sebastianelli in the pit lane. The Chevrolet Dual in Detroit doubleheader will air live on network affiliates, SiriusXM 205, and the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA. All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practices and qualifying are available on SiriusXM 205, and the INDYCAR Mobile app.
At-track schedule (all times local): Friday, June 11 5 – 6:15 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice #1, Peacock Premium
Saturday, June 12 11 – 11:45 a.m. – Race 1 qualifying for NTT P1 Award (Two rounds of knockout qualifying/10 minutes each), NBCSN, Peacock Premium (live) 1:20 p.m. – Driver introductions 1:58 p.m. – Command to start engines 2:05 p.m. – Chevrolet Dual in Detroit #1 (70 laps/164.5 miles), NBC (live) Sunday, June 13 9:15 – 10 a.m. – Race 2 qualifying for NTT P1 Award (Two rounds of knockout qualifying/10 minutes each), NBCSN, Peacock Premium (live) Noon – Driver introductions 12:43 p.m. – Command to start engines 12:50 p.m. – Chevrolet Dual in Detroit #2 (70 laps/164.5 miles), NBC (live)
Race notes: There have been six different winners in six NTT INDYCAR SERIES races to start the 2021 season. Alex Palou (Barber Motorsports Park), Colton Herta (Streets of St. Petersburg), Scott Dixon (Texas Motor Speedway-1), Pato O’Ward (Texas Motor Speedway-2), Rinus VeeKay (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course-1) and Helio Castroneves (Indianapolis 500) have all won in 2021. The last time there were seven different winners to start the season was 2017. The record for most different winners in a season is 11 in 2000, 2001 and 2014.
There have been eight different winners in the last 10 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races (Colton Herta, Josef Newgarden, Will Power, Alex Palou, Scott Dixon, Pato O’Ward, Rinus VeeKay and Helio Castroneves) The only repeat winners in that stretch are Newgarden (2 wins – Harvest GP-1 and St. Petersburg in 2020) and Herta (2 wins – Mid-Ohio-2 in 2020 and St. Petersburg 2021).
The Chevrolet Dual in Detroit will be the 28th and 29th INDYCAR SERIES races conducted at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park and the 30th and 31st INDYCAR SERIES races held in Detroit. A 2.5-mile street circuit in downtown Detroit hosted CART events from 1989-1991. Scott Dixon has won three times at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park, tied with Helio Castroneves for most wins by an INDYCAR SERIES driver at the track.
 In addition to Dixon, other previous Belle Isle winners entered include Sebastien Bourdais (2015 Race 2 and 2016 Race 1), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2018 Race 2), Josef Newgarden (2019 Race 1), Simon Pagenaud (2013 Race 2), Will Power ( 2014 Race 1 and 2016 Race 2) and Graham Rahal (2017 Race 1 and Race 2).
There have been 17 different pole winners in the previous 25 races. Pole winners entered in this year’s race are Josef Newgarden (2019 Race 2), Alexander Rossi (2019 Race 1 and 2018 Race 2), Graham Rahal (2017 Race 1), Takuma Sato (2014 Race 2, 2017 Race 2), Simon Pagenaud (2016 – Race 1 and Race 2), Will Power (2015 Race 1) and Scott Dixon (2008 and 2012). Four drivers have won the race from the pole: Graham Rahal (2017, Race 1), Scott Dixon (2012), Helio Castroneves (2001) and Robby Gordon (1995). The driver who has gone on to win the championship has won at Detroit five times. Josef Newgarden won Race 1 in 2019, Scott Dixon won Race 1 in 2018, Will Power won Race 2 in 2014, Alex Zanardi won on Belle Isle in 1998, Bobby Rahal won at Belle Isle in 1992 and Emerson Fittipaldi won in downtown Detroit in 1989. Scott Dixon has competed in 18 previous races at Belle Isle, most of any driver. Thirteen drivers entered have led laps at the track (Dixon 127, Graham Rahal 107, Simon Pagenaud 93, Will Power 50, Takuma Sato 44, Sebastien Bourdais 38, Josef Newgarden 33, Ryan Hunter-Reay 20, Santino Ferrucci 20, Alexander Rossi 19, James Hinchcliffe 11, Conor Daly 4 and Marcus Ericsson 2)
Seven drivers will race NTT INDYCAR SERIES cars at the Raceway at Belle Isle for the first time: Romain Grosjean, Jack Harvey, Jimmie Johnson, Dalton Kellett, Scott McLaughlin, Alex Palou and Rinus VeeKay.
Scott Dixon has made 278 consecutive starts heading into the weekend, which is the second-longest streak in INDYCAR SERIES racing. Dixon, the longest-tenured driver for Chip Ganassi Racing, is third on the all-time victory list with 51 wins. Will Power is tied with Al Unser for fifth on the all-time list with 39 wins and Sebastien Bourdais is seventh on the all-time list with 37 wins.

Daly Has Confidence Heading to Belle Isle

Photo by James Black, Indycar

Conor Daly enjoyed his time off from Indycar, but he is ready to head to Detroit for this weekend’s grand prix on Belle Isle. Daly loves this track, and he has had success here, with a second place and he also led laps at the race which follows the Indianapolis 500.

Daly’s Ed Carpenter Racing had a great May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with Rinus VeeKay winning the GMR Grand Prix, placing two cars in the Fast Nine, and Daly leading the most laps in the Indianapolis 500. Team owner Carpenter finished fifth, VeeKay eighth, and Daly 13th after a tire from Graham Rahal’s car damaged the nose of Daly’s car.

Despite losing a chance for the win, Daly remains upbeat and confident as the series heads to the halfway point of the 2021 season this weekend. In a very positive press availability Tuesday, Daly outlined his reason for his optimism.

“It’s one of my favorite tracks, even 2015there in the Arrow machine for Hinch after he had the mix-up with the wall at Indy. That was one of my most fun weekends, still to this day. In the rain, leading the race there up against those guys as a complete and utter rookie. I love the track. Love the race weekend. I think it’s done so well.”Daly believes the team has momentum, not necessarily from just the 500, but from the GMR Grand Prix as well.

“…what I look forward to most is the progress we made at the Indy GP. That’s what I’m most excited about. That is such a short weekend, you get right into oval stuff. We made a lot of progress there. I’m excited to see if we can continue that for another good run at Detroit.”

For the first time in his career, Daly is developing continuity with a team. He thinks that has contributed to his success in 2021.

“I think for years I’ve been talking about creating continuity. I think we see right now what continuity is doing for this whole group, both Rinus and I. We get better. Your goal as a driver is to improve constantly, work with your team to just keep building that pyramid up, keep going.Rinus is doing that. I think I’m doing that. I don’t think we’ve been able to obviously translate to results yet for several things that have been out of our control obviously. But we’re in the fight rather than a lot of the races last year we were nowhere even near the talk of anything. But now we’re putting ourselves up there.”

On the progress ECR has made from 2020 to this season, Daly said,

“Leaps and bounds. Massive, massive amounts of progress. Certainly for me personally because I kind of know, obviously not going to give away everything we’re doing, but I know that Rinus and I drive different cars, very different cars. A lot of the times we just haven’t been able to get what I needed out of it. It’s much easier for Rinus. He’s obviously very, very quick, very, very talented.”

Daly summed up his and the team’s approach for the rest of the season:

“We’re just going to keep going at it every weekend, trying to be the best we can be. I feel really good about myself and my team, yeah. That’s the goal, is to just be happy and be ready to execute every weekend.
I mean, I’ve learned a lot about myself I guess. I think I’ve also tried to do a lot of work on my own brain, which I think has been helpful because a lot of the stuff, when you look at a year going into it, none of this crazy stuff is going to happen, it’s just going to be great, every race is going to be great.All this crazy stuff has happened, and you can’t change your attitude. You have to go into Detroit, It’s going to be great, it’s going to be perfect, we’re going to execute.”

Ferrucci Stays with RLL for Detroit

Santino Ferrucci’s Indycar run continues this weekend as he will again drive the number of 45 Hy-Vee car for Rahal hours Letterman hours Lanigan Racing.

Ferrucci drove the car to a sixth place finish in the Indianapolis area 500 May 30. He has finished in the top seven I have all three of his runs in the past 500.

Hy_Vee appears to be a good increasing its involvement with RLL. We may see Ferrucci later in the year as well.

Ferrucci started 2021 as a part time job Xfinity series driver for the Sam Hunt Racing. It looks as though he is trying to add as many of the Indycar races to his 20 race stock car schedule as. he can.

It’s always good to have another car on the grid and a sponsor increasing its involvement in the series. RLL has been exploring the addition of a third full time in car for some time now.

Rahal, Bourdais Ready to Move on From Indy

TThe Indianapolis 500 didn’t end well for either Graham Rahal or Sébastien Bourdais, but both are ready to move on to focus on the remaining two-thirds of the Indycar season.

Rahal discussed how his race ended in general terms, concluding,

“Everybody accepted what went wrong. Now we’re moving forward. Now we’re focused on Detroit and making the restof this year as best we can.
I think it’s great to turn the page now, move forward to a race that I’ve loved so much.”

Bourdais, like Rahal a two time winner at Detroit, is also eager to return to a place where he has had success.

“There was that dismal weekend at Texas. None of our fault, but that definitely set the tone a little bit for a bit of a moreconservative 500. When you’ve pretty much already wipedout your crash budget in a matter of 24 hours, I think we allfelt very conservative, maybe a little bit too conservative, in quallie trim and everything…just looking forward to the next ones, keep our a relatively new group kind of all working together
and trying to make the best of our situation in a very, very competitive field right now.”

Rahal and Bourdais expressed apprecifationor Roger Penske and his team for torture of the Detroit Grand Prix, one of the races that was canceled due to the pandemic in 2020.

Bourdais : “…we can thank, like Graham was saying, Roger and the entire team on the INDYCAR SERIES side, the Detroit side for putting all the hard work, letting us do ourthing, doing it all together.
on the weekend ahead.”

Rahal: “I want to say thanks to Roger and Bud and the group for keeping their heads down and making Detroit happen thisyear. I know for a while it was looking pretty limited fan-wise and everything else. We’re certainly excited to be back. It’s become a staple on the INDYCAR circuit. We’re excited to get a chance to turn the page from Indy, move on, hopefully have a great weekend.”

Both drivers expressed concern about the physical nature of the bumpy Belle Isle track and the heat that the aeroscreen will generate in the cockpit.

Bourdais talked about the aeroscreen,
“The aeroscreen safety-wise, particularly for the ovals and the superspeedways, just a single biggest investment forsure is concerned as far as safety is concerned. For me for sure on the street courses I sometimes wish the screenwasn’t there because I feel like it’s making things extremely difficult and uncomfortable in the car. I think it’s just onevery tough compromise, right? You just add that big safetypiece on an existing car that really wasn’t designed for anything like this, how you manage the airflow andeverything around.For sure when it gets hot and humid, particularly on streetcourses, the body temperature inside the 120 degree cockpit gets pretty critical. Yeah, it’s never really a fun last10, 15 laps of those races. Doing it twice in a weekend, I think that dehydration level is going to be tough. “

Rahal added,

” I do think it’s going to be an exceptionally physical weekend. It looks hot, upper 80s and sunny. Detroit doesnot have any long straightaways really. I do think it’s goingto be a pretty physical weekend.Aside from everything else, everybody is pretty used to it now. We’re a year into this thing. The aeroscreen has been a great addition, a great addition to the sportsafety-wise. You look at the saves it’s already had in itstime. I think it’s been great.No, I think we’ll just go at it and try to make sure that youget rested up on Saturday night if you have a full day on Saturday because Sunday is going to be another bruiser.”