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: http://www.DetroitGP.com INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com 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, indycar.com and the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA. All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practices and qualifying are available on SiriusXM 205, indycar.com 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.”

Detroit Post Script and Photos

Just a few leftover notes from Belle Isle:

This was the first time I parked on the island.  I had no idea how large the island is until this year. the track is nestled in one corner but there is a lot more there.  the shuttle bus drove by what was at one time a zoo. It is now a collection of dilapidated buildings and weather worn wooden wooden fencing.  there are baseball and softball diamonds, picnic shelters, and lots of wild areas.  In its heyday, the park must have been a grand place.  The area around the track appears to be undergoing restoration. restoring the entire park will take years.

Parking on the island made me more impressed about what a massive undertaking it is to stage a street race.  The   amount of staffing required  is tremendous, and the logistics are well beyond my capacity to figure out. My hat is off to whoever puts this together.

Now on to some racing stuff.

I learned this weekend that the new aeroscreen will not have a wiper blade to remove moisture from the windshield.  A race like Saturday could be even more difficult when the device is installed. Drivers will not be able to tear off oily or dirty screens.

My friend Eric Smith of Race Review Online made the point that this may be the last year we will be able to watch the drivers work the steering wheel inside the car.  The new screen is really high.  watching the drivers work the steering wheel is one of the things I like about certain tracks.  Turn 1 at St. Pete, for example, is  a great place to see hand action.  This past Saturday was really good for that too.  Thanks, Marco.

It is still difficult to believe we are near the halfway point of the season and Will Power has not won a race. Through Saturday, neither Power nor Scott Dixon had won.  I look for Power to win one of the next two races, either this weekend at Texas or at Pocono.

I must agree with George Phillips of Oilpressure that if a driver does something one time, it is not a tradition. Last year at Belle Isle was the first time the podium and Victory Celebration was held at the fountain. Jumping in was not an option in the past. Dixon did not jump in last year when he won on Saturday.  I guess I have to add this ritual  to my Dumb Things Winners Do Department along with spilling milk   over your head and kissing the bricks.

Here are some photos I took last weekend.  Back to talk about Texas later this week.

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Race 2- Quick Thoughts

Scott Dixon knows how to correct mistakes.  After his crash yesterday left him in 22nd place, he comes back with a win. His first of the year and 45th career win. He is now fourth in points. Dixon got his first win at Detroit last year as well.  Could this be the start of his run for back to back titles ?

Alexander Rossi was the big gainer in points today. He moves to second place just 15 behind Josef Newgarden.

Nice to see all four Andretti cars in the top 10.

Great to finally see a podium for Arrow Schmidt Peterson.  Good job by Marcus Ericsson.

Ed Carpenter Racing drivers Spencer Pigot and Ed Jones can’t seem to put a complete race together consistently.

Like yesterday, half the elapsed time was under yellow consuming 33% of the laps.

I’m not sure these late red flags are any better than a green white checker.

Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Graham Rahal are the only drivers who had top ten finishes both days.

What a great comeback by Will Power after his early problem.

I hate when television switches to laps to go. They seemed to start with 48 laps left today, Way too early for that.  I can tolerate it with about 10 laps left.

Look for my full race report on Wildfire Sports tomorrow. I will have some photos up later tomorrow. If you like damaged cars, you’ll enjoy them.

 

Front Row Flips for Race 2

Photo: Kyle McInnes

Yesterday’s Detroit Grand Prix front row drivers swap places for Race 2 today.

Josef Newgarden took the pole  and Alexander Rossi will start second.  Newgarden had the fastest lap of the two qualifying groupos at 1:14. 860. Rossi’s best lap was 1:15.182.  Newgarden turned his fast lap in the last minute of the session. Newgarden won yesterday’s rain delayed and shortened race.

The second group was delayed for about 40 minutes to dry the track from water which had spilled from a cover on top the tire barrier in turn 6. The cars had just entered the track for their warm up lap when the red flag was shown.

The clock was reset to the full 12 minutes and the session ran cleanly.

This is Newgarden’s first pole this year and seventh career pole. His last pole was at Toronto in 2018.

Scott Dixon, Colton Herta, and Felix Rosenqvist also start in the first three rows for the second straight day.

Look for Quick Thoughts here after the race and a full report on Wildfire Sports tomorrow.

 

Quick Thoughts- Detroit Race 1

It is frustrating race to watch a race that runs 50%  of the time under yellow. 29 green laps isn’t much of a race.

There were some good battles early, but the race got processional once everyone went to slicks.

Tim Cindric once again made the right strategy call. If the race stayed green it might not have worked out.

Rossi has two straight second place finishes and Sato two straight third places. I said a couple of weeks ago that Sato will be in this fight all season.

I’m sure television influenced the length of the time limit, but 85-90 minutes would have made a better show and guaranteed a second pit stop.

Ryan Hunter-Reay did a great job recovering from missing turn 7 early.

Looking at the tire choices set for today before the rain, it looks like most of the field was planning to start on reds and be done with them for the rest of the race. We might see the same plan tomorrow.

I have had my fill of rainy races this year.

Tomorrow the weather looks good for a dry full length race.  It should be a better show.

It’s hard to believe that we are seven races into the season and Will Power hasn’t won a race. I can’t remember the last time that happened.

Watch for my full race report on Wildfire Sports tomorrow morning.