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.





Rossi Takes Pole for Race 1

Photo: Kyle McInnes

Alexander Rossi won the pole for Race 1 at the Detroit Grand Prix. His fastest lap, 1:14.1989, nipped Scott Dixon in the last minute of his qualifying group. Dixon had the second fastest time overall, 0.2 seconds behind Rossi, but will start third since he was in Rossi’s group. Josef Newgarden led Group 1 with 1:14.9272 and will start second.

The bonus point Newgarden earned puts him in a virtual tie with Simon Pagenaud for the series lead.

This is Rossi’s sixth career pole. He has won four times from the pile.  It is his second consecutive pole at Belle Isle.

Rain may have an impact on the race. Rossi and Newgarden still don’t think the red tires will last very long, but Rossi added, “We’ve been surprised in this series before.”

Other notable performances include Colton Herta, fifth and Pato O’Ward seventh.

Detroit Race 1

Good Morning from Belle Isle and Race day 1 .

Today’s schedule

10:45  Indycar Qualifying    Delayed Showing on NBCSN at noon

12:30-2:30   IMSA Race

3:00-  Indycar  Race 1 (green flag at 3:50)  on NBC

Detroit uses a different qualifying procedure.  Two groups each have fifteen minutes on track.  The fastest  car in each group gets a bonus point. The fastest overall wins the pole. For Sunday’s qualifying session, the groups go out in reverse order.

There is a possibility of rain late in the race.

Back after qualifying.

Rossi Fastest in Practice 2; Chevys Make Gains on Reds

Alexander Rossi had the day’s fastest time of 1:15.135 to lead the second practice session at Belle Isle this afternoon. The official practice ended early when Simon Pagenaud made contact with the outside wall. The team repaired the broken toe link and took part in the pit stop practice.

Spencer Pigot was the first driver to go to the alternate red tires with about 12 minutes left in the session. Most other cars put on the reds about three minutes later.  Pagenaud brought out the red flag with just over three minutes left.

Josef Newgarden broke the Honda logjam at the top of the standings on the red tires, finishing second to Rossi.  Five Chevrolets were in the top ten nthis afternoon, two more than in the morning round. The Chevys represented the entire Penske and Carpenter teams.

Watch for a full report on the day on Wildfire Sports later tonight.

Dixon Leads Practice 1

Scott Dixon had the fastest lap in the opening practice session for the Detroit Grand Prix. His best lap was 1:16.7418, a speed of 110.240 mph.  Four Hondas and two Chevrolets occupied the top six spots. Will Power was second, 0,3464 seconds behind Dixon.

The rest of the top six – Ryan Hunter-Reay, Josef Newgarden, Graham Rahal, and Colton Herta.  Spencer Pigot was the only other Chevy driver in the top 10, in ninth place. Alexander Rossi, one of this weekend’s favorites, was eighth quickest.

The session was green until Sebastien Bourdais found the runoff area in turn seven with about eight minutes left. He tried to spin the car around and continue, but the car stalled.  The session resumed with about five minutes left.  Felix Rosenqvist spun into a runoff area, but the session continued.

The next practice is at 2:50 and the results will determine tomorrow’s qualifying groups. Pit stop practice follows the practice session.

More later.