Detroit Rock City
Coming off one of the most successful and competitive Indy 500’s in years, the IZOD Indy Car Series returned to the streets of Belle Island on Sunday for the first time since the 2008 season. Veteran car owner Roger Penske was again the promoter of the race with backing from Chevy that got the course back on the schedule. What ensued throughout the weekend, no one could have thought.
Rains came down most of the day on Friday and part way through qualifying day on Sunday. Scott Dixon grabbed the pole, and really grabbed the entire weekend, leading all sixty laps on his way to his 28th career victory. Dixon wasn’t the surprise however.
The race was shortened by 30 laps due to a 2 hour track delay. Three sections of the course needed to be repatched as post hole and chunks of asphalt made the racing conditions less than ideal. On Lap 40, James Hinchcliffe hit a piece of asphalt that sent him into the tire barrier, ending his day early. It was then that race director Beaux Barfield decided to red flag the race and repair the track. By then rains and darkness played into the race, and it was shortened to 60 laps.
When the race restarted with 15 laps to go with Dixon leading his Target Chip Ganassi Dario Franchitti and Simon Pagenaud. Dixon held off Pagenaud on the restart, and after E.J. Viso car came to a stop, Dixon held off Franchitti on the final restart to take the checkered flag leading all 60 laps on the day.
You almost have to feel bad for Roger Penske. During the red flag he was out making sure the track was cleared up, as Penske put so much money and hard work into the event that outside of the pot hole, seemed to be a first class event. Hats off to the ABC and IMS Radio Network coverage, I listened via the radio and Nick Yeoman and Michael Young must have interviewed every driver and then some.
The Indy Car Series heads to the fast and furious Texas Motor Speedway this Saturday night for the Firestone 550k. This year, only the one race will take place unlike last year when two twin 225k races produced two winners. This Saturday, with the new car and such high speeds, Indy Car has decided to go back to the one race format.
Texas is a wild and fast race where being 3-4 mph off the pace could be costly as long green flag runs set a fast race pace. Dixon and Franchitti are riding high, going 1-2 in the last two races. Helio Castroneves is always a force at Texas, as well as Marco Andretti. This should be a tight and very competitive race on Saturday night.