After coming off an historic Indianapolis 500 where Heilo Castroneves won for a record tying fourth time, the stars of the NTT IndyCar Series heads to the Motor City for the Chevrolet Grand Prix - Duel in Detroit this weekend. After a double points event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Alex Palou enjoys a 36 point lead over Scott Dixon in the championship standings.
Event History: IndyCar has come to the temporary street circuit ever since 1992 back before the CART/IndyCar merger in the 2000s. The first race was won by Bobby Rahal in his lighting fast Lola T9200. CART continued to go to Detroit until 2001. In 2007, the Indy Racing League returned for two years until a three-year hiatus from 2009 until 2011. The series returned in 2012 and the doubleheader format was picked up the following year and has been the race after the 500 ever since. Joesf Newgarden set the qualifying record in 2017 with a lap at 1:14.2062 long.
Track Facts: The Grand Prix circuit at Belle Isle is a 2.35 mile, fourteen turn street course that sits on an island on the Detroit River. It has great views of the Detroit skyline and scenic views into Canada. Belle Isle is one of the tightest street circuits on the course in terms of the racing line itself. The main opportunities are actually the first section of turns one through three. Outside of those turns, passing may be hard to come by.
Last Event: Due to the pandemic, the 2020 Detroit Grand Prix was canceled. But in 2019, during a very wet weekend in Detroit. In race one, Joesf Newgarden dominated with Alexander Rossi being in hot pursuit. In race two, Scott Dixon took another very dominating win while the eventual champion in Newgarden finished 21 laps down.
Race Preview: With all the talk about the amount of young talent getting faster and faster each week, Belle Isle offers numerous challenges. With high temps expected and a lot of sunshine on the slipper surface of the race track, look for the veterans to step up this weekend and show them that they still got it. Outside of a third place run at the Indy 500, Simon Pagenaud has had a relatively quiet season. He is a former winner at the track and I expect for him to return to his winning ways at Detroit as he takes race one. Race two will be a different story as confidence gets higher, so look for Colton Herta to take race two in what I believe will be a closer battle.
You can catch all the action on Saturday at 2:00 P.M. EST and Noon Est on Sunday on NBC. All qualifying and practice sessions, as well as Indy Lights, will be exclusive to Peacock.