IndyCars - Detroit: Twice as nice for the same price

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It’s the week after the Indy 500 and for many years now that means we are about to head to the Motor City - Detroit, Michigan - to run TWO races in one weekend on the city park in the middle of the Detroit River known as Belle Isle. It’s the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit!

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This is the only two-race weekend of the season and it’s a particularly difficult task for the IndyCar teams who have not only to convert their cars from Speedway cars for the Indy 500 to street course cars but also to prepare them to do a tough race on an unforgiving street course - TWICE! It’s a fantastic challenge that is willingly met.

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The Belle Isle circuit is created by enclosing several park roads with concrete barriers and despite all efforts to make it smooth, it is always far from smooth, as the winter weather wrecks havoc on the streets. It does have two good, long straights that automatically create some great passing during the races, but none of the IndyCar drivers restrict themselves to those corners.

Follow along below with Conor Daly, using the map above, as he runs a few laps of Belle Isle for Dale Coyne Racing in 2016. (One lap in about 2 minutes) Notice how bumpy the track is for the camera mounted on Conor’s helmet. Conor would finish P2 in Race 1 and P6 in Race 2, that year:

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Area fans who come to the races - and tickets sales are well ahead of 2017, thus far - will be treated to no less than 7 races over the weekend. They are:

  • Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli - two races on Saturday and on Sunday
  • Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks - two races on Saturday and on Sunday
  • IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (P class / GTD class) 1 race on Saturday

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…and of course the IndyCars will race on Saturday and then on Sunday. The weather may play a big role. Friday will possibly bring showers mid-day, but that will only affect practice and qualifying. Saturday is expected to be cloudy but dry. Sunday, however, is expected to be rainy, right about the time the IndyCars will be doing Race 2 of the weekend - a split weekend, with a dry race and a rain race - outstanding and tough!

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Let’s take a look at that support racing:

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Trans Am Series - This is American muscle car racing at its finest. The cars are loud and strong and the action is close. Some of the biggest names in the sport got their start in these GT American iron cars. At Belle Isle the TA and TA2 classes will race. No IndyCar drivers here, so we will wish them safe and fun racing and concentrate elsewhere.

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Support Racing…(part 2) …

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Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks - Former IndyCar driver Robby Gordon created a great off-road racing series that utilizes 600hp trucks specifically built to run on man-made dirt tracks inside stadiums, but somewhere along the way they discovered that these behemoths were equally entertaining on street courses using metal ramps. The SSTs have become a HUGE fan favorite everywhere they race, and why not? The trucks can get more than 25 feet high in the air for distances in excess of 200 feet, at times. The racing is hairy and outrageous, with trucks up on three and sometimes two wheels, executing passes with more than a little paint-rubbing. One of the biggest names in Super Trucks is IndyCar driver Matthew Brabham but Indy Lights driver Arie Luyendyk, Jr. is coming to join the fun with Matty and Robby at Detroit.
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship - This is the premiere SportsCar series in North America, combining both prototype and GT racing, all racing on the track at the same time. Several former and even current IndyCar drivers are in this series and many of them will be at Detroit. There are three classes of cars at most venues but for Detroit only the Prototypes of the P class and the non-factory GT cars of the GTD class will be racing. For a list of the IndyCar drivers who will race at Detroit look at post # 39 from the “Off Season” thread.

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Friday will be a day of practice for all series that will race this weekend, with qualifying also in the pipe for some. Let’s get this thing going!

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Friday morning on Belle Isle - The IMSA gang hold first practice…

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Practice - That time when the driver and his or her engineer work together to optimize the car for the track configuration, the track conditions and the race weather they will encounter as a team on a particular weekend. Taking to the track in good weather, the WeatherTech Prototypes and GTs held their P-1 practice session of the weekend.

In the P class the rabbit for the P-1 session was Ricky Taylor driving the # 7 Acura ARX-05 DPi for Acura Team Penske. Ricky put in a time of 01:21.909s for a speed of 103.285mph. He shares the car with IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves. Ricky beat out Felipe Nasr in the # 31 Cadillac DPI V.R. for Action Express by .206 seconds. Felipe’s co-driver in the car is Eric Curran. 3rd fastest for the session was Joao Barbosa in the other AX car, the # 5 Cadillac. He shares the car with Filipe Albuquerque.

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Ricky Taylor cruises Detroit on point

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Ricky Taylor

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In the GTD class the TOP TIME of the session was put in by IndyCar driver Katherine Legge in the # 86 Acura NSX GT3 for Meyer Shank Racing. Kat’s time was 01:29.905s for a speed of 94.099mph. Her co-driver for this weekend is Mario Farnbacher, replacing regular Alvaro Parente, who is racing in Europe. Legge was able to best fellow IndyCar driver Jack Hawksworth by a decent .455 seconds. Jack is driving the # 15 Lexus RCF GT3 for 3GT Racing. His co-pilot is David Heinemeier Hansson. P3 for the session was the other Acura for Meyer Shank, the # 94, in the hands of Lawson Auschenbach. His c-o-driver is Justin Marks.

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Katherine Legge running in front at Detroit

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Katherine Legge

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The # 86 Acura is running the season on a race-by-race basis, without full-time sponsorship, but has made all the races thus far. This weekend Legge and Farnbacher are running at Detroit only because Autonation - the sponsor for the Meyer Shank IndyCar of Jack Harvey - has stepped up and put the car on the track. This is great for Legge, who is currently 2nd in the series points chase.

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.The IMSA gang will hold final practice later today, followed by qualifying for Saturday’s race. Next the Stadium Super Trucks hold practice…

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Friday Morning on Belle Isle - The Super Trucks hold first practice…

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The Trucks came out to do a practice / qualifier for Race 1 of the weekend. The Super Trucks always do a reverse grid. That is, the fastest qualifier will start the race last The fastest qualifier today was IndyCar driver Matthew Brabham.

Here was the order of speed for the P-1 session:

  1. Matt Brabham
  2. Arie Luyendyk Jr
  3. Jeff Hoffman
  4. Gavin Harlien
  5. Paul Morris
  6. Cole Potts
  7. Bill Hynes
  8. Aaron Bambach
  9. Russell Boyle

IndyCar driver Arie Luyendyk, Jr catching air

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The SSTs will first race on Saturday. Next, the IndyCars hold their P-1 practice session…

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Friday morning on Belle Isle - The IndyCars hold their P-1 session…

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…and the old pros exerted themselves as past winners dominated the top 3 spots of the charts. Joining the fray for the first time this weekend is young American Santino Ferrucci, a Formula One reserve driver for Haas F1 who is making his IndyCar debut for Dale Coyne Racing, driving the # 19 Honda. Santino immediately impressed and justified his seat time.

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Here was the order of speed for the P-1 session, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser/Sullivan - time of 01:17.8545s for a speed of 108.664mph

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2 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing - time of 01:17.9168s for a speed of 108.577mph

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3 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan - time of 01:17.9830s for a speed of 108.485mph

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4 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport - time of 01:18.1504s for a speed of 108.253mph

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5 - Marco Andretti, Andretti Herta - time of 01:18.3009s for a speed of 108.045mph

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6 - Santino Ferrucci [R], Dale Coyne Racing
7 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport
8 - Zach Veach [R], Andretti Autosport
9 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske
10 - Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises

11 - Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske
12 - Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
13 - Will Power, Team Penske
14 - Max Chilton, Carlin
15 - Robert Wickens [R], Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
16 - Charlie Kimball, Carlin
17 - Jordan King [R], Ed Carpenter Racing
18 - Matheus Leist [R], A.J. Foyt Enterprises
19 - Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing
20 - Ed Jones, Chip Ganassi Racing

21 - James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
22 - Gabby Chaves, Harding Racing
23 - Rene Binder [R], Juncos Racing

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Notable:

  • The top 8 cars are all Hondas. Josef Newgarden was the best Chevy in P9.

  • Santino Ferrucci is the 3rd driver this season for the # 19 Paysafe Honda. Others who have driven the car were Pietro Fittipaldi and Zachary Claman DeMelo. No word yet on how many races Santino will do for Coyne.

Santino Ferrucci (left) and Sebastien Bourdais - teammates

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The IndyCars will hold a 2nd practice session later today. Next, the IMSA gang hold their 2nd practice of the day…

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Friday afternoon on Belle Isle - The WeatherTech gang hold their P-2 session…

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The prototypes and GTs of the IMSA WeatherTech series went out following the IndyCars to do their 2nd practice of the day and have the last chance to adjust their cars before qualifying, which will be late in the day.

The TOP TIME for the Prototype class in the P-2 session was turned in by IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves in the same car that took the top spot in P-1 - the # 7 Acura ARX05 DPi for Acura Team Penske. Helio turned in a time of 01:22.363s for a speed of 102.715mph. He bested Pro Mazda alum Pipo Derani in the # 22 Nissan DPi for Extreme Speed Motorsports by a TEENSY .025 seconds. P3 was Filipe Albuquerque in the # 5 Mustang Sampling Caddy for Action Express. Helio’s co-driver is Ricky Taylor, Pipo drives with Johannes van Overbeek and Filipe shares the # 5 with Joao Barbosa.

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Helio does it in the # 7, this time

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Helio Castroneves

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In the GTD class the guy on top was IndyCar driver Jack Hawksworth driving the # 15 Lexus RCF GT3 with a time of 01:29.468s for a speed of 94.558mph, besting the # 63 Ferrari 488 GT3 for Scuderia Corsa, driven by Jeff Segal by .184 miles per hour. P3 for the practice was IndyCar driver Katherine Legge in the # 86 Acura NSX GT3. Jack’s co-driver is David Heinemeier Hansson. Jeff’s co-driver is Cooper MacNeil and Kat’s co-driver is Mario Farnbacher.

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Jack Hawksworth on top in the red Lexus

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Jack Hawksworth

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The IMSA gang will be the last guys on track today as they qualify for their Saturday race. Next, the IndyCar hold their own P-2 session…

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Friday afternoon on Belle Isle - The IndyCars hold their P-2 session…

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Everyone went faster in the P2 session than they did in the P-1 session, so the following times are the best of the whole day.

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Here was the order of speed for the IndyCars in the P-2 session, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport - time of 01:16.3598s for a speed of 110.791mph

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2 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing - time of 01:16.3667s for a speed of 110.781mph

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3 - James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports - time of 01:16.4840s for a speed of 110.611mph

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4 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske - time of 01:16.5864s for a speed of 110.463mph

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5 - Marco Andretti, Andretti Herta - time of 01:16.6198s for a speed of 110.415mph

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6 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
7 - Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske
8 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport
9 - Robert Wickens [R], Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
10 - Zach Veach [R], Andretti Autosport

11 - Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser/Sullivan
12 - Will Power, Team Penske
13 - Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
14 - Max Chilton, Carlin
15 - Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises
16 - Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing
17 - Ed Jones, Chip Ganassi Racing
18 - Santino Ferrucci [R], Dale Coyne Racing
19 - Gabby Chaves, Harding Racing
20 - Charlie Kimball, Carlin

21 - Matheus Leist [R], A.J. Foyt Enterprises
22 - Jordan King [R], Ed Carpenter Racing
23 - Rene Binder [R], Juncos Racing

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Notable:

  • This looks more like Honda-town than the town that Chevrolet is supposed to rule. Of the TOP TEN only Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud are in Chevys.

  • Tony Kanaan was the first guy to hit a wall as he slid into the tires in Turn 6. He brought out a red flag, but the practice soon resumed and Tony had minimal damage.

  • The top rookie is Robert Wickens in P9 but right with him is Zach Veach in P10. This is the first time either guy has seen this challenging track and they’re killing it. The rookie class of 2018 is stout.

Left to right, rookies Robert Wickens & Zach Veach and Ryan Hunter-Reay

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The IndyCars will begin qualifying in the mid-morning on Saturday. Next up the IMSA gang qualify…

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Friday afternoon on Belle Isle - The IMSA gang qualify for their Saturday race…

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The last on-track action of the day was the qualifying session for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Here are the TOP THREE for each class:

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Pole for the P class looked all day like it was going to go to the # 7 Acura but the guy who secured it was Pro Mazda alum Pipo Derani in the # 22 Nissan DPi for Tequila Patron Extreme Speed Motorsports with a time of 01:22.273s for a speed of 102.828mph. Pipo bested an Acura, but it was IndyCar driver Juan Pablo Montoya in the # 6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 DPi, which was a healthy .719 seconds in arrears. The # 7 car which has dominated practice was P3 after the dust settled on IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves’ qualifying effort. Pipo’s co-driver is Johannes van Overbeek. Juan Pablo’s co-driver is Dane Cameron and Helio’s co-driver is Ricky Taylor.

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Pipo Derani on pole

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Pipo Derani

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In the GTD class it was again a guy who hasn’t been on top in practice who pushed to the front in qualifying, as Bryan Sellers took the # 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 to pole with a time of 01:28.942s for a speed of 95.117mph. Bryan was able to outrun IndyCar driver Katherine Legge in the # 86 Acura NSX GT3 for Meyer Shank Racing by .448 seconds. P3 on the grid will be the other Acura NSX GT3, the # 94, which was qualified by Justin Marks. Bryan’s co-driver is Madison Snow, while Katherine is sharing the Acura with Mario Farnbacher this weekend. Justin co-drives the # 94 with Lawson Aschenbach.

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Bryan Sellers to the top when it counts

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Madison Snow (left) and Bryan Sellers

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The race us scheduled to start at 12:30pm EASTERN time and will be broadcast LIVE on FoxSports 2. This was the last on-track action of the day.

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Spotter’s Guide - Changes in livery since the Indy 500…

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It’s been less than a week since the 500 but a number of IndyCars have changed livery for Detroit and a few other will have new drivers in them. Let’s take a look:

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Josef Newgrden was in the Verizon silver car for Indy but returns to the Hitachi car of white and black for Detroit:

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It was Zachary Claman DeMelo in the # 19 Paysafe car for Dale Coyne Racing at Indy but for both Detroit races the pilot will be young American Santino Ferrucci. That car will look the same as at Indy, however:

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Ed Carpenter drove the # 20 to P2 at Indy but road-course driver Jordan King gets back in the car for Detroit. In addition, there is a new sponsor for this weekend. Instead of Fuzzy’s the car will show Allegiant as the sponsor but the colors are the same black and white:

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Spencer Pigot was in the blue Preferred Freezer Services car for Indy but will return to the green Fuzzy’s car for Detroit:

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Simon Pagenaud was in the screaming yellow Menard’s car for Indy but returns to the quiet and powerful DXC car of black and white for Detroit:

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Spotter’s Guide - Changes in livery since the Indy 500…(part 2)…

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Alexander Rossi drove his familiar NAPA car of yellow and blue at Indy but will be in the blue and green Ruoff Home Mortgages car for Belle Isle:

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Takuma Sato has been in the blue and white Mi-Jack car since the season started but gets into the 5/3 Bank car. The flanks are mostly white with a big 5/3 logo on top of the side pods. The top combing is mostly blue. The car has black and light blue accents:

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Charlie Kimball was in the yellow Fiasp car for both Indy races but gets back into his normal and pretty black and green Tresiba car:

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Rene Binder was not in the # 32 car for Juncos Racing at Indy. That was Kyle Kaiser, instead. But Rene returns for Detroit. The colors, as always, remain the same but the sponsorship is Binderholz:

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Marco Andretti drove the US Concrete car at Indy but for Detroit he inherits Jack Harvey’s Indy sponsor, AutoNation, and with it their pink and black colors on his white tub base:

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Saturday morning at Detroit - The IndyCars are qualified!..

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The format for qualifying at Belle Isle is completely unique, as the standard Firestone Fast Six knock-out qualifying format is given over to a much simpler form: There is a 30-minute qualifying session for each race, with the 23-car field split into two groups. Each group receives 12 minutes of track time, with the fastest driver from the two groups earning pole position and fastest from the other group earning the second starting position. Cars from each group then line up behind their fastest guy.

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Here is the way the IndyCars will grid for Race 1 of the weekend, with times for the TOP SIX: [R] denotes rookie

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Row 1

Pole - Marco Andretti, Andretti Herta - time of 01:14.8514s for a speed of 113.024mph

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P2 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing - time of 01:15.4186s for a speed of 112.174mph

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Row 2

P3 - Robert Wickens [R], Schmidt Peterson Motorsports - time of 01:15.3267s for a speed of 112.311mph

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P4 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport - time of 01:15.4946s for a speed of 112.061mph

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Row 3

P5 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport - time of 01:15.3351s for a speed of 112.298mph

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P6 - Will Power, Team Penske - time of 01:15.7210s for a speed of 111.726mph

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Row 4

P7 - Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
P8 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Row 5

P9 - James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
P10 - Max Chilton, Carlin

Row 6

P11 - Ed Jones, Chip Ganassi Racing
P12 - Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing

Row 7

P13 - Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske
P14 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske

Row 8

P15 - Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises
P16 - Zach Veach [R], Andretti Autosport

Row 9

P17 - Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser/Sullivan
P18 - Santino Ferrucci [R], Dale Coyne Racing

Row 10

P19 - Gabby Chaves, Harding Racing
P20 - Jordan King [R], Ed Carpenter Racing

Row 11

P21 - Matheus Leist [R], A.J. Foyt Enterprises
P22 - Charlie Kimball, Carlin

Row 12

P23 - Rene Binder [R], Juncos Racing

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Notable:

  • This is Marco’s 7th career pole and surprisingly his first on a street or road course.

  • Robert Wickens was the best qualifying rookie in P3

  • Will Power was the only Chevy driver in the TOP SIX with Max Chilton the only other Chevy in the TOP TEN.

Max Chilton makes the TOP TEN

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.The race is scheduled for broadcast LIVE on ABC starting at 3:30pm EASTERN time.

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Saturday morning at Belle Isle - The Stadium Super Trucks race!..

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The Super Trucks took to the track early today to hold Race 1 of the weekend. This was the starting grid, following qualifying, yesterday. Again, this is the reverse of the qualifying performances.

Russell Boyle
Aaron Bambach
Bill Hynes
Cole Potts
Paul Morris
Gavin Harlien
Jeff Hoffman
Arie Luyendyk Jr
Matt Brabham
Blade Hildebrand

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SSTs getting air time in Detroit

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…And here is the race: (click on “Not Now” to bypass the log-in)
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The SSTs will hold their Race 2 of the weekend on Sunday afternoon. Next, the IMSA gang hold their race…

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Saturday afternoon at Detroit - The IMSA gang race!..

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It was a total sprint from start to finish for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on the streets of Belle Isle and due to a great pit stop with a great driver change and a quick lap when it counted most the WINNERS at the end - overall and in P class - were Felipe Nasr and Eric Curran in the # 31 Cadillac DPi V.R. for Action Express. P2 was the car that led most of the race, the # 7 Acura DPi with Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor on board for Acura Team Penske. Rounding out the podium was the other Acura DPI for Penske, the # 6 with Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron.

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The winning Caddy with Felipe Nasr in it at the end.

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The race started with trouble for pole-sitter Pipo Derani, as his paddle shifters messed up, making it difficult to shift his transmission. He would lose several positions before pitting for a replacement steering wheel, and though he bounced back with authority, the # 22 Nissan was never in the lead again.

Taking over when Pipo went south was Helio Castroneves in the # 7 Acura. He and co-driver Ricky Taylor would lead most of the event, but on the final pit stop Eric Curran switched out with Felipe Nasr very, very quickly and then Nasr put in a brilliant out lap, giving the # 31 the lead of the race over the # 7. Felipe then held it to the end, crossing the line about 1 second over Ricky Taylor.

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Felipe and Eric celebrate in the iconic Belle Isle fountain.

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Saturday afternoon at Detroit - The IMSA gang race!..(part 2)…

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In the GTD class the WINNERS were IndyCar driver Katherine Legge and Mario Farnbacher in the # 86 Acura NSX GT3 for Meyer Shank Racing - the 2nd WIN at Detroit in a row for Kat. Making it even sweeter for Michael Shank was that P2 went to the other Acura, the team’s # 93 driven by Justin Marks and Lawson Aschenbach. P3 on the podium was secured by pole-sitters Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow in Paul Miller Racing’s # 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3.

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The # 86 WINS at Detroit - 2nd in a row for Katherine Legge

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For the first half of the race pole-sitter Bryan Sellers stayed in front of Legge but Katherine was right on his gearbox for the entire stint, while Justin Marks was right behind Katherine. When all three cars pitted and changed drivers the Shank cars only changed their left-side rubber while the Huracan changed all four tires and that was the difference, as both MSR cars got out ahead of the Lambo, and then stayed ahead to the finish.

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Here is your happy podium - That’s Lawson Aschenbach & Justin Marks in P2 on the left, Katherine Legge & Mario Farnbacher in P1 in the middle and Bryan Sellers & Madison Snow on the right in P3:
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With this weekend’s results the points leaders in the P class are all four driver from Action Express - Felipe Nasr, Eric Curran, Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque, all with 144 points. Their closest rivals are 14 points behind. In the GTD class the points leaders are still Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers but their lead was whittled down. They have 125 points, while Katherine Legge now has 122 points.

The next outing for the WeatherTech series will be at Watkins Glen, June 28-July 1 for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen - the 3rd round of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup. It will be a huge IMSA weekend with all three classes of the WeatherTech gang supported by the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA and the Lamborghini Super Trofeo series.

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Next…The IndyCars do Race 1 of the weekend…

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Saturday afternoon on Belle Isle - The IndyCars do Race 1 of their weekend…

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…and it becomes the first race WIN of 2018 for Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, as “the ice man”, starting P2, took the lead away from pole-sitter Marco Andretti for Andretti Autosport, who would eventually finish P4. P2 went to Ryan Hunter-Reay for Andretti Autosport. Ryan, on a different pit-stop strategy, would lead at times, but it was an illusion, as once the stops settled Dixon remained in the lead. P3 went to a hard-charging Alexander Rossi who passed teammate Andretti late in the race in a hairy outside move.

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Scott Dixon triumphant over RHR

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Marco Andretti led the field for the first 22 laps of the race and seemed able to keep Dixon behind him, despite several attempts by the Kiwi to pass him. Graham Rahal for Rahal Letterman Lanigan, driving on the primary black tires, was able to go from his P8 start to P3 by passing on track during this stint. Ryan Hunter-Reay would be the first to pit, opting for s three-stop strategy. On lap 22 Andretti pitted for fuel and tires. Dixon stayed out for one more lap and made it a real flyer. Then his crew gave him one of the best pit stops of the race. The result was he was leading when he returned to the track.

On lap 47, right after his 2nd pit stop, Rahal’s car jerked violently to the left after he hit the curbing in Turns 13/14 and he smashed hard into the left-side concrete. Graham was okay but the car was done, bringing out the first full course caution. Dixon was able to keep the lead on the restart. Later in the race, Charlie Kimball for Carlin punted rookie Santino Ferrucci for Dale Coyne and the young American spun through a crowded field but hit no one, ending up nosed hard into a tire barrier and bringing out the 2nd caution of the day. On the restart, Dixon again held onto the lead.

Late in the race an aggressive Alexander Rossi managed to make the podium by passing Marco on the outside with inches to spare. Were they not teammates, the pass might not have been respected by the younger Andretti, who drove to his best finish of the year, nevertheless.

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Notable:

  • This is Dixon’s 42 WIN in a great career and it ties him with Michael Andretti for 3rd on the all-time WIN-list for IndyCars. It also moves him into 2nd place in the points, provisionally - 4 points behind Alexander Rossi.

  • Dixon and Chip Ganassi Racing struggled to get great results on street and road courses early in the year, but Scott was P2 at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, so it looks like they may have figured how to make the 2018 aero kit work, finally.

  • Rahal’s crash may have been due to a suspension failure caused by a brush against a wall some 30 laps earlier. The car will be ready to race on Sunday. Santino’s car will also be ready for Sunday’s Race 2

Graham Rahal (left) and Santino Ferrucci

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Here is your happy podium - That’s Ryan Hunter-Reay in P2 on the left, Scott Dixon in P1 in the middle and Alexander Rossi in P3 on the right:

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The IndyCars will qualify for Race 2 mid-morning on Sunday. The race will then be run - rain or shine, and it may be rain - Sunday afternoon, with the LIVE broadcast on ABC, starting at 3:30pm EASTERN time.

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IndyCar has released a race re-mix of Race 1 of the weekend…

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Sunday morning - The IndyCars qualify in the rain…

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Firestone has a new rain tire and it is getting a workout already today, as the IndyCars qualified in the rain. The first of the two groups sucked a lot of water off the track so it was a sure bet that Group 2 was going to be a bit faster and that was the case. As usual, the rain changed the situation somewhat, as some drivers do better than others in the wet.

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Here is the way the IndyCars will grid for Race 2 of the weekend, with times for the TOP SIX: [R] denotes rookie

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Row 1

Pole - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport - time of 01:33.3143s for a speed of 90.661mph

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P2 - Robert Wickens [R], Schmidt Peterson Motorsports - time of 01:33.6605s for a speed of 90.326mph

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Row 2

P3 - Will Power, Team Penske - time of 01:33.8295s for a speed of 90.164mph

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P4 - Ed Jones, Chip Ganassi Racing - time of 01:33.9256s for a speed of 90.071mph

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Row 3

P5 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing - time of 01:33.9544s for a speed of 90.044mph

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P6 - James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports - time of 01:34.1370s for a speed of 89.869mph

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Row 4

P7 - Zach Veach [R], Andretti Autosport
P8 - Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske

Row 5

P9 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
P10 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport

Row 6

P11 - Jordan King [R], Ed Carpenter Racing
P12 - Marco Andretti, Andretti Herta

Row 7

P13 - Santino Ferrucci [R], Dale Coyne Racing
P14 - Gabby Chaves, Harding Racing

Row 8

P15 - Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing
P16 - Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser/Sullivan

Row 9

P17 - Max Chilton, Carlin
P18 - Matheus Leist [R], A.J. Foyt Enterprises

Row 10

P19 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske
P20 - Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Row 11

P21 - Charlie Kimball, Carlin
P22 - Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises

Row 12

P23 - Rene Binder [R], Juncos Racing

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Notable:

  • While the rain changed the top players, a bit, the Hondas are still dominating. Will Power and Simon Pagenaud are the only Chevys in the TOP TEN.

  • Tony Kanaan spun early in Group 1 qualifying and nosed into a wall, damaging his nose and bringing out a red flag. He thus lost his two fastest laps and didn’t return to attempt laps.

  • Josef Newgarden nosed into a tire barrier in Group 2 qualifying, bringing out a red flag that also ended the session. He lost his two fastest laps as a result.

  • Juncos Racing elected not to risk their one car qualifying Rene Binder and he put in no time. He will start P23

Red flags for TK, (left) and Josef. No time for Rene (rght)

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The race broadcast will be LIVE on ABC, starting at 3:30pm EASTERN time.

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Sunday afternoon at Belle Isle - The Stadium Super Trucks do Race 2 of their weekend…

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Following the IndyCar qualifying the SSTs came out for their 2nd race of the weekend. By the time the trucks were ready to race the rain that had the IndyCars on rain tires for qualifying had abated. Here was the line-up for Race 2:

  1. Cole Potts
  2. Paul Morris
  3. Russell Boyle
  4. Bill Hynes
  5. Jeff Hoffman
  6. Blade Hildebrand
  7. Aaron Bambach
  8. Matt Brabham
  9. Arie Luyendyk Jr
  10. Gavin Harlien

SSTs at Detroit today

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And here is the race: (click on “Not Now” to bypass the log-in)

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Coming into Detroit IndyCar driver Mathew Brabham held a substantial 53 point lead in the series points. Points have not yet been awarded for Detroit, but following these two races, IndyCar driver Arie Luyendyk, Jr. will have closed up a bit.

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Next up is the final event of the weekend - the IndyCars do Race 2.

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Sunday Afternoon on Belle Isle - The IndyCar Race 2 comes off in the dry…

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Despite the predicted rain for the afternoon, the weather system moved through in the morning and the skies cleared for the afternoon race. For Ryan Hunter-Reay yesterday’s P2 finish could only be topped one way and that was to WIN today and that is exactly what the Andretti Autosport veteran did, and with authority - his first WIN since Pocono in August of 2015. P2 at the end was Will Power for Team Penske and P3 was Ed Jones for Chip Ganassi Racing - his 1st podium for 2018. Hunter-Reay had promised his kids he’d jump into the Belle Isle fountain if he won…and he sure did!

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Ryan Hunter-Reay - a man of his word

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The race all day was really between Ryan and his Andretti teammate Alexander Rossi, with each on a different fuel strategy, both formidable and both leading, at times, but despite a huge effort by the young Californian to stay in front and win, Hunter-Reay was clearly the class of the field, setting Fastest Lap of the race multiple times. His last one was almost a full second faster than everyone else - remarkable!

As the race wound down Hunter-Reay made up a several-second deficit to Rossi, going from completely out of sight to right on Rossi’s gearbox for a number of laps. With 7 laps to go Ryan pressured Rossi off of Turn 2 and Rossi misjudged his speed going to Turn 3, locked up his tires spectacularly and ran down the run-off, allowing Hunter-Reay to get by. Rossi would rejoin but his shredded left front tire gave out. He would pit, replace it and finish the race in P12. He was so upset with himself he declined to be interviewed after the race. Ryan caught traffic for the last few laps but was still almost 12 seconds clear of Will Power at the line.

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Notable:

  • The first caution of the day was when the Pace Car - a Chevrolet Corvette - ran into the wall at Turn 2 during the first pace lap before the start as the guest driver - a GM executive - misjudged the power after hitting a bump. That halted the race for a half hour as they cleaned the track and readied a back-up Pace Car - this one to be driven by veteran Oriol Servia.

  • The 2nd and only race caution was for Spencer Pigot, who spun in Turn 2, possibly after getting punted by rookie Santino Ferrucci for Dale Coyne. No penalty was issued. Pigot would eventually rejoin 3 laps down and later retire with mechanical difficulties. Ferrucci would later spin on his own in Turn 2 and lose his front wing, but he was able to motor back to the pits for a replacement and no caution flew.

  • Sebastien Bourdais for Dale Coyne had a spectacular suspension failure mid-race and spun wildly in front of Hunter-Reay and Graham Rahal for Rahal Letterman Lanigan, but both cars avoided hitting him and he avoided the walls and no caution flew. He would go to the pits for repairs and rejoin.

  • Scott Dixon finished P4, which along with Saturday’s P1, boosted him in the points chase. Between this P2 and his Indy 500 WIN, Will Power takes over the points lead.

Scott Dixon - great weekend

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Here is your happy podium - That’s Will Power in P2 on the left, Ryan Hunter-Reay in P1 in the middle and Ed Jones in P3 on the right:

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With this weekend, this is the TOP FIVE in points leaving Detroit:

1 - Will Power 309
2 - Scott Dixon 304
3 - Alexander Rossi 298
4 - Ryan Hunter-Reay 278
5 - Josef Newgarden 270

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Next up for the IndyCars is a return to the Super Speedway at Texas Motor Speedway for the DXC Technology 600 - a night race - this coming weekend, June 8-9.

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IndyCar has released a race-re-mix of the Race 2 event…

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