One of the best Indianapolis 500 races is in the books with Brazilian Tony Kanaan taking the checkered flag. The 97th running of the Indy 500 broke many race records including 14 drivers had the lead at one point, 68 total lead changes among them and the average speed was 187.433 mph. Now that the race is over, my life is about to get much, much busier.
As both our loyal readers may have noticed, I haven’t contributed as much to our website recently. My internship with the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix has started to take over my life as we prepped Belle Isle to go from a park in Detroit, to a world-class racing facility. And the transformation is nearly complete.
It is officially race week for the Grand Prix as the IndyCar teams pack up their transporters and make the drive from Indy to Detroit. As tough as it is to put everything into preparing for the Indianpolis 500, motorsports Super Bowl, this weekend on Belle Isle may prove to be even tougher on the drivers and teams.
The first IndyCar doubleheader, the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans, will test the drivers mentally and physically as they try to adjust from running laps in Indy of over 220 mph to navigating the tough road course on Belle Isle. All of the drivers we have had in town for media tours have mentioned the demands that one street course race puts on their bodies, and having to do it on back-to-back days is going to be a challenge.
Last year, the Chevrolet powered cars won every race but two and captured the IndyCar Series Championship (Ryan Hunter-Reay.) But the two races Honda won were the Indy 500, Dario Franchitti, and the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, Scott Dixon, two of the biggest races on the schedule for the Chevrolet brand. The 500 is the biggest race of the season as I mentioned earlier and the Belle Isle race is sponsored by Chevy, and run right next to the world headquarters at the Renaissance Center.
So far Chevy has been able to reclaim one of the races they were unable to win last year, now it will be interesting to see who comes out on top on Belle Isle. A few guys to never count out are Will Power and Helio Castroneves of Team Penske and defending series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay. Hunter-Reay won earlier this year at Barber and Castroneves has been on the podium twice this season already, but Power has had a really rough start to the season.
Power has finished runner-up three consecutive years in the final championship standings and was thought to put it all together and get over the hump this year, but things have not gone his way as he sits currently in 14th place. A couple of real strong showings on Belle Isle can still turn his season around, but it will not be an easy task.
With two full-points races May 31-June 2, the season championship could be won or lost in Detroit. Race fans should be glued to their seats to see which driver will be able to come out on top during the weekend, but it should be a great experience. If helping to put the race together is anywhere near as fun as the actual event itself, everyone is in for an amazing weekend.