Photo from toledoblade.com
Already at the halfway point of the season thanks to Brazil‘s cancellation, Toronto’s contraction and an absurdly abbreviated schedule, IndyCar heads north to its dominant dynamo’s dwelling in destitute, dead-beat and derelict Detroit. Hardly the hub of America’s much less the world’s motor industry since at least the 1970s, today the city’s a bankrupt, decaying embarrassment – an open sore on an unhealthy nation. Oh well, at least a Honda probably won’t win this weekend.
Photo from idelectus.com
Crumbling old Detroit is a relic, a taxpayer bailed-out husk of a once great city. It’s a case study in decades of extremely poor one party rule and union control. It’s also where Roger Penske made his millions and since it’s easier to make a quick buck on a street “race” or two than a real race down the road in the Irish Hills, then that’s where IndyCar races. Because the Cap’n wills it. Penske’s former pride and joy Michigan International Speedway – a tremendous two mile oval southwest of Detroit – hosted extraordinary open wheel racing on and off from 1968 until 2007. Sold to ISC by Penske in 1999, IndyCar disappeared from the schedule completely soon thereafter. It’s the story of IndyCar ovals in a nutshell.
Photo from michigan.org
So we prepare to watch two half assed races where top speeds are in the 160s and passing’s at a premium. Oh, we’re back to the winged aero kits this weekend too, so you might want to bring along a helmet if you’re attending in person. Besides, it may come in handy for the commute home through the city. Remember a few years ago when the track literally came apart in chunks, hitting poor ol’ Hinch‘s AA car and ruining his race? That’s Detroit all over. Speaking of which, does any driver have worse luck than that crazy Canuck? From flying debris and pelvic puncturing at Indy to flying pieces of track in Detroit, how many ladders has the Mayor walked beneath to deserve his luck?
Photo from autoblog.com
Back to the races, winners of last year’s dual duel were Helio Castro Neves – his second win there – and Will Power in a super sobering and un-dramatic Penske sweep of the Capn’s big event. Those results were purely coincidental, we assure you. Pagenaud and Conway were the winners in 2013, the first year of the double Detroit races which interestingly were a Randy Bernard advent. Among active drivers, previous winners include Justin Wilson who’s not participating this year, Simon Pagenaud, Scott Dixon, and Tony Kanaan. Jakes and Montoya both have qualified well there in the recent past.
Photo from espn.mediazone.com
Coverage for both parades – er, races – is on ABC at 2:30 Central Saturday and Sunday. So it’s double the Bestwick, Cheever and Goodyear this weekend – hooray. We may even be fortunate enough to have Jon Beekhuis join the telecast on Belle Isle, as well. We were starting to worry about the mercurial pit reporter before his appearances at Indy.
Image from Indy Race Reviewer
As for some good news, the Conor’s back! Daly will be subbing this week for Hinch in the SPM machine. We’ll say no more than best of luck to the Hoosier for fear of jinxing the poor guy again. If you’re thinking two street races in one weekend is too much, Saturday may be the most compelling race to watch for fans of underdogs, as most all IndyCar fans surely must be at heart. After a fairly tame Indy 500 – unless you ask Helio about Kimball, or anyone about Montoya – tempers will flare on the narrow, pot hole filled streets of Belle Isle, a rat infested state park on the Canadian border. Sadly with Hinchcliffe sidelined due to a “dagger through the seat,” there won’t even be a Canuck driver for the locals to cheer.
Photo from indymotorspeedway.com
Any chance they can bring Nancy Hulman George back this weekend to liven things up a bit and provide some eye candy? Probably not – who’d want to voluntarily go to Detroit? We’ll leave our readers with a musical number that seemed fitting for a jam packed weekend of street racing, “Dancin’ in the Streets” and one suggested change to the lyrics- “You can forget that Motor City.”