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After the glory that was the 100th Indianapolis 500, IndyCar’s schedule imposes upon race fans the double indignity of Detroit. Twice. Thank you, Mark Miles. On the desperately needed upside – and in the midst of widespread Post Indy Stress Disorder, or PISD – after Detroit comes more oval track awesomeness under the lights at Texas. Yeehaw!
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As for the double header on Belle Isle, it’s embarrassing for a number of reasons. A Randy Bernard brainchild, double headers were once an innovative way to stretch the series’ skinny schedule. These throwbacks included double dippers at Texas Motor Speedway – huzzah! – as well as the parking lots of Houston – boo! Now we’re down merely to Detroit’s Belle Isle. Yawn.
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The rat infested island sits in the Detroit River, which falls under the administration of the Water & Sewerage Department. The river’s where Flint residents used to get their water, back when their only worry was drinking treated human waste.
Speaking of sewerage it’s another ABC broadcast this weekend, or what we like to refer to as the not so wonderful world of Goodyear. In attendance Sunday we avoided Bestwicke, Cheever & Goodyear’s blatherings about the 500, thankfully. This weekend the television coverage will match the surroundings – doubly so.
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Our special prediction for the dual in Detroit is that twenty four year old Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi absolutely won’t win. A 500 follow up victory almost never happens anyway, but the out of gas winner will remain fuel challenged after a solid week of media appearances, interviews, banquets, silly hosts, toasts and the like. All that aside, given the choice what race would you rather win?
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Our picks for pole are the Cap’n’s Frenchman Simon Pagenaud for the first race and KV’s Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais for the second. As we predicted, Pags didn’t come close to winning the 500 despite Menard’s big money. This after winning three straight road races prior to the greatest spectacle, so he’ll return to the front in BI’s concrete canyons. Sebastien Bourdais won Detroit again last year and it’s shaping up as a froggy kind of qualifying weekend in the formerly French city. Wonder if they’d take it back?
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First out of both races will be Ganassi’s Max Chilton, an f-ing F1 invader who’s feeling the pressure after Rossi’s big win. Remember, Chip has notoriously little patience with his young fourth drivers – just ask Sage Karam – and the Englishman knows it. Although Detroit’s races resemble an F1 parade in many ways, the twin bill in Tiger town still won’t do “Paris” any good.
Race one winner will be “what’s wrong with” Juan Montoya, who’s still hopping mad from his big, beautiful brain fade in Indianapolis. Saturday he’ll be able to refocus and keep it off the wall long enough for yet another victory for the Cap’n. Happily, the 500 it isn’t.
The winner of race two will prove to be as surprising, if not more so, than Rossi winning the 100th 500. Another American who no one expects to win the race will triumph, this time a Hoosier of all things. Conor Daly – who ran well there last year – will prevail for his first career win in Rock City, shocking the racing world by taking Dale Coyne to victory lane. “Dollar Dale” in the winner’s circle will be the biggest indignity in all Detroit – and that’s saying something.
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