Detroit Grand Prix Race Review No. 2: Graham ‘n Sham Edition

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Photo from indycar.com

Ragin’ Graham Rahal did the undoable – a Detroit dual double – driving a danged ol’ Honda right through Chevy’s front yard. Twice. Meanwhile Hoosier hot head Conor Daly called the only potentially exciting element of the race, the red flag stoppage with three to go, “such a sham” and “all for show.”

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The angry A.J. Foyt driver continued, Tweeting “to get driven into the wall with one to go after our best race is just sad.”  It’s unclear who made contact with him and ABC certainly didn’t bother to show it, but the young legacy finished twelfth behind Helio, TK and Munoz.

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Photo from indycar.com

Once pole sitter Sato got out of the way about twenty two laps in, it was a battle between Saturday’s winner and newcomer Josef Newgarden. Continue reading

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Detroit Grand Prix Predictions and Prognostications: Bizarro Edition

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Photo from takumasato.com

Considering that incredible Indy 500 result, the season’s obviously gone completely through the looking glass. Up is down, black is white and forty year old foreign ride buyers reign supreme. Hold on to your hats tightly for our picks for this Duesie of a double header in Detroit.

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Photo from usnews.com

Any series that thinks Belle Isle is worthy of one race a year – much less two, hot on the heels of Indy – has long occupied bizzarro land. As we’ve documented before at some length, it’s a rat infested dump best avoided, a destination rivaled in its unpleasantness only by Gateway in East St. Louis. It’s a peculiar location for a series seeking to maintain momentum to feature, for sure.

The thing about predicting how the races will turn out in bizarro IndyCar is that it’s just so damned . . . well, unpredictable. Did we mention this year’s 500? Oh, yeah. In light of all that, here go some rather unexpected, unorthodox picks for this weekend.

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Photos from twitter.com and usatoday.com

Pole sitters for the two races will be unusual in the sense that they won’t include Frenchman Simon Pagenaud for a change. In an unbelievably hoggish display he occupied point for both races last year, edging Ryan Hunter-Reay and stable mate Helio Castro-Neves. Continue reading

Toronto Preview: Canadian Token

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Photo from torontosun.com

Part concrete, part asphalt and completely lined with walls, the streets of Toronto often resemble a Canuck concrete car crusher when IndyCar rolls into town. They’ll do so for the thirty second time Sunday in Canada’s token race of the year.

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Photo from torontosun.com

We’ve raised alarms about our northern neighbor’s dwindling presence in IndyCar before; like the sport in general, the Canadian situation has shown little improvement. There’s been talk of a new race way out west in Calgary’s oil patch, but who knows? The schedule’s been so chaotic lately it makes nights out in U.S. cities look tranquil by comparison.

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Photo from sports.usatoday.com

Toronto used to be a double header like Belle Isle, but mercifully they discontinued the practice last year. Consider the move a token of Canadian IndyCar esteem. Continue reading

Dual in Detroit Preview: Forget That Motor City

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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.

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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.

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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. Continue reading