BELLE ISLE DOUBLE-HEADER
Belle Isle to host two IndyCar races on same weekend
David Goricki I October 2, 2012
Scott Dixon celebrated a win on Belle Isle this summer. There will be two such celebrations in 2013:
Detroit — Let's play two.
That's exactly what IndyCar drivers get to do for the first time in history next season when they compete in the "Dual in Detroit" — two 70-lap championship point races on Belle Isle.
And to make matters more interesting, the races are scheduled for June 1 and 2, a week after the Indianapolis 500.
"It's going to be interesting to see how it works," said Oriol Servia, who drives for Panther, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. "I like the idea because I love racing."
The challenge facing the drivers is twofold:
*First, the car. A wreck on Day 1 could knock a driver out Day 2. Plus, crews must prepare for two days of high-voltage racing instead of one.
"How will the drivers run that first race?" Servia said. "Will they be a little more conservative? If you take a chance and wreck, you could be taking yourself out of two races."
*Then there's the mental and physical aspect of racing consecutive days, especially on a challenging course which has limited opportunities for passing.
"The physical aspect should be interesting," Servia said. "We're usually sore on Mondays, but we're just going to have to get back in the car and do it again. And, it's going to be the same way for the crews, too. We push hard to get ready and then have that release of energy after the race because of all the tension that's built up.
"Recharging to do it the next day will be a new dynamic."
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard wanted maximum exposure for the series, and believes events such as "The Dual in Detroit" are a great start. The 19-race series also will have doubleheader weekends July 13-14 in Toronto and Oct. 5-6 in Houston.
"What a terrific weekend this is going to be in the Motor City," said Bud Denker, chairman of the Detroit Grand Prix.
Bernard's decision to give the Detroit Grand Prix the first doubleheader in series history shows his respect for Roger Penske and Denker and their dedication to improving the event.
The pair helped spur the $1 million renovation of the track, which hit some problems in last year's race when sections of the concrete track broke in Turns 5-12. After a two-hour delay, Scott Dixon won the shortened race (60 laps; scheduled for 90).