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SBD/June 3, 2013/Events and Attractions
Detroit IndyCar Event Gets Positive Reviews; Some Drivers Not Doubleheader Fans
Published June 3, 2013
DOUBLE TROUBLE? In Detroit, Angelique Chengelis writes the doubleheader format for the event, which was a first for IndyCar, "received mixed reviews." Driver Dario Franchitti said, "I'm not a fan of the doubleheader. I think the spectacle is always on Sunday afternoon. I think (with two races) it muddies the water a little bit." Driver Scott Dixon said, "I don't think it's something we need to do all the time. It's been a long time since I've done multiple races in one weekend, so it's nice if you have a bad day and you can try to bounce back" (DETROIT NEWS, 6/3). Meanwhile, IndyCar team Owner A.J. Foyt said that the doubleheader format is a "winner for race fans." In Detroit, Mark Fogarty notes while Foyt "sees the appeal for spectators, the move to twin IndyCar races over two days increases the risk of a big damage bill." Foyt said, “I think it’s a better show for the fans, but it’s not better for the owners." Foyt, who "admits that his team is a break-even operation at best, doesn’t like doubling the likelihood of costly crashes." Foyt said, “It could cost you up to $200,000-$300,000 very easy" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 6/3). Speed's Robin Miller said of the doubleheader, "The drivers first said, 'Ahhh, two races back-to-back. That's too hard on us.' Believe me, these guys are in good shape. They raced about as hard as you can on a street course and thankfully, Roger Penske put this course back the way it used to be for the CART days where you could really race" ("Wind Tunnel," Speed, 6/2).
LOOKING AHEAD: In Detroit, Doug Guthrie notes plans already have "begun to take shape for the Belle Isle Grand Prix's return next year and beyond." Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said, "I have to have a good sit-down with Roger Penske to talk about the future of this event and how much it does for our city. This event shows us to the world in such a different light than all the negative news we have faced." Guthrie notes while ABC/ESPN cameras "captured dramatic views of the cityscape backing the action on the track, they also showed the grandstands that were nowhere near filled for the second rain-threatened day in a row." But the corporate entertainment chalets "were filled." Plans already are "in place to increase that business." Double-decker chalets will "replace the big grandstands between the pits and garage area, creating elevated suites that will overlook the start, finish and pit stop action." Chevrolet and Cadillac had a "huge presence at the event and will be back next year along with Honda." The "massive front pit-side grandstands will be moved to another location on the track, perhaps into the shady picnic area that flanks the new straightaway" (DETROIT NEWS, 6/3).