Firestone Indy Lights debut in Detroit puts all teams on even footing
There aren't too many venues on the 2012 Firestone Indy Lights schedule where the entire field is visiting a new circuit, but the Raceway at Belle Isle Park - site of the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix - is one of them.
"Going to a new track is always a unique experience," Younessi Racing driver Peter Dempsey said. "I am not a big track walking person, but with new tracks I always tend to do at least two track walks. You really learn a lot more in your first two laps of driving the car."
The 2.07-mile course is set in Belle Isle Park -- the largest island park in the United States-- and features 14 diverse turns known for their bumps and changes in surface.
The IZOD IndyCar Series returns to the circuit for the first time since 2008. Firestone Indy Lights has never raced at the venue while under INDYCAR sanction.
"Watching some of the old Belle Isle race videos, the track doesn't seem as tight as some of the other street courses," Dempsey said. "I am very excited heading into Detroit, new tracks always level out the competition, and being with a new team at Younessi Racing, that's exactly what we need."
Coming out of Indianapolis, the series has a new points leader. Esteban Guerrieri of Sam Schmidt Motorsports jumped from third to first in the championship hunt after a come-from-behind win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Freedom 100. The Argentinean started in 18th position and worked his way up the field, completing a daring pass for the lead before an incident behind him caused the race to finish under yellow.
Close behind him is teammate Tristan Vautier, last season's Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear champion and winner of the Firestone Indy Lights season debut in St. Petersburg. Sebastian Saavedra, who missed a podium finish for the first time this season in Indianapolis, is third in the standings.