It was quite a twin bill on Belle Isle

A year ago, Belle Isle Grand Prix chairman Bud Denker stood at the main exit and apologized to fans for a calamitous afternoon of long delays and endless road repair.

Sunday, Denker thanked everyone for coming.

And the fans thanked him back. It was a great show," Denker said, admittedly breathing a sigh of relief. “The mood is 180 degrees different than what it was at this same time a year ago. The drivers loved the new layout. There was plenty of action, especially on the new straightaway. The aerial television views of Detroit were spectacular."

Denker said he received several texts from business associates in Europe on Sunday.

“They kept texting ‘That’s Detroit?’ It looked nothing like what they’ve been told."

Let’s face it. This year was more about restoring confidence in the basic execution of running a race. They more than easily cleared that hurdle.

Dual in Detroit 2 runner-up James Jakes also thanked Denker for the track upgrades.

“It was awesome," Jakes told Denker.

Jakes offered some suggestions to Denker for next year, such as widening Turn 4 a little more. Denker told Jakes some of the changes that he already was thinking about, barely minutes after the race. Denker plans on making significant alterations to Turn 5.

Pleased but far from complacent, Belle Isle Grand Prix organizers won’t bask in the glow of a very successful race weekend for too long.

“We’re just as determined coming out of this race as we were last year, but it’s for entirely different reasons," Denker said. “It was important that we bounced back this time. But now, it’s about pushing this forward in making it one of the premier events on the circuit. Our initial plan was to make more upgrades for 2014. But it was most important this time that we recovered from last year’s struggles."

Denker spent much of last year’s Grand Prix on Sunday filling in potholes on the track, getting down on his hands and knees, attempting feverishly to make the course at the very least, passable. It got so bad a year ago that Denker required a police escort off the island to get to a nearby warehouse to stockpile as much synthetic rubber polymer as possible so that they could finish the race after only two-thirds of the projected laps. Detroit Free Press

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