IndyCar: Sunday Morning Update from the Detroit Grand Prix

It is race day in Detroit and the first race back on the streets of downtown since 1991. The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear will start at 3:30 pm local time.  Temperatures should be a bit cooler today than yesterday, reaching a high of only 78 degrees.  Much better than the first two days of 90 degrees.

The NTT INDYCAR Series made some changes at the track on Saturday to help the drivers.  The pit entrance had a bright yellow banner installed on it with arrows pointing to the pit lane.  The start zone is indicated by cones.  The pit exit line was shortened by approximately three feet and the pit/track delineation line was angled three feet to the drivers’ left.


Gold’s First Win     Photo courtesy of Penske Entertainment: James Black

Rookie Reece Gold earned his first win in the INDY NXT by Firestone Race  on Saturday.  Driving the No 10 HMD Motorsports with DCR car, Gold passed his teammate, Nolan Siegel, after the No 39 HMD Motorsports with DCR car slowed on track with only two turns to go before the checkered flag.

Simon Pagenaud

Simon Pagenaud

Meyer Shank Racing’s Simon Pagenaud will have his best season start of eighth today, after missing the Firestone Fast Six by just .126 seconds.  Today will be MSR’s 100th IndyCar start.

The Frenchman described his thoughts after his qualifying run.  “It’s awesome to be fast and be running up front with everybody where we belong. I’m glad we could show it during qualifying. We had some issues Friday night, the guys worked late and fixed it and I am really happy to reward them with this P8. It’s an interesting track, it’s so technical, you have to hit everything perfect with the bumps and there’s a lot of activity inside the car. I think we have a really good chance in the race as long as we stay clean and make it to the end.”

Andretti duo hit the wall

Two of Andretti Autosport’s drivers, Colton Herta and Kyle Kirkwood, hit the concrete barriers in qualifying Saturday and broke their suspension.

“Unfortunately, our session ended prematurely after I made contact with the wall,” said Colton Herta.

A disappointed Colton Herta. The weekend went from bad to worse as he watches his chances to ever qualify for a F1 Super License go out the window.

“We’ll have to come from a long way back. Hopefully, we can push through the field and get a good result.”

“I’m disappointed for the crew,” said Kirkwood.

“That was a pole-winning car, no doubt – the AutoNation Honda has been on rails all weekend. I barely touched the wall, I touched it way harder in all the practices.

“The angle the wall was right there – I caught the point, and it just ripped the front off the car. If the wall was rounded, that wouldn’t have happened.

An accident not of his doing in the Indy 500, and yesterday’s accident that was Kyle Kirkwood’s fault, has derailed his 2023 season.  Photo courtesy of Penske Entertainment/James Black

“Unfortunate for the guys, but it was my mistake. Starting further back Sunday now, and we’ll have to see what the day brings.”

Bring Back Belle Isle

This downtown street circuit is so bad IndyCar should be embarrassed to even consider racing on it.

Pole sitter Alex Palou said it best, “It’s too tight for Indy cars.  It’s too short for Indy cars. There’s too much traffic.  It’s too bumpy.”

Palou mirrored much of the private sentiment his fellow competitors shared about the concrete canyon that is likely to result is spins, crashes and broken race cars.

The track has only 8,400 grandstand seats. Can we bring back Belle Isle please?

Belle Isle crowd. Belle Isle was not perfect, but it sure beats this joke of a racetrack.

Qualifying Highlights

Lucille Dust and Mark C reporting


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