Dixon Survives Torn-Up Track To Win At Belle Isle
The IndyCar Series’ return Sunday to the Belle Isle street course in Detroit will be memorable, but probably not in the way promoters had hoped.
The race was won by Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, who led flag to flag. But in between flags, Dixon and the rest of the drivers had to sit and wait as massive repairs were made to the surface of the track.
“Feels great,” Dixon, who had finished as runner-up three times in 2012, said. “Fantastic day and just really happy right now.”
Dario Franchitti, who restarted fourth with 10 laps to go after a rain-influenced Helio Castroneves spin brought out a caution flag, finished second to give the Ganassi team a 1-2 finish.
“Just fabulous,” team owner Chip Ganassi said.
A week ago, the Ganassi cars also went 1-2 as Franchitti won the Indianapolis 500 and Dixon finished
Simon Pagenaud of Schmidt/Hamilton finished third. That gave Honda engines the entire podium.
Will Power of Team Penske fourth in his Chevrolet-powered Dallara.
Fifth was Oriol Servia.
Rounding out the top 10 were Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Charlie Kimball, Mike Conway and Alex Tagliani.
The race was red flagged for over two hours when large chunks of asphalt came up. Pieces of asphalt and the holes that were left when they were dislodged damaged the cars of several of the teams. Perhaps the worst damage was suffered by the Andretti Autosport car of James Hinchcliffe crashed as a result of the problem.
“The holes in the track were enormous,” Hinchcliffe said after getting out of his car.
“I have never seen anything quite like this. We saw (the track surface) starting to come up early. They had the debris flags down in Turn 5 and Turn 9. These giant pieces of this tar that had been ripped up, I guess there was nothing they could do about it so they just let us keep running. It was like playing Russian Roulette and I just pulled the bullet. I came through Turn 6 and a new chunk ripped up. It had a big chunk of concrete attached to the bottom of it. It flipped under the car, lifted the front wheels off the ground and that was it – I was just a passenger.”
After the track was repaired, the race was restarted by the length of the event was shortened to 60 laps. Fifteen of the laps were run after the restart.
But many of those were run under caution after the series of late-race spins brought out yellow flags.
Despite the problems with the track, several drivers were happy that the series returned to Detroit after a four-yeara hiatus.
“We need to be here,” Franchitti said. “It’s the motor city.”
(This story will be updated shortly)No Comment