Fresh off an exciting Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 25, the Verizon IndyCar Series quickly switches things up with two races on the 2.36-mile, 13-turn temporary street course at Detroit’s Belle Isle Park this weekend. The Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit features two 70-lap features, one each on Saturday and Sunday, May 31 and June 1 – the second year of doubleheaders in the series, and the second time Detroit has opened up the doubleheader season, which also includes races at Houston in June and Toronto in July.
Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay has proven an impressive driver on both road courses and ovals this season, as he also has a win at Barber Motorsports Park on his resume for the 2014 season. Hunter-Reay finished second in the first Dual race last season, his best finish in the six doubleheader events, and this season also has two second-place finishes at St. Petersburg and the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
Helio Castroneves has had good luck in Detroit since his days in CART. Castroneves climbed his first fence – hence his nickname of “Spiderman” – in Detroit in 2000, then took a second-straight win in 2001; he finished fifth and eighth in last year’s inaugural doubleheader. The 2014 season has had some ups and downs for the Team Penske driver, who has two third-place finishes (St. Pete GP and Indy GP) sandwiched around finishes of 11th (Long Beach) and 19th (Barber); he also picked up a heartbreaking runner-up finish in the Indy 500, losing the lead in the closing laps while seeking his fourth win in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
This year’s other winners – Will Power, Mike Conway and Simon Pagenaud – are all victors on road or street courses, all with very different results in Detroit over the seasons. St. Petersburg winner Power, who has earned all but two of his 20 career IndyCar wins on road or street course, has a best finish of fourth at Detroit (2012), and last season finished eighth and 20th in the doubleheader. Conway, who won at Long Beach this season for Ed Carpenter Racing, has three starts and three top 10 finishes at Belle Isle, including a win in the first race of the doubleheader last season. Pagenaud, winner of this season’s inaugural Indy GP, took his first career IndyCar victory last season in Detroit’s second race; he finished 12th in the first race and third in 2012.
Qualifying for the first race of the Dual in Detroit takes place Saturday, May 31 at 8:35 a.m. ET, with the race going green at 3:30 p.m. ET. Qualifying for Dual No. 2 is Sunday, June 1 at 10 a.m. ET, followed by the race at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Source: “Fast Facts: Motor City hosts first Verizon IndyCar Series twinbill of 2014,” IndyCar Media, May 27, 2014