DETROIT ( Associated Press) — Helio Castroneves won his first race on Belle Isle, his seventh start for Team Penske, and originally in the backyard of boss Roger Penske.
Castroneves celebrated that victory by getting out of his car and climbing a fence around a temporary roadway. Spider-Man’s climb became his signature, and Castroneves has climbed the fence three separate times at the Detroit Grand Prix.
As the Detroit Grand Prix prepares to exit Belle Isle after Sunday’s race, Castroneves wants to climb that inaugural 2000 fence one last time.
“It could be the same fence,” Castroneves said. “This place, I’ve been coming here for a long time. But things change. I’m glad that at least I’m here for the last race. I’d love to have my first win here and my last win too.”
The Detroit Grand Prix began in 1982 as a downtown street race for Formula One and closed its seven-year run with three consecutive victories by Ayrton Senna. But F1 acceptance fees were exorbitant and promoters rebranded the race to CART, a US-based open-wheel series at the time.
That three-year run ended in 1991 and the event moved to a 2.35-mile temporary course called Belle Isle Raceway the following year. The circuit is located on a 982-acre island park in the Detroit River and even though it is a narrow and bumpy trail, drivers love it.
“I’m going to miss Belle Isle. It’s a place that has a lot of character,” said Pato O’Ward, who is second in the IndyCar standings and won his first IndyCar win at Belle Isle last year Was.
“If you describe the IndyCar Series, I think this track best describes it. It’s very old school, very raw. It takes a lot of commitment from the driver to get a lap out of this place.” .
Penske lives in suburban Detroit and the race is promoted by his group. They decided last year that Sunday would be the final race on Belle Isle and the Detroit Grand Prix would move to a new downtown street course that would use elements of the original F1 layout.
Belle Isle will again become a public park after Sunday’s run.
Joseph Newgarden wins pole for Sunday’s race And the manufacturer could give Chevrolet a milestone win in its backyard.
Chevrolet is the title sponsor for the Detroit Grand Prix and the race is run in the shadow of its offices inside GM’s Detroit Renaissance Center Global Headquarters. A win at Newgarden or any Chevy driver would give the Botti brand its 100th win since its return to IndyCar competition in 2012.
“Obviously this is a special race for Chevrolet and we want to do a great job for them,” Newgarden said. “I think he’s already done tremendously well for us. If you look at our performance across the board, it’s hard to ask for much. We shouldn’t just keep it for this weekend. But for the rest of the year. For.”
Chevrolet drivers have won four of six IndyCar races this season, but Honda drivers have won the last two, including last week’s Indianapolis 500.
top rookie flap
Jimmy Johnson was speeding every day in the Indianapolis 500 and considered a legitimate threat to win at the start of his race. But he was never a contender and his late crash brought a red flag that forced Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Marcus Ericsson to put in extra work to maintain his own Indy 500 victory.
Johnson, who called the race “the biggest rush ever”, finished a disappointing 28th. He is starting 22 drivers out of 26 this week.
Johnson’s indie performance was still enough to earn him the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Award—an honor that ranked the loser. David Malukas, a 20-year-old rookie for Del Coin Racing, was the highest finishing rookie in the seven-driver class in 16th place.
malukaso posted his disappointment on twitter As Johnson accepts the award during the post-Indy 500 ceremony on Monday. A firestorm then ensued – Johnson joined Fernando Alonso as high-profile drivers to win rookie awards in recent years – in which Indianapolis Motor Speedway again explained the criterion of honor:
“The Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Award should be presented to the driver who has performed at the Indianapolis 500 with the most distinction among first-year drivers. Criteria include practice, qualifying and on-track performance in races, media and fan interactions , sportsmanship, and a positive impact on the Indy 500.”
Based on that, Johnson thought he was the winner.
Johnson said, “Criteria are written for a reason and in my case I know there was some ruckus about winning Rookie of the Year at Indy, but as I studied the criteria, I think I’m one was a worthy recipient.”
Johnson was in a class with Malukas, Devlin DeFrancesco, Romain Grosjean, Callum Ilot, Kyle Kirkwood, Christian Lundgaard and Malukas. Johnson posted eye-popping pace in practice and qualifying, was the second-highest rookie qualifier, and was sent on “The Tonight Show” by IndyCar to promote the race with Jimmy Fallon.
Meanwhile, Malukas was Awarded an individual trophy created by his Del Coin Racing team When the youngest driver in the IndyCar field came to the Detroit Grand Prix. He finished a career-best sixth for Sunday’s race, and there’s no denying that the Indy snub was inspiration.
“Definitely. It was in the back of my mind,” Malukas said. “It’s building confidence, which makes me push a little harder.”
Johnson, who lost the NASCAR Rookie of the Year Battle of the Year to Ryan Newman in 2002, sympathized with the Malukas’ thugs. Johnson won three races in his NASCAR rookie season and lost the award to Newman, who won once and finished one place below Johnson in the standings, but four to six poles for Johnson.
Johnson called for the criteria to be clearly stated before the race in future years.
“Ultimately, that is where the responsibility lies,” he said. “I was learning as Monday’s awards came out, and I didn’t understand it all myself. So I think someone dropped the ball trying to explain how rookie of the year is awarded.”
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