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<< Sports >>

Auto Racing / IZOD IndyCar Series

Friday, 8 June, 2012 7:58 PM

Scott Dixon wins Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix for Chip Ganassi's second consecutive victory

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Confetti falls over the top three finishers at the 2012 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.

 

by Gloria Rzucidlo
gloria1025@yahoo.com

 

 

|

DETROIT -- The Grand Prix on Belle Isle in Detroit was back. What a great day for a race. The temperature was 77 degrees, sunny, with winds from 18-29 mph. Kid Rock joined the festivities and was a passenger next to Helio Castroneves in his Chevrolet Camaro. Rock also got a ride with Mario Andretti in a Racing Experience two-seater.

Many professional athletes and entertainers were on hand for some on-track action. Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, retired Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and Ronnie Dunn from Brooks & Dunn entertained the crowd with a pre-race concert.

The race was scheduled to be 90 laps, however, due to today's track conditions, it was reduced to 60 laps. The street course is 2.07 miles long with 14 turns. The pit road speed limit is 50 mph. The E85 ethanol allotment for today's race is 88.5 gallons.

Mark Reuss, the president of General Motors, North America drove the Chevrolet Corvette 427 Convertible Safety Car. Johnny Rutherford, the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, drove the safety car thereafter. Detroit Lions defensive lineman, Ndamakong Suh, who is 6-foot-4 and 307 pounds, was the race grand marshal and had to settle for a pace car ride.

At 3:43 p.m., Ndamakong Suh said, "Drivers, start your engines." Alex Tagliani's No. 98 car wouldn't start so he was pulled into pit lane. Simona DeSilvestro, driver of the No. 75, stalled on turn eight on the pace lap and was in need of a restart from the safety team. Scott Dixon, driver of the No. 9, took the lead, with Will Power (No. 11) second, and Simon Pagenaud (No. 77) was third.

During lap two, Justin Wilson (No. 18) had a flat right rear tire. The crew reports suspension damage after hitting the wall after the start. Rubens Barrichello (No. 8) retired from the race with a mechanical issue.

About the 24th lap, Dario Franchitti ran into another car and a piece of his car fell off and flew into the air. Dixon and Power remained first and second place. By lap 30, Helio Castroneves moves into third place. Then, Castroneves made a pit stop and Tony Kanaan moved into the third position. Later, Kanaan made a pit stop and Simon Pagenaud got third place back.

The caution flag went up on lap 40 when James Hinchcliffe (No. 27) made contact with the tire barrier in turn seven. Takuma Sato (No. 15) also made contact in turn 12.

During lap 45, the red flag was raised and the race was stopped for track repairs. Apparently the asphalt came apart. Crews pulled a chunk of asphalt out of the road, and replaced it with new. They used leaf blowers to dry the patchwork. Then, race officials were trying to decide on whether to continue the race or end it. The race delay was exactly two hours. After the two-hour delay, they decided to race another 15 more laps for a total of 60 laps for the win.

"Drivers restart your engines," was the command. Graham Rahal (No. 38) had not restarted and stayed in pit lane due to a clutch issue. After the restart, Scott Dixon maintained his edge in first place, Dario Franchitti was in second, and Simon Pagenaud was in third. Dixon was looking for his 28th career win. What a day for Honda. He led all 60 laps winning by 1.9628 seconds. This is Scott Dixon's first win of the 2012 season and his first win at Belle Isle.

Franchitti finished second--his third-straight top-five finish. Simon Pagenaud was third, his second podium finish of the season. He also finished on the podium with second place at Long Beach this year.

At the press conference, Franchitti said he was sick with the flu all weekend. "I take my hat off to the Penske team for fixing the racetrack," he said. "They had to red flag it. I am glad we could finish the race for the fans and TV."

Simon Pagenaud says he had a very good race car. "I think I could have stayed with Dixon....... maybe. (laugh) The second race was exciting and watching Scott was entertaining. Finishing third with these guys is exciting. I hope we come back for many, many years."

Dixon claimed he took his hands off the wheel when it rained, but he kept control. "A clean sweep is always nice. We got great fans here. It's great to be back here in Detroit and I look forward to be back next year."

Related Story: PREVIEW: IndyCar drivers ready to race on Detroit’s Belle Isle next weekend; Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix hosts Free Prix Day Friday

 

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

From left to right: Dario Franchitti (finished second), Scott Dixon (winner) and Simon Pagenaud (finished third).

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The top three finishers wearing Firestone hats

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The Winner's Circle

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Top three finishers wearing IZOD hats

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Honda finished 1-2-3 at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.

 

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