Detroit GP reports spending increase; tickets on sale for it and Milwaukee today

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We noted on the ground back in June the impact that Roger Penske’s group has made for the revitalization of the Detroit Chevrolet Belle Isle Grand Prix from a corporate perspective. And earlier this week, the event announced there was more than $1 million new spending generated at this year’s doubleheader weekend.

A report done by sports consulting firm Sportsimpacts revealed the Grand Prix generated $46.3 million in total spending. Of that amount, $17 million represents new spending to the region as a result of non-local sources that will be retained long term as new income for Detroit-area households, businesses and government. The direct spending impact, which refers to all spending by local and non-local spectators, participants, and other expenditures towards event operations and infrastructure for the Grand Prix in 2013 was estimated at $28.8 million.

Detroit will host an encore of its doubleheader weekend in 2014, set for May 30-June 1. IndyCar has two races and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and Pirelli World Challenge share the bill. Tickets for the event go on sale today at, and press events with drivers have been tweeted all day via the @DetroitGP Twitter handle.

Tickets also go on sale today for the Milwaukee IndyFest, a fellow Midwestern race on the IndyCar calendar that has shifted its date from June to August, post the Wisconsin State Fair. More information on this race, now renamed the (takes breath) ABC Supply Co., Inc. Wisconsin 250 of Milwaukee IndyFest Presented by the Metro Milwaukee Honda Dealers (exhales), can be found on the race website,

I’ll argue here that clunky race names can be a good thing – Belle Isle’s IndyCar races are called the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans, as well – because it speaks to the excellent work by the Penske and Andretti Sports Marketing organizations to bring in more partners to support races on the IndyCar calendar.

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force has another spectacular motor explosion

Photo courtesy NHRA
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Legendary NHRA Funny Car driver John Force endured yet another spectacular motor explosion – his third in the NHRA’s first three national event races – during Friday’s qualifying at the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

It’s the kind of consistency the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ could do without.

The 68-year-old Force came to Gainesville hoping to break the jinx that saw him endure explosions in both the season-opening Winternationals and the second race of the season in Phoenix.

Both motor explosions sent Force to the hospital for examination before he returned to the race track.

Friday, even though the motor in his Chevrolet Camaro blew up again (in the second round of qualifying), at least this time, Force didn’t wind up in the hospital.

He did have his right hand bandaged from a cut suffered in the explosion, but did not have to go to the hospital this time.

He even joked about not having to add yet another ambulance bill to the nearest Gainesville hospital.

But the explosion still proved costly.

“That was another body and that hurts the financial (bottomline),” Force said. “I was out $500,000 to $600,000, and now we are probably out $800,000, going on a million. In drag racing, you have to be tough.”

He ended the day qualifying 14th, not a very comfortable position with two more rounds of qualifying set for Saturday.

Force continues to be mystified why the motors keep exploding.

“I really thought we had it, I thought we were there,” Force said. “In the first round we drove it 500 feet and shut it off. It looked great. We ran it again that run and I was only going to drive it 800 feet even if we didn’t make The Show.”

Force will attempt to improve his qualifying spot during Saturday’s final two rounds to make Sunday’s eliminations.

Follow @JerryBonkowski