IndyCar: Detroit GP estimates 110,000 fans over weekend

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We wrote after the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix weekend was in the books that even if there wasn’t a massive turnout of fans, it was still a very successful, well-run weekend as a whole.

Well, for the weekend, there was a very large turnout of fans, per estimates released Wednesday by the event.

Weekend attendance numbers were estimated at 110,000 fans over the course of the three-day event. The estimates included approximately 25,000 fans for Comerica Bank Free Prix Day, just under 40,000 in attendance on Saturday and a little over 45,000 people on Sunday. The total represents the highest attendance since the Grand Prix returned to Detroit in 2007.

“It was a remarkable weekend for everyone at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix,” said Bud Denker, Chairman of the Grand Prix. “The numbers are impressive but the true value was in the smiles on people’s faces as they experienced the event and all that Belle Isle has to offer. Our beautiful waterfront shined like never before. But the true champion here is Belle Isle as the investments and improvements made to the island this year by the Grand Prix will be in place for citizens to use on a daily basis for years to come.”

Denker also paid tribute to General Motors’ domination, sweeping the five races it was entered in.

“Of course, the icing on the top was to have General Motors win five races held during the weekend,” he said. “We want to thank all the fans that came to the event and allowed us to set new attendance records and our sponsors, who made the event possible. Without Chevrolet, Cadillac, Quicken Loans and many others, this event would not occur. Our job now is to make the 2015 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Pix, which will again include two Verizon IndyCar Series races, even better.”

BREAKING: John Force taken to hospital after Phoenix eliminations crash

Photo courtesy NHRA
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16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation and examination following a wicked crash with fellow Funny Car driver Johnnie Lindberg.

The crash occurred during the quarterfinals of Sunday’s final eliminations in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix.

Force was headed for a win when the engine on his Peak Chevrolet Camaro blew up just as it crossed the finish line, destroying the body. Lindberg, meanwhile, lost traction about one-third of the way down-track, but then got back into the gas to try and catch Force.

Force appeared to lose control of the body-less car and went across from the left lane he was in to the right-hand lane, where he hit the retaining wall in front of Lindberg.

Lindberg tried to avoid Force, but couldn’t. To make matters worse, the body on Lindberg’s car then came off and Force’s and Lindberg’s cars got tangled up in Lindberg’s parachute, sending both chassis’ into the left retaining wall.

Lindberg emerged from his Funny Car under his own power and was checked at the medical center before heading back to his pit.

Force, meanwhile, was helped out of his mangled wreck by the NHRA Safety Safari and was transported by ambulance to the hospital due to the severity of the impact.

Even though Force will be credited with the round win, he obviously will not be able to continue for the remainder of the eliminations.

To add insult to injury, NHRA officials charged Force with oiling down the racetrack, his third of the season in just the first two races. That will cost him 15 points in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings and a fine of $4,000.

Here are several posts from social media, including video of the incident from NHRA:

This is the second time Force has had an engine explode and the body blew off in the last two weeks. He also wrecked during the qualifying Feb. 9 for the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Here’s the video of that wreck:

MORE: John Force taken to hospital as a precaution after Funny Car motor explodes.

We’ll update Force’s condition when it becomes available.

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