If anybody got the worst of the deteriorating track conditions that overshadowed last year’s IZOD IndyCar Series event at Detroit’s Belle Isle Park, it was Andretti Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe. Problems with the track surface had been noticed very early in the race, but the event proceeded along until Hinchcliffe slammed the Turn 6 tire barriers on Lap 39 (pictured) after a large piece of sealant that had been pulled up from the track got stuck in his No. 27 GoDaddy Chevrolet.
The incident left the normally cheerful Canadian extremely agitated.
“The [expletive] track just came up,” Hinchcliffe yelled over radio communications with his team that were captured in last year’s TV broadcast. “They leave that big piece of track just sitting there, and look what happened! What the [expletive]?”
However, Hinchcliffe maintains that he is looking forward to a return to the Motor City this weekend and has been pleased with the effort by Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit organizers to revitalize the Belle Isle circuit – which includes a longer re-configuration of the track. He visited Belle Isle earlier this season to check out the improvements for himself.
“Obviously, last year wasn’t the best race for us, but having visited the site earlier this year and seeing the renovations and the updates, I really can’t wait to get back,” he said.
“The organization there has done an incredible job revamping the place after the event last year and the new configuration, I think, is going to suit our cars and our racing a whole lot better.”
As for the matter of taking on IndyCar’s first-ever doubleheader weekend – the series will stage 70-lap events this Saturday and Sunday – Hinchcliffe admitted that while he wasn’t sure how it would work out, he recognizes the need to provide more excitement and value for the fans.
“When you put [the track improvements] together with the fact that it’s the first doubleheader, it something that we know nothing about,” he continued. “I’d be lying if I didn’t have some apprehension about it, but at the same time, new things bring excitement. Looking forward to getting there and seeing how this new format unfolds.
“More than anything, hopefully it’s a good show for the fans because that’s what it’s all about.”
Hinchcliffe currently sits fifth in the championship, 40 markers behind teammate and new IndyCar points leader Marco Andretti.