The close-quarters nature of racing at Detroit’s Belle Isle Park proved very problematic for Sebastian Saavedra, who went into the Turn 5 tire barriers after contact with Marco Andretti on Lap 33 of today’s first Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit race.
Shortly after the race went under a full-course yellow, Saavedra was found standing in the cockpit of the No. 6 Dragon Racing Chevrolet when he apparently spotted Andretti going by. Television cameras then caught the Colombian driver throwing his arms up and delivering two emphatic middle fingers, presumably toward the third-generation racer.
INDYCAR Race Control reviewed the contact between Saavedra and Andretti but chose to take no action.
“It’s just frustrating to see that Marco keeps doing these dirty moves and as usual, nothing is done to him,” said Saavedra shortly afterwards. “It’s just a very frustrating day. We were very strong. We were up there. Great strategy from the guys. The car was perfect. And he just punched me out. It’s just a very unfortunate situation for the [team].”
Andretti wasn’t having a great day at the time of his run-in with Saavedra, and it didn’t get much better after it, either. He had more contact, this time with Charlie Kimball, on Lap 47 and needed to pit for repairs on his left front tow link and front nose cone. That cost him three laps and he wound up 20th at the finish, causing him to fall out of the IZOD IndyCar Series championship lead.
Fortunately, Andretti and Saavedra have appeared to bury the hatchet on Twitter as of this evening.
Andretti: “Wasn’t our day. Bent toe link so was holding on.Sorry to @sebsaavedra , I tried to back out but was already committed.Will be back tomorrow!”
Saavedra: “@MarcoAndretti apology accepted. Not the best corner for that pass bro. We good.”
The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.
IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.
This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.
INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists
IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.
“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.
“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.