The third year of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, run by Roger Penske and his entire organization and set in the backdrop of General Motors headquarters, really couldn’t have gone much better to plan for the host team and manufacturer.
Chevrolet swept the pair of Verizon IndyCar Series races, the aptly named Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans. After going 0-for-3 in the first three IndyCar races on site in Detroit in 2012 and 2013, this was a needed bounce back.
In 2012 and 2013, Honda took eight of the nine podium positions. The 2012 and second 2013 races saw a Honda podium sweep, and the only Chevrolet podium was Ryan Hunter-Reay finishing second in-between Dale Coyne Racing teammates Mike Conway and Justin Wilson in 2013 Dual 1.
But five of six podium positions this weekend went to Chevy drivers. Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet) and Tony Kanaan (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet) were first and third on Saturday with Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet), Power and Charlie Kimball (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet) completing the first podium sweep by any manufacturer in the first seven races of the season.
Chevrolet also took a win with the Dallara-chassied and Corvette-bodied Daytona Prototype, driven by brothers Jordan and Ricky Taylor (No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing) in Saturday’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Chevrolet Sports Car Classic. A second Corvette DP, the Coyote-chassied entry of Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante (No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing), finished second.
Cadillac swept the pair of Pirelli World Challenge races, the Cadillac V-Series Challenge presented by the Metro Detroit Cadillac Dealers, with Johnny O’Connell scoring both GT and overall race wins in his No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R. Teammate Andy Pilgrim finished second on Sunday to make it three podium finishes out of a possible four attempts; O’Connell has now won five of the six GT races at Detroit since the event came on board in 2012.
The best person to sum up the banner weekend from GM’s side was Jim Campbell, vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports, after GM products completed a sweep of five wins in five total races spread over the three series, at the only race where GM sponsors the event.
“Racing and performance are important parts of our heritage,” he said. “For Chevrolet and Cadillac to combine to win five races this weekend, right here in our own backyard, demonstrates the preparation, teamwork, determination and never-give-up attitude by our Chevrolet and Cadillac teams.”