IndyCar: Detroit GP estimates 110,000 fans over weekend

8 Comments

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.”

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
Leave a comment

As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”