Fast Facts: Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit

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Courtesy of INDYCAR PR, here’s all you need to know heading into this weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series doubleheader at Detroit:

Track: Raceway at Belle Isle Park, a 2.35-mile, 14-turn temporary street course (clockwise)
Race distance: 70 laps / 164.5 miles (Both races)
Entry List:  Chevrolet Dual in Detroit (PDF)
Push-to-pass parameters: 10 activations for 15 seconds each (Both races)
Firestone tire allotment: Eight sets primary, three sets alternate (Weekend)
Twitter: @DetroitGP @IndyCar, #DetroitGP, #IndyCar
Event website: www.DetroitGP.com
INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com
2014 race winners: Will Power (Race #1) and Helio Castroneves (Race #2)
2014 Verizon P1 Award winners: Helio Castroneves (Race #1) 1:17.5362, 109.11 mph; Takuma Sato (Race #2) 1:16.1371 111.115 mph
Qualifying lap record: Takuma Sato 1:16.1371 111.115 mph, June 1, 2014

ABC race broadcasts: Race #1: Saturday, May 30 (3:30 p.m. ET). Race #2: Sunday, May 31 (3:30 p.m. ET)

Allen Bestwick is the lead announcer for ESPN on ABC broadcasts for the second consecutive year alongside analysts Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever Jr. Rick DeBruhl, Dr. Jerry Punch and Jon Beekhuis are the pit reporters.

Radio broadcasts: Paul Page is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton. Qualifying and all Verizon IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 212, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR 15 app. Verizon IndyCar Series practice sessions are available on IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR 15 app.

Video streaming: All practice sessions for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season and this weekend’s qualifying sessions (Race #1: 3:40 p.m. ETMay 29 and Race #2: 11:25 a.m. ETMay 31) will be available on RaceControl.IndyCar.com.

INDYCAR 15 app: The Verizon INDYCAR 15 app has been enhanced with new features to keep fans in the know of the latest race-day action. Exclusive features of the INDYCAR 15 app for Verizon Wireless customers will stream live through the app and include interactive 3D Live View with real-time leaderboard and car telemetry to see where a fan’s favorite driver is positioned, leaderboard with enhanced 2D marching ants and car telemetry, in-car camera video streams from cameras that move 360 degrees and driver-pit crew chatter as drivers talk strategy with their pit crews during the race.

At-track schedule (all times local): 
Friday, May 29
10:35-11:50 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice
3:40-4:55 p.m. – Three rounds of Verizon IndyCar Series knockout qualifications (live-streamed on RaceControl.IndyCar.com)

Saturday, May 30
8:55-9:25 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice
3:30 p.m. – ABC on air
3:50 p.m. – Chevrolet Dual in Detroit #1 green flag, 70 laps/164.5 miles (ABC, live).

Sunday, May 31
10:20 a.m. – Systems check
11:25 a.m.-11:55 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series group qualifications, two groups, 15 minutes each (live-streamed on RaceControl.IndyCar.com)
3:30 p.m. – ABC on air
3:50 p.m. – Chevrolet Dual in Detroit #2 green flag, 70 laps/164.5 miles (ABC, live).

Race notes:
* The Chevrolet Dual in Detroit will be the 18th and 19th Indy car races conducted at The Raceway at Belle Isle Park and the 21st and 22nd Indy car races held in Detroit. A 2.5-mile street circuit in Detroit hosted CART events from 1989-1991.

* Castroneves has won three times at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park, the most by an Indy car driver at the track. Castroneves won his first Indy car race at the track in 2000. He’s also won there in 2001 and Race #2 in 2014. Other previous Belle Isle winners entered include Tony Kanaan (2007), Scott Dixon (2012), Simon Pagenaud (2013, Race #2) and Will Power (2014, Race #1).

* There have been 12 different pole winners in the previous 17 races. Pole winners entered in this year’s race are: Takuma Sato (2014, Race #2), Castroneves (2001, 2007 and 2014, Race #1), Dixon (2008 and 2012) and Juan Pablo Montoya (1999 and 2000).

* Three drivers have won the race from the pole: Dixon (2012), Castroneves (2001) and Robby Gordon (1995).

* The driver who has gone on to win the championship has won at Detroit four times. Will Power won Race #2 in 2014, Alex Zanardi won on Belle Isle in 1998, Bobby Rahal won at Belle Isle in 1992 and Emerson Fittipaldi won in downtown Detroit in 1989.

* Since 1995, seven drivers have won the seventh race of the season and also won the championship. They are: Dario Franchitti (2009, Iowa), Dixon (2008, Texas and 2003, Richmond), Sebastien Bourdais (2005, Edmonton), Sam Hornish Jr. (2006, Richmond), Cristiano da Matta (2002, Chicago), Greg Ray (1999, Dover), Kenny Brack (1998, Charlotte) and Tony Stewart (1997, Charlotte). Ten drivers have won the eighth race of the season and also won the championship. They are: Franchitti (2011, Milwaukee; 2007, Iowa), Bourdais (2007, Edmonton; 2005, San Jose), Hornish (2006, Kansas; 2002, Richmond), Kanaan (2004, Nashville), da Matta (2002, Toronto), Buddy Lazier (2000, Kentucky), Gil de Ferran (2000, Portland), Ray (1999, Pikes Peak), Alex Zanardi (1998, Detroit) and Brack (1998, Pikes Peak).

* Castroneves has competed in 11 previous races at Belle Isle, most of any driver. Thirteen drivers entered have led laps at the track (Castroneves 247, Montoya 117, Dixon 79, Kanaan 30, Power 26, Ryan Hunter-Reay 20, Pagenaud 18, Graham Rahal 10, Sato 10, James Jakes 4, Charlie Kimball 3, Marco Andretti 1 and Jack Hawksworth 1).

* The Chevrolet Dual in Detroit will be the sixth and seventh races on a road/street course in 2015. The first five races were won by Montoya (St. Petersburg), James Hinchcliffe (NOLA), Dixon (Long Beach), Josef Newgarden (Barber) and Power (Grand Prix of Indianapolis).

* There have been five different winners in six Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2015: Montoya (Streets of St. Petersburg and Indianapolis 500), Hinchcliffe (NOLA Motorsports Park), Dixon (Streets of Long Beach), Newgarden (Barber Motorsports Park) and Power (Grand Prix of Indianapolis). In 2014, there were a record-tying 11 different race winners. Dixon’s win at Long Beach on April 19 gave him sole possession of fifth on the all-time Indy car victory list with 36. He is the active leader in wins.

* Dixon’s Indianapolis 500 pole ended a streak that saw drivers from Team Penske start from pole position in the previous five races in 2015. Castroneves (Long Beach and Barber) and Power (St. Petersburg and GP of Indianapolis) earned Verizon P1 Awards through knockout qualifying. Montoya started on pole at NOLA by virtue of the entrant point standings entering that race, after qualifications were cancelled by rain.

* At least five drivers will compete in their first Verizon IndyCar Series races at the Raceway at Belle Isle: Gabby Chaves, Stefano Coletti, Conor Daly, Luca Filippi and Sage Karam.

* Kanaan seeks to start his 240th and 241st consecutive races, which would extend his Indy car-record streak that began in 2001 at Portland. Kanaan’s last missed start came at Belle Isle in 2001, when he sustained a concussion in a practice crash. Teammate Scott Dixon has made 181 consecutive starts.

* Kanaan made his 300th career Indy car start in the Indianapolis 500, becoming the eighth Indy car driver to reach the milestone. Kanaan joined Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Jr., Al Unser, Michael Andretti, Johnny Rutherford and Castroneves, the latter reaching the feat at the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9.

* The 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season marked the competition debut of aerodynamic bodywork kits designed, manufactured and supplied by Chevrolet and Honda. Cars are differentiated by their shape as the manufacturers have designed separate aero kit specifications for road and street course/short ovals and superspeedways for the Dallara IR-12 chassis. References to the cars will incorporate the name of the corresponding manufacturer. The superspeedway versions of the kits made their competition debut at the Indianapolis 500.

New schedule has Josef Newgarden seeing double (points) again in 2020

Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
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Two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden of Team Penske believes the latest revised schedule for 2020 will change his approach to the season.

The new schedule has the defending IndyCar champion looking at ways to double the possibilities for a second consecutive championship.

“When I look at the whole schedule they released now, I look at it as double-points as a whole in all of them,” Newgarden told NBCSports.com Monday. “Iowa is double points on a short oval. There are double points at the Indy GP because there are two races and a road course. Then double points at Laguna, which is a different road course than IMS. And there is double points in the Indianapolis 500.”

IndyCar announced to team owners two weeks ago that the season finale (once scheduled for Laguna Seca and now at St. Petersburg) will no longer be a double-points event. But Monday’s schedule revision essentially adds three double points-style races to the Indy 500’s double-points format, Newgarden said.

“Those are four events where you have to be quite strong,” Newgarden said. “They are all very different from each other. Each one is critical to get right. Iowa has a chance to be the most difficult. From a physical standpoint, it’s already a physical track for one race. To double it up on one weekend will be quite the toll for the drivers.

“It will be a very big test physically to see who will get that weekend right. You can bag a lot of points because of it.”

Just 12 days after the first schedule revision, IndyCar officials announced another revised schedule Monday because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The new schedule features doubleheader weekends at Iowa Speedway in July and Laguna Seca in September. There is an additional race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course Oct. 3.

That race will be known as the IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix. It will be the second time in Indianapolis Motor Speedway history that an IndyCar race is held in the fall. The only other time was the Harvest Auto Racing Classic, a series of three races won by Johnny Aitken on Sept. 9, 1916.

The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix scheduled for May 30-31 will be dropped from the 2020 schedule. Michigan has a “Stay at Home” order that won’t be lifted in time to start construction of the Belle Isle street course.

Penske Entertainment CEO Mark Miles said the Detroit event will return in 2021.

The IMS road course essentially will have a doubleheader spaced out by nearly three months. The first race will be the GMR IndyCar Grand Prix on July 4, and the second will be Oct. 3 in the Harvest Grand Prix.

The extra doubleheaders combined with the loss of Detroit gives IndyCar a 15-race schedule for 2020. It started out as a 17-race campaign, but April’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, the Acura Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the AutoNation IndyCar Classic at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) have been canceled. The season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is being revived as the season finale on a TBA weekend in October.

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Newgarden also is excited about the chance to run at Indianapolis for three major races in one season. Of course, that all depends on how soon IndyCar can return to action because of the global pandemic.

“I’m continually excited about the thought of getting back to the race track,” Newgarden said. “We would love to be there now, but we can’t. With the current situation, everyone is trying to do the best they can to pitch in and do their part so we can get back to the track as quickly as possible.

“I’m excited to get back to racing at some point in the future. To see that is planned to start at Texas is still great. IndyCar has done a great job staying active and fluid with the ever-changing dynamics and current situation.

“We have three opportunities at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There are a lot of chances to get it right at the Mecca of our sport.

“I have a lot of trust and faith in IndyCar and Roger, and they are doing their best to stay on top of the situation.”

The one downer to the revised schedule is the loss of the Detroit doubleheader, a very important weekend to Team Penske because Roger Penske also owns the Detroit race. It’s a chance to showcase the series in front of as “Motor City” crowd, which is also the home to the Penske Corp.

“It’s a shame that we miss any event this year,” Newgarden said. “As a racer, you look forward to each one of them. If any of them drop off, it’s a tough pill. Detroit is more so because it is such an important race for us at Team Penske. It’s in our backyard for Penske Corp. Also, our relationship with Chevrolet, how much they put I that event and try to get it right for everybody involved. It’s tough to not have a go at that this year.

“I think of the volunteers. The Detroit weekend is so well run and executed with such a positive momentum behind it for the last eight years that I’ve gone there. I’ve always enjoyed that weekend off the back of the Indy 500.

“It’s a shame we will miss that this year, but I look forward to getting back there in 2021 and getting it started again.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500