Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, Thursday notes

Photo: Tony DiZinno

DETROIT – A fair number of nuggets gleaned from the Verizon IndyCar Series and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship paddocks here at Belle Isle Park. In no particular order, they’re below:


  • The No. 27 United Fiber & Data/Vernon’s Honda has a slightly new livery – back to the light blue and white colors – and also had a camouflage front wing assembly on display in the paddock.
  • Meanwhile blue and white is also making an appearance on Carlos Munoz’s No. 26 car, which now carries Magneti Marelli primary signage:

  • Conor Daly is running what was Bryan Clauson’s chassis this weekend. Daly, who drove the red, white and blue Honda at the Indianapolis 500, sustained chassis damage that was too much to repair ahead of this weekend and instead will run what was Clauson’s No. 88 Cancer Treatment Centers of America Honda for Dale Coyne Racing. Daly, whose full season entry is the No. 18 Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality Honda, is now back in that black, green and white color combination this weekend.
  • Simon Pagenaud has the green, white and black of Hewlett Packard Enterprise on his No. 22 Team Penske Chevrolet with Helio Castroneves back in Hitachi black-and-white for his No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet. Charlie Kimball also returns to his usual No. 83 after a one-off switch to No. 42 and Mikhail Aleshin resumes in the DOOM car for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. As noted separately, Graham Rahal premieres a dark blue and black car this weekend.
  • It may be an off weekend for the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires series but several drivers are on site in Detroit. Zach Veach and Dalton Kellett are part of the pace car team, which also includes Martin Plowman, Ayla Agren and Gianmarco Raimundo. Additionally, Neil Alberico was on hand as part of today’s Rising Star Racing event with Spencer Pigot, who joins Ed Carpenter Racing for the seven remaining road and street course races this year.


  • Crazy weekend on tap for Michael Shank, who will field his usual No. 60 Ligier JS P2 Honda here in Detroit and has the No. 49 Ligier JS P2 Honda already at Le Mans for the Test Day there on Sunday (what was the Tequila Patron ESM chassis for Daytona and Sebring). The goal, he told NBC Sports, is for John Pew to get his 10 laps. Shank and Ozz Negri, who’s here this weekend, among others, will fly from Detroit to Le Mans – commercial to Paris but a private jet expected from Paris to Le Mans. Pew has been working on Jeff Segal’s simulator in Miami to prepare for the race. Shank has six of his crew over in Le Mans, then five in Detroit, with some of his past No. 6 car crew here in Detroit along with Kevin Doran, who is helping to oversee the effort.
  • Katherine Legge, who deputizes for Pew this weekend, won’t have her own firesuit but instead will wear AJ Allmendinger’s, Shank’s usual Rolex 24 at Daytona extra driver. The two are very good friends.

  • Had a brief catch-up with Mazda Prototype drivers Jonathan Bomarito, Tom Long and Tristan Nunez. Despite a minimum weight addition, the trio (along with Joel Miller, you’d expect) hopes to overachieve on this street course similar to the way they did at Long Beach.
  • Black Swan Racing is a late scratch, business commitments sidelining Tim Pappas and Dutch co-driver, the talented Nick Catsburg. It takes the GTD grid down another car with the No. 540 Porsche 911 GT3 R joining the No. 11 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 from Change Racing – which team owner Robby Benton still hopes to field in a majority of remaining rounds this year – out of the streets of Detroit. Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler share the Lamborghini.
  • A handful of updates schedule wise for the IMSA-sanctioned Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America and Mazda Prototype Lites presented by Cooper Tires:  “Rounds 7 and 8 of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America are rescheduled to Aug. 26-28 during the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) in Danville, Virginia. Those races originally were scheduled for the event Sept. 2-4 in Boston, which was canceled in May. Tentatively, an additional round for the Mazda Prototype Lites Presented by Cooper Tires will be added to the series’ event weekends at Watkins Glen International and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, replacing the rounds scheduled for Aug. 26-28 at VIR. Three rounds of Mazda Prototype Lites Presented by Cooper Tires are expected to take place June 30-July 2during the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in Watkins Glen, New York, and Sept. 9-11 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. Confirmation of both events is expected shortly.”
  • Although Pirelli World Challenge isn’t at Detroit this year, Cadillac Racing still is with media ridealongs on the Thursday. The Steve Cole-led, Pratt & Miller-operated team is based locally, and features Johnny O’Connell and Michael Cooper as drivers in World Challenge.
  • With PWC out, Trans-Am takes its place both on the weekend schedule and in terms of paddock space.

Supercross reveals 2023 Daytona track designed by Ricky Carmichael for 16th time


For the 16th consecutive year, Ricky Carmichael has designed a signature course for the Daytona Supercross race, which will be March 4, 2023.

Eli Tomac took advantage of a last lap mistake by Cooper Webb last year to win a record setting sixth Daytona race – and with that win, he broke out of a tie Carmichael.

Construction on the course will begin two days after the completion of the 65th running of NASCAR’s Daytona 500 when haulers start to unload 7,200 tons of dirt onto the grassy infield in order to create a course 3,300 feet long.

“Ricky has designed yet another incredible course for this year’s Daytona Supercross,” said Daytona International Speedway President Frank Kelleher in a press release. “We’re thrilled to unveil it to the fans, and we can’t wait for them to come out to the track and see it in person.”

MORE: Designs for SuperMotocross finals at zMax Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway

Carmichael’s Daytona course will take center stage for Round 8 of the 17-race Supercross season and the 31-race SuperMotocross season.

The Supercross race coincides with Daytona’s Bike Week, which runs from March 3-12 and includes races from the American Flat Track series and the legendary Daytona 200 speedway race that is contested on the infield road course.

Last year’s course was reported to have 57 obstacles including the return of an over-under bridge. For 2023 the number of obstacles listed in 42, but that will not keep this from being one of the toughest tracks on which the Monster Energy Supercross series will race.

Many of the same elements from last year will be present including sharp turns, vaulted jumps, sand sections and a finish line that aligns with the oval tracks’ start/finish line.

“This year’s Daytona Supercross design is one of the best,” Carmichael said. “It races great for the riders – it’s safe yet challenging and it’s very similar to last year with the split lanes. Daytona is the toughest, gnarliest race on the Supercross circuit, but it’s the most special to win.

“This track is going to produce great racing and I think the riders are going to put on a fantastic display for all our fans.”

While Tomac has dominated this race during his career, Daytona has also been the site of some other dramatic victories. In 2021 Aaron Plessinger scored his first career Supercross podium in 35 starts with a win there and reversed a three-year streak of bad luck on the track.

The Daytona Supercross race is the first of two the series will contest on speedway infield courses. A little more than one month later, Atlanta Motor Speedway will enter their third season as a supercross venue. These two courses will serve as an early test for the SuperMotocross three-race finale that begins September 9, 2023 at zMax Dragway in Charlotte, North Carolina. The three playoff races will each be held on courses that contain elements of Supercross and Motocross, much like Daytona and Atlanta.