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Chevrolet’s huge Detroit home weekend highlights big weekend overall

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There’s no secret that when you come to the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix weekend at Belle Isle Park, that it is a huge weekend for General Motors.

Its headquarters are in the backdrop and most prominent throughout the weekend, and the detail-oriented effort the Penske-run event puts on is second to none.

Chevrolet then delivered on track in the two primary series it was competing in at Detroit in a big way:

  • Swept the two Verizon IndyCar Series races with Sebastien Bourdais (race one, KVSH Racing) and Will Power (race two, Team Penske) and secured four of the six podium positions with Bourdais, Power, Simon Pagenaud (second, race two) and Juan Pablo Montoya (third, race one). Pagenaud also scored both pole positions.
  • In the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, brothers Jordan Taylor and Ricky Taylor led a 1-2 finish for the Corvette Daytona Prototype in its home race at Belle Isle. The Wayne Taylor Racing duo won for the second time in three years in the Detroit Sports Car Challenge presented by Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers with their No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP. The No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP crew of Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa finished second, Fittipaldi having scored the pole.

Here’s your accompanying win quotes from Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports:

“That was a great drive by Will, a strong race strategy by the team and the crew executed so well throughout the race,” he said after Power’s win on Sunday.

Prior to that, here’s what he said of Bourdais’ Saturday win: “Congratulations to Sebastien Bourdais and KVSH Racing for winning at the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit for the second consecutive year. Teamwork was key. Sebastien drove a great race, Jimmy Vasser, Kevin Kalkhoven and the engineers made the right strategic calls, and the crew executed all race long. Sebastien’s win means a lot in Chevrolet’s hometown.”

And here’s what he said after the IMSA 1-2:  “This is an exciting day for Chevrolet and our Corvette Daytona Prototype programs. Congratulations to Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor and everyone on the Wayne Taylor Racing Konica Minolta Corvette DP team for today’s win. It was a great battle with the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi. Both teams had fast Corvette DPs, executed quick pit stops and were on top of race strategy.  This gives the Corvette DP teams a 5-0 record on Belle Isle, and today also earns Chevrolet the lead in the Prototype Engine Manufacturer Championship standings. It was great to have the support of so many Chevrolet and Corvette owners here at the track and following the racing action on TV.”

Then around the rest of the world, Chevrolet teams did pretty well, as well.

  • On Monday in Pocono, Kurt Busch won the rain-delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in his No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing.
  • Kyle Larson took the win in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Pocono in his No. 42 Cessna/NTT Data Group Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing.
  • Greg Anderson and KB Racing took the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock win at Epping, N.H.
  • Overseas, Corvette Racing led the test day for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in what figures to be a highly competitive GTE-Pro class. Antonio Garcia set a lap of 3:55.122 (129.680 mph) in the No. 63 Konica Minolta/Mobil 1/Sirius XM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. Garcia, who celebrated a birthday Sunday and will team with Jan Magnussen and Ricky Taylor, led a Corvette Racing effort that focused on race setup and strategy as the team works toward what it hopes will be a ninth victory at the French endurance classic.

Also of note in Detroit, although it was a non-points race, Chevrolet teams did well in the Trans-Am Series too. RJ Lopez (Chevrolet Corvette) and Paul Fix (Corvette) went 1-2 in the first of two races on Saturday in the TA class, with Kyle Marcelli (Chevrolet Camaro) winning the TA2 class. On Sunday, Ernie Francis Jr. (Camaro) won the TA4 class.

Valtteri Bottas on Silverstone pole; Nico Hulkenberg a surprising third

F1 Bottas Hamilton Silverstone
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Valtteri Bottas nipped Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in Silverstone qualifying Saturday to maintain the team’s hammerlock on F1 results this season while Nico Hulkenberg was a surprise in third.

Hulkenberg is filling in for Sergio Perez for the second consecutive race while the Racing Point driver recovers from coronavirus.

It’s the best F1 start since 2016 for Hulkenberg, who was left without a full-time ride after the 2019 season. He finished 20th at Silverstone last week when an engine problem on the grid prevented him ftaking the green.

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“The last seven to eight days have been crazy,” Hulkenberg said after qualifying. “This weekend I felt much better prepared. Q3 was just head down, full beans, and give it whatever I had.

“I’m a bit surprised to be standing here, but there’s a big smile on my face.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified fourth and will be among the field trying to derail the Mercedes duo that has won the first four races of an F1 season delayed because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Feels good,” Bottas said after nipping Hamilton by a few hundredths of a second on his final lap for his 13th career pole position. ” I just love qualifying especially, when it goes well. Proud to drive this car. The race pace is there, so our first job is to get a good start off the line tomorrow and go from there.”

The impressive lap came two days after Bottas, who won the season opener in Austria, announced a one-year contract extension with the team.

Mercedes also is set to begin negotiating a new deal with Hamilton, who has won the past three races in F1 but was disappointed Saturday.

“Valtteri did a great job, but for me, it wasn’t a perfect last lap,” he said. “I don’t think many teams will be doing a one-stop race tomorrow so let’s wait and see how things turn out.”