IndyCar

IndyCar, Michigan agree on three-year extension for Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle

5 Comments

IndyCar has taken yet another step towards further solidifying its race seasons for the next few years.

On Friday, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and IndyCar and race organizers announced that they have reached agreement to continue the popular two-day weekend of back-to-back races in late May/early June through 2021.

In addition, there are also two other option years that could extend the agreement through 2023.

In addition, even though Texas Motor Speedway had sought to have the race weekend after the Indianapolis 500 returned to its 1.5-mile oval on the schedule, IndyCar’s agreement with the state of Michigan will keep the Belle Isle races on the weekend after Indy.

There are a few alterations to the former agreement between Michigan and indyCar, per a report by The Associated Press:

  • Preparation and clean-up time, as well as overall access for race organizers and IndyCar to the Belle Isle property will be reduced to just 60 days after previously being 84 days to set up and tear down all remnants of the event, including retaining walls, hospitality tents and the like.
  • The state will see an upward bump in the amount of money it will receive from race organizers, going from the previous $200,000 per year to $325,000, beginning next year.
  • Also, Detroit GP organizers will give $125,000 per year for island improvements.

The GP has been held on Belle Isle, on the edge of Detroit’s downtown area, since 2012.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Dean Wilson’s life as a privateer reconnects the rider to his roots

Leave a comment

One of the added benefits of subscribing to NBC Sports Gold is the in-depth interviews from each Saturday’s action. Last week between the first and second rounds of qualification for the Glendale Supercross race, a relaxed and confident Dean Wilson joined Race Day Live’s Daniel Blair and Jim Holley to review his fourth-place finish in the season opener and his mindset moving forward.

Losing factory support from Rockstar / Husqvarna at the end of 2018 was not exactly what Wilson had in mind, but after getting off to a great start in the first two races this season, it may well have been a blessing in disguise.

The life of a privateer is not exactly relaxed, but it affords a rider the opportunity to call his own shots. For Wilson, it is also a way to reconnect with the grassroots feel that attracted him to Supercross in the first place.

“I think that’s what I like,” Wilson said on Race Day Live. “I think that’s the environment and atmosphere I like – it’s just more low key. At Anaheim I, you would think I was local racing at Glen Helen. I had a Sprinter and I had another trailer just to chill in, do my spins. It was so cold I had a little propane heater to warm me up. But I like that. That’s what works for me.”

MORE: Dean Wilson’s Cinderella story at Anaheim 

The program Wilson was able to put together during the offseason produced back-to back top 10s – a much better start to the 2019 season than he experienced last year.

In 2018, Wilson did not score a top 10 until his fourth feature at San Diego. His first top five would not come until late March in Indianapolis.

This year Wilson got the hole shot and led 14 laps at Anaheim in the opener before finishing fourth. Last week in Glendale, he finished eighth.

“What was going through my head was ‘it’s about time; it’s about five years too late to lead some laps here,’ ” Wilson described his emotion as he led at Anaheim. “It was nice because I did a lot of work in the off-season and my starts were really good. The thing is I haven’t over-analyzed my starts and practice.”

At Anaheim I, Wilson struggled with visibility as his goggles began to get fouled by mud. A once comfortable lead was eroded by Justin Barcia. With pressure from behind, Wilson made a minor mistake that was then compounded by lapped traffic.

“I was leading my laps; I was just trying to hit my marks. I was doing really well until I made a couple of mistakes. I couldn’t hit that middle double, double … the rut was getting real chewed out, but I was already on the right side where you couldn’t double the middle part so you had to go roll, roll, roll – and Barcia was already on me.”

Wilson’s pair of top 10s was enough to keep him fifth in the standings, three points behind Glendale’s winner Blake Baggett.

For more, watch the video above.

Next Race: Anaheim II Jan. 19, 11 p.m., NBCSN

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter