One week removed from the 96th Indianapolis 500, the IZOD IndyCar Series makes its return to the Motor City for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.
Scott Dixon carried the Chip Ganassi momentum from Indianapolis to Detroit on Saturday. He was fastest in the morning practice, and just barely edged out Will Power for the pole. He was just 0.0044 of a second quicker than Power. It is his 18th career pole, and his second here at Bell Isle.
Dixon was joined in the Firestone Fast Six by Power, Alex Tagliani, Simon Pagenaud, EJ Viso, and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Six different teams were represented in the Fast Six.
Graham Rahal, Ryan Briscoe, Helio Castroneves, and Sebastien Bourdais round out the top ten. Justin Wilson will slide into the top ten on race day, as Rahal will serve a 10-spot grid penalty for their engine change at Indianapolis.
It was a tough day for the three-time Indy 500 Champion Dario Franchitti. He couldn’t get around Ed Carpenter, and will be rolling off 15th on Sunday. James Hinchcliffe will be one spot in front of him, and Tony Kanaan, JR Hildebrand, and Rubens Barrichello will be starting 18th, 19th, and 20th. Marco Andretti will be starting 24th.
Of the 25 drivers on the entry list, 13 of them have raced at Belle Isle before. There will be 12 drivers in the field that have never raced here before. The last race in 2008 saw Scott Dixon on the pole, and Justin Wilson take the checkered flag.
Helio Castroneves has good memories of this place, as it was the site of his first career win. He has two race wins and two Poles on the 2.07 mile course. Tony Kanaan also has fond memories of Belle Isle, but some bad ones as well. Back in 2000 he broke his left arm and a rib in a crash here.
Will Power was fastest on Friday’s practice, and looks to rebound from another disappointing Indy 500, when he was collected by Mike Conway when he spun on track. He lost his big cushion in the points standings, and the next three events are all on ovals, so he needs to capitalize this Sunday.
Hinchcliffe is the only driver in the series to have completed every lap this season, and he has finished no worse than sixth place in any race heading into Sunday’s 90 lap event. The race will air on ABC at 3:30 PM.