Greetings motorheads! This is Cody (@theSAABwriter) reporting from my airport-overlooking hotel room in Romulus, MI. I’m only slightly distracted by planes on the glide path in front of my face…
I’m here for the Belle Isle GP – IZOD IndyCar Series, Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, and Pirelli World Challenge GT and GTS classes.
For photos, see my feed on Twitter. Technology and signal here is not being cooperative with uploading them anywhere but Twitter (and consequently my Facebook).
IndyCar Belle Isle Update
This week brought sudden news of J.R. Hildebrand’s release from Panther Racing, which dominated the press this morning. Silver lining: Ryan Briscoe is replacing him for the rest of the year, minus his ALMS conflicts. Theory: If Dryer & Reinbold can sort out their contractual issues with Oriol Servia (upon the closure of that team after Indy), we could see the veteran Spaniard behind the wheel of that National Guard car when Briscoe is out.
Short downpour makes for an interesting qualifying! The rain ceased just before Q1 went green, which meant the laps got faster and faster as time wore on. By the time the Firestone Fast 6 session rolled around, cars were quickly discovering they needed to pit and change to the soft dry tire. The starting order was a bit interesting, however…
Dario Franchitti snatched pole for tomorrow’s first race of the weekend but will start P11 tomorrow because of a grid penalty. This puts EJ Viso on pole, followed by P2 Mike Conway and P3 James Jakes – names we don’t often see at the sharp end!
The crowd got a bit of excitement at Belle Isle’s backstretch complex when Scott Dixon had a harmless spin (read: burnout) and went on his way with no more than a local yellow in Q2. That sessoin was red-flagged with roughly two minutes remaining when Helio Castroneves spun and parked his car just past an apex. He didn’t look pleased on the jumbo-tron…
Grand-Am Day 1 at Belle Isle pleasent for GM
Jordan Taylor and codriver Max Angelelli took their Wayne Taylor Racing Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype to pole for tomorrow’s two-hour race, leading a quartet of Corvette DPs in the top five.
If you’re not a sports car racing fan, I think you really will be after seeing Jordan Taylor, his older brother Ricky, and their friends lip-syncing RuPaul style in homemade music videos. They are absolutely hysterical, and one of them even features the fine gentlemen shirtless… YouTube them now. They’re a great bunch of guys.
Know who’s another great guy? Veteran sports car and open-wheel driver Max Papis. Mad Max took the GT class pole in his AIM Autosport Ferrari 458.
GX class pole goes to Tom Long in his Speedsource Mazda 6 Skyactiv diesel. The two Mazdas look fantastic and sound like trucks (not a bad thing to me – I’m a bus driver now as a day job), but Belle Isle is a rough ole street circuit, so we’ll see how long it takes both Mazdas to break tomorrow. They tend to do that a lot. My win money goes to the only other car in the GX class: a Porsche Cayman that clearly has a H-pattern gearbox based on how it sounds in braking zones. They’ve won the GX class in every race bar one so far this year…
I have to give a big shoutout to a Twitter buddy of mine who I finally had the pleasure of meeting today: Jeremy Scott (@jscottontheair) – an up and coming road racing broadcast personality (who’s always looking for work! Much like me, his print-media counterpart and also broadcasting-hopeful) who currently is working with the Intercontinental Trophy Cup series for Porsche Caymans. Follow the man on Twitter. He’s delightful (and so is his girlfriend of 2.5 years – harass him for the story of how they met – so cute).
Stay tuned for tweets (@theSAABwriter, and my trip buddy Eric, @theTrueRaceFan) and another full text and photo update tomorrow if possible, and by Sunday for sure (I’m only at the track tomorrow – headed home after the IndyCar race).
Oh, and did I mention a lot of my non-action photos will be in the paddock? If you go to a race, it’s the place to be. Last year I met Dr. McDreamy, and we regularly run into Robin Miller, John Dagys, Calvin Fish, Brian Till, and Dorsey Shroeder. I may be meeting briefly with SPEED’s Marshall Pruett tomorrow morning, and I’d like to grab Dagys and some others for quick quotes.
See you at the races!