LIVE BLOG: 2014 Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit

IndyCar, IndyCar commentary — By on June 1, 2014 7:00 am

11:47 AM ET — We had a dramatic qualifying session this morning to set the field for race 2. James Hinchcliffe set a new track record in group 1 by laying down a time of 1:16.3739 — a good second and a half over the previous record in a DW12 in this configuration — and he did it relatively early in the session, I might add, but it stuck through that group.

When group 2 got under way, Ryan Hunter-Reay slapped the outside wall in turn 13 pretty hard with his left rear, and although he was able to continue to the pits he left a rear wheel guard behind and drew a red flag. That left only five minutes for fast laps once the rest of the field went back out. Helio set another track record with a lap of 1:16.3624 and pulled into pit lane celebrating, but then Takuma Sato laid down one last flyer as the session came to a close and ticked off another record lap as the last car across the line at 1:16.1371.

As a quirk of the group qualifying format, Castroneves will start on row 2 and Hinchcliffe on row 1 despite his slower time because the times between the two groups alternate to provide some equity against the differences in track conditions between the two groups. The full results and starting line-up can be found in our Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit Event Summary.

The post-qualifying press conferences saw Hinch, Sato, and Ryan Briscoe come through the media center, and you can find some quick quotes from those on our Twitter feed @MoreFrontWing.

We now have about three hours to wait through before the cars begin to grid at roughly 3 PM this afternoon, so I’m going to keep an eye on the day’s racing (the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship has packed up and departed, but Pirelli World Challenge is on track now and the Speed Energy Formula Off-Road trucks are back on track a little later on — and those are sandwiching the Shaggy concert happening at 12:30 PM on the main stage. (I just looked at the schedule from yesterday and thought to myself, ‘Wait a minute, that truck session yesterday was practice?!’ They were going hard — one truck ended up on its lid! But evidently it was as race 1 was on Friday and race 2 is running today at 1:55.)

I’ll end this entry with a little personal story as I’ve had some people ask how my husband and daughter enjoyed their stay in Windsor (and I’m grateful for the interest). They were happy to be here, but I was a bit disappointed for my daughter as she had spent all week being excited for the new water park that opened in the city this year, but things didn’t go as planned — I’m told that when she got there she was intimidated by it. She warmed up after a while and tried out one slide and loved it, but then she ran to do it again (despite being told not to run on wet floors) and fell and hurt herself. Last night she told me she wants to try another water park, but “not one with roller coasters and not as big as the water park in Windsor.” I’m sad she was disappointed, but I’ll take some heart in the fact that she’s not turning out to be the adrenaline junkie I’d feared she would be when she was a kamikaze toddler. Maybe I’ll manage to keep her out of race cars after all. (The story has a good ending, by the way, because they found that playground with the view of Belle Isle, and that’s where she was happiest. I did get my wave from there before they left for Toronto this morning.)


10:03 AM ET — I’m back from a lap around the track in a Chevrolet Camaro. My driver today was Lloyd Read, who drove for Bryan Herta Autosport in Indy Lights this season through the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and blogged about his experiences for us here at More Front Wing. It was great to finally meet him — we hadn’t managed to cross paths before today. (You can find his blogs by following Indy Lights > Indy Lights Bloggers > Lloyd Read on the top navigation menu.)

We left the pits and entered the track at turn 2, which then took us down the long front straight at about 120 MPH and then right into the hardest braking zone at turn 3. Having now seen it from a completely different angle, I may have underestimated the value of the seats in this turn — to the point that I think I’ll go back and correct the seating guide to reflect it. There would be plenty to see as a spectator from here.

As we continued around I was looking for the bumpiness, and I definitely saw it but found that I was searching for the feel of it in the Camaro. This makes sense, of course, since we were probably doing about half to two-thirds of the speed that an IndyCar does and ride height doesn’t typically enter the discussion when talking about pace cars.

We got to turn 7 — and it’s hard to see from anywhere but on the track, but the entry to this turn is pretty much blind — and made our way around the Strand complex of turns 7 through 11. By the time we left it, I was compelled to say out loud, “Wow, that part is fun!”

“Yeah, it’s my favorite part of the track,” Lloyd replied. “The concrete patches through there are really low-grip.”

And as quick as it started, it was over. Thanks so much to Lloyd for listening to me and not being gentle on our track tour!

IndyCar qualifying for race 2 just got under way. The groups are the same as for yesterday’s section but flipped (and you can find them in our Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit Event Summary), and we’re doing two straight 12-minute sessions today with no knockout format. Follow along with us on Twitter at @MoreFrontWing!


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