Here I go again stepping out of my NASCAR comfort zone to report on The 2018 Detroit Grand Prix. This is such a big event in Downtown Detroit on Belle Isle it bears coverage. Rather than commenting on the racing action itself, I thought an overview of the event itself would give our readers a glimpse of the fun to be found at the Grand Prix.
Let’s get the only real negative I found out of the way up front. Parking by Belle Isle is a mess. You are much better off to take advantage of the downtown parking lots and ride the comfortable buses running to and from the Island at regular intervals. Passage if free, the ride comfortable and you are dropped off adjacent to the main entrance gate.
Once on the Island entrance through a security portal is required. Representative of the age in which we live, bomb-sniffing dogs check every backpack and purse. A visual inspection by the courteous bag-checking staff keeps everyone safe. A small inconvenience for peace of mind.
Moving from the outside to the inside of the track is facilitated by a cross-over bridge. It is near the front entrance amid the various vendor displays. On the infield side, you step off the bridge directly into the “Fan Zone.” Manufacturer displays, vendors selling souvenirs and a variety of food service vendors treat fans to a fair-like atmosphere.
Various grandstands offer differing views of the track. Media shuttles moved members of the press freely around the island. A number of handicapped and courtesy shuttles assisted those fans unable to make the walk from point to point.
One of the most popular events, the Stadium Super Trucks. These wobbly-looking vehicles can shift their center of gravity to make tight cornering easier. A heavy-duty suspension system enables the truck to soar over jumps at various point on the track. Fans loved the action.
Michigan’s own Aaron Bambach finished 2nd in Race 1 on Saturday, and 6th on Sunday. His Green Hiring Machine was sponsored by Strategic Staffing Solutions and delighted those in attendance with strong runs by the local driver.
Sports car races both days entertained race fans with exciting action from the prototypes and GT Daytona cars. Action on the track followed a tight schedule with racing action running mostly non-stop throughout the weekend.
Of course, the Indy Cars were the featured event. Scott Dixon won Duel 1 on Saturday and Ryan Hunter-Reay prevailed in Duel 2 on Sunday.
The Incident Everyone is Talking About
The start of the Indy Car race on Sunday as fans were treated to an unlikely and embarrassing event during pace laps. Mark Reuss, General Motors’ executive vice president of product development, drove the pace car at the front of the field. Reuss lost control of the $120,000 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 and crashed it into one of the tracks retaining walls.
The start of the race was delayed as track workers cleaned up the mess. Reuss and his passenger escaped uninjured. With the exception of Reuss’s pride taking a serious blow.
All-in-all a great weekend for the City of Detroit. With a commitment to return again next year, the Detroit Grand Prix is a must-attend event to put on your schedule.