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The Month of May is complete and the run for the IZOD IndyCar Series Championship re-commences this weekend at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix of Belle Isle. The IZOD IndyCar Series returns to the famed Belle Isle circuit for the first time since the 2008 campaign. The event was removed from the schedule amid the economic crisis that struck the Motor City in the fall of 2008, but makes its return on the 2012 calendar. The event is managed by Roger Penske’s organization which immediately makes the race a first class affair. The event’s only two winners are Tony Kanaan and Justin Wilson.
PENSKE POWER RETURNS TO THE ROAD
After a disappointing Indianapolis 500, the Chevrolet powered juggernaut of Team Penske returns to the discipline they have shown dominance in 2012. The road and street courses have fared well for Team Penske garnering four wins and four poles. Will Power, after an especially disappointing Indianapolis 500 where he was collected in Mike Conway’s spin put a substantial dent in his points lead, looks to rebound on the tracks that he has been nearly unbeatable in his tenure at Team Penske while, after posting a 5th and 10th place finish at Indianapolis, Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves look to make up points on their Verizon Team Penske teammate.
GANASSI LOOKS TO CONTINUE INDIANAPOLIS MOJO
The four car stable of Chip Ganassi Racing spent the Month of May scratching their heads and searching for speed…until Carb Day. Once the cars were married with their new Honda engines to be used during the race they came to life and were the dominant cars on race day. Going back to a street course could be a different story, however, because Chevrolet has had the upper hand so far on the courses. Dario Franchitti has struggled to find balance on the car when he must turn left and right, but winning Indy could give him the momentum boost he needs to make a run for his fifth series title. Dixon, on the other hand, has shown great pace and ability on Road and Street courses this season with two runner-up finishes to go with some tough luck in Long Beach and Brazil. Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball continue to run through their programs in 2012 and with decent Months of May could be poised to take a step forward.
ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT LOOKS TO TURN IT AROUND
Up until Carb Day, it seemed as though Andretti Autosport had the Indianapolis 500 figured, but Race Day proved to be a different matter all together. For the Grand Prix of Belle Isle, Andretti Autosport returns to their full-season three car stable and hopes that less is more when it comes to the rest of the season. Andretti Autosport drivers are all very solid on the road and street courses and should contend for the top-six spots on the grid. It is popular opinion that all three of these cars should find themselves in Victory Lane at some point in 2012. Will Detroit be their breakthrough performance?
CHEVROLET LOOKS FOR BOUNCEBACK PERFORMANCE
It would be an understatement to say that Chevrolet was surprised at the results of the Indianapolis 500. Sure, Chevrolet captured five of the top-10 positions in the final running order, but they had to scrape, claw, and strategize for the entire race to put themselves in competitive position with Honda. Honda had the Chevrolet teams covered on race day, however, it’s back to a street course where Chevrolet has been so dominant in 2012 and Chevrolet is looking to make a post-Indy statement that Honda’s dominance at the Speedway will not go unanswered. Chevrolet and its teams will come to play this weekend.
RANDY BERNARD UNDER FIRE FROM OWNERS
In the wake of an Indianapolis 500 that should be written in the books as one of the best in the history of the race, there has been rumor that some of IndyCar’s team owners have called for CEO Randy Bernard to be removed from his high profile position. It is unknown if these rumors are true, nor is it known on what grounds the owner(s) are calling for Bernard’s removal, but it does not matter. Instead of celebrating an Indy 500 for the ages, IndyCar is having to put out a fire of hearsay and conjecture. It is true that Bernard has made some mistakes in his short tenure as IndyCar’s CEO, however, he has made great strides for the sport of IndyCar Racing and the future is brighter under his watch. Bernard constantly fights for the fans, sponsors, and the product produced on the track. Bernard is responsible for moving on an upgrade in equipment for 2012 with the DW12 chassis and a new, exciting, engine package that has produced five amazing races. The car can pass where the previous one could not, especially on the double-file restarts. What Bernard does need is a liaison between the CEO and sanctioning body of INDYCAR and the drivers and owners in the Paddock. This person must be experienced in all aspects of the sport, management, promotional, and competitive to help Bernard communicate his desires and intentions effectively to the Paddock. The bottom line, here, is that IndyCar is run by the sanctioning body and not the owners or manufacturers. This sport has tried that before and failed miserably. Is the new car more expensive than was originally advertised? Yes, however, there were bound to be bumps in the road along the way. The owners got spoiled for years because they didn’t need to buy new equipment as the spec was the same since 2003, engines included since 2006. Let’s put all these rumors and squabbling to bed and go racing this weekend in Detroit!