Friday, May 29, 2015

2015 Detroit Grand Prix: Practice and Qualifying

I got a couple tickets for the Saturday race in this year's Indy car Detroit Grand Prix. My brother Mike heard the siren call of "extra ticket" and flew out from Wyoming to watch with me. The Detroit Grand Prix is actually the "Dual in Detroit" with full Indy car races on Saturday and on Sunday, plus an assortment of other sports car racing over the weekend. One great feature of the event is "Free Friday." Admission to practice and qualifying on Friday is free and even includes free access to the paddock, where the teams all keep their equipment and work on their cars.

Since FREE is right in our price range, Mike and I went down to Belle Isle on the Friday to watch practice and qualifying. I took a boatload o'photos, as is my way:

Getting ready to go. The deluge started when we got about twenty miles from the track.

Cadillac race team. What's amazing is that all of the race teams have mobile trailers, tents, and machine shops that are well suited for enduring a monsoon. The upside of a monsoon? We had the place almost to ourselves for a while:

Sad pace car, standing in the rain.

There were a few crashes in the rain during practice, but eventually the rain stopped and the sun began to peek back out again.

Yeah, we were taking a lot of pictures.

Mike looking out at the paddock from the grandstand. After watching that round of practice we wandered out through the paddock and the infield while we waited for qualifying to start.

Mmmmn ... fresh racing tire.

The  Scuderia Corsa Ferrari GT Daytona entry ... sponsored by Ferrari of Los Angeles (aka Hollywood) and Ferrari of Silicon Valley, if you were wondering about their target market.

Something's missing from this car.

Ahhh, there's the rest of it.

More car parts strewn about the paddock.

Hmmn ... something's missing here.

Ahhh, there's the nose and tail on a stand. If I could do this with my cars it'd make them a heck of a lot easier to store for the winter.

And then they had a pickup truck race....

Mike lusting after an Aston Martin race car.

Who can blame him?

I suppose I could go this direction when it's time for my next truck.

Ah-ha! Here's the real racing action.

Mike's new Z06 Corvette. Some assembly required.

We were having so much fun we felt like big kids!

Then qualifying for the Indy cars started up.

Officer, I'd like to report a speed-limit violation on Belle Isle.

What do they look like as they buzz through the start/finish stretch? Check out the video:

Carlos Munoz.

Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Takuma Sato.

Scott Dixon.

Last week's Indianapolis 500 winner Juan-Pablo Montoya.

Sage Karam.

Stefano Coletti.

Simon Pagenaud.

After qualifying was over Mike and I wandered around a bit more and came across the post-qualifying technical inspection area:

Once the Indy cars were done qualifying the IMSA cars lined up to take their turn:

Forget the rain. It had turned into a sunny, breezy evening.

I'm not going to sort out the cars and teams for the IMSA qualifying, but they were every bit as much fun to watch as the Indy cars:

Once all the qualifying heats were done, Mike and I wandered back out into the paddock.

What does a team do after racing their car all day?

Take the car completely apart then put it back together before morning, of course!

The Team Penske garage. It's a big operation.

Here you can see that despite the rainy start to our afternoon, Mike managed to achieve the same skin color as Scott Dixon's Target Chip Ganassi Racing car.

Tony Kanaan's infamous Taylor Swift 1989 Tour car. Remember, auto racing is a very butch sport, despite what you may hear from other pundits.

And yes, Team Ganassi is also disassembling and reassembling their cars before the race, too.

It was a great, fun day of wandering around and watching fast cars. I can't wait to see the race tomorrow!