DETROIT, MI – In what can only be labeled as embarrassing, Detroit’s Belle Isle Grand Prix lasted only 40 of a planned 90 laps due to poor track conditions. The Motor City race circuit began delaminating and breaking up as long strips of black sealant used to fill seams began lifting as the open wheel IndyCars ripped up the pavement. On some corners, the lifting sealant folded up to form dangerously large chunks which led to a violent crash by James Hinchcliffe of Andretti Motorsports. Luckily, James was unhurt. “I hate to say it, but I don’t know what they’re going to do,” said Hinchcliffe. “The lap before the accident a big chunk hit my wing in Turn 9. I was going to turn in, a piece of [track] folded over, and you’re just a passenger at that point.”
Following the accident, the yellow flag was shown on lap 40. The cars continued circulating until lap 45, allowing the officials to call it a completed race. Upon initial inspection by Race Director Beaux Barfield, the race was expected to restart, but that was not to be.
On top of the order at the race conclusion were the Target-Ganassi duo of Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti. The Dallara-Hondas made a respectable showing in their street-course debut as IndyCar rookie Simon Pagenaud finished third in his Dallara-Honda. "Tremendous day for Honda," he said. "Also, I've got to thank my team, [Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports], and it's amazing to be a one-car team and fighting against Penske and Ganassi. I've found like it's living in a dream."
For Detroit, the weekend has to be considered a major disappointment. Not only was the state of disrepair of the Motor City infrastructure placed in the spotlight of the world stage, the only US-built engine in the series could not manage a podium finish. Detroit resident Sherrie Van Horn knew she would have to deal with the broken-up streets outside her home, but was surprised to hear the at the Belle Island suffered the same fate. "It's too bad," she said at the track. "This was the city's chance to shine.” Some race fans were surprised when the cars were parked after only 45-laps, but Jack Michaels of Royal Oak said he wondered and worried before the race how organizers could make the streets worthy of the Grand Prix. "I've driven those streets," he said. "I'd be worried driving fast ( http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120604/SPORTS03/206040340#ixzz1wqF9WGsK ).”
As an American, I have to declare that this is completely unacceptable in the greatest country on this earth. China and India display fabulous race facilities (pictured) during Formula One races, but we have to show the degrading infrastructure of Detroit. Is this the legacy of the famed “Auto-Bailout?”