By Dylan Reynolds, The Open Wheel
The INDYCAR season continues this weekend with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES 2021 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix at the The Raceway at Belle Isle Park in Detroit, Michigan. The Open Wheel will be covering the action all weekend so stay tuned to this site and our Twitter page @openwh33l for all of the latest news.
Photo by Christy Reynolds/The Open Wheel
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Preview: Indy Lights Grand Prix of Detroit – Spotter Guide – Race 1: Saturday, June 12, 2021 12:10PM (ET) Peacock & Race 2: Sunday, June 13, 2021 10:35PM (ET) Peacock – Indy Lights returns to this circuit for the first time since 2012. Expect the Andretti Autosport cars to be fast this weekend as they qualified in 3 of the Top 4 spots in each of the races for the only street course event so far this season at St. Petersburg. Those races were won by Andretti Autosport’s Kyle Kirkwood and HMD Motorsports’ championship leader David Malukas. Watch out for Danial Frost this weekend as he was lightning fast and very racy in St. Pete.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES Preview: Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Race 1 – Saturday, June 12, 2021 2:00PM (ET) NBC & Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Race 2 – Sunday, June 13, 2021 12:00PM (ET) NBC – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES returns this weekend following a much needed break after a busy start to the season culminated by the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. Four-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves won’t be racing this weekend, but the battle for the championship seriously heats up from this point forward with Ganassi teammates Alex Palou and Scott Dixon leading the charge thus far.
Previous driver experience at Belle Isle shows seven former winners in the field in Scott Dixon (3), Sebastien Bourdais (2), Will Power (2), Graham Rahal (2), Ryan Hunter-Reay (1), Josef Newgarden (1), and Simon Pagenaud (1). Newgarden and Dixon won the two races in 2019 the last time the series was here. Looking at the box scores from 2019 Race 1 and Race 2, Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi finished in the Top 5 in both races. If that’s expanded to the Top 10, those two are joined only by Rahal. The active Top 5 in laps led at Belle Isle are Dixon (127), Rahal (107), Pagenaud (93), Power (50), and Takuma Sato (44).
My picks to win: Race: Alexander Rossi & Pato O’Ward – Rossi is due for an NTT INDYCAR SERIES win and this may be the time for it to happen. He qualified on the front row for both races in 2019 along with P2 and P5 finishes. The Andretti street course program has been strong the last couple years and this is a huge chance for him to figure it out on one of the two race days. O’Ward had P7 and P8 qualifying efforts in a Carlin car in 2019 and has a class win on the circuit in IMSA. He’s obviously much improved since then and in a much better car and I expect him to have a great weekend. The safest pick here is probably Newgarden to get Team Penske their first win of the season.
My fantasy.indycar.com picks: Alexander Rossi, Pato O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist, & Conor Daly – You know my thoughts on Rossi and O’Ward. Rosenqvist came to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES as a street course specialist and needs some good results to keep any looming pressure off his back. This is a big stretch for him coming up with a previous Top 5 at Belle Isle in his rookie year, winning at Road America last year, and nearly winning at Mid-Ohio back in 2019. This has been a good circuit for Daly and I think he provides good value this weekend for his price.