IndyCar isn't alone in the return to Detroit, but is the headliner on what should be an action-packed weekend.
GRAND-AM ROLEX SERIES
Grand-Am's Rolex Series shares the weekend with IndyCar as it did at Barber Motorsports Park in April. It marks the series' first street race since 2006 at Long Beach, as primarily, the series has raced on permanent road courses and “rovals.” It's going to be a tight race, only two hours instead of the standard two hours and 45 minutes.
Both SunTrust Racing (Daytona Prototype) and AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari (GT) are seeking three-peats in their respective classes. Chevrolet will be particularly keen to score its fourth straight win with the Corvette DP with either SunTrust, GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, Spirit of Daytona or the two Action Express cars. If they can't secure the DP win, there's a handful of GT cars which could do the trick – Camaros from Autohaus and Stevenson are due for their first wins of the year.
The other major American manufacturer present – Ford – will want to upset the Chevrolet contingent and can do so with either the Michael Shank Racing Riley Ford or any of three Starworks Riley Fords this race. Chip Ganassi Racing still has yet to secure its first win of the year with Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett.
Beyond the Camaros and Ferrari in GT, Porsche looks for its first win since Daytona with either Magnus, Brumos or TRG, Mazda will try to use its handling and strategy to score another win with SpeedSource or the Dempsey and Sahlen's teams, and Audi will once again look to break through for its first top-10 result in class with the APR Motorsport squad. There are 17 GTs and 10 DPs in the field.
The Grand-Am Rolex Series Chevy 200 airs live, Saturday June 2, at 5:00pm Eastern on SPEED.
PIRELLI WORLD CHALLENGE
As at Long Beach, the Pirelli World Challenge is on display with half its field – the GT and GTS class competitors while the TC and B-spec TC classes are off.
Much like Chevrolet seeks wins in the IndyCar and Rolex races, Cadillac is on home turf from the World Challenge perspective. Johnny O'Connell and Andy Pilgrim have a win apiece in 2012, although Volvo's Randy Pobst came to the fore last race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca two weeks ago. James Sofronas' GMG Porsche, a pair of TruSpeed Porsches and Hawk Performance Nissan GT-Rs, and Tony Gaples' Black Dog Corvette could also contend in GT.
In GTS, the RealTime Racing Acura TSXs of Peter Cunningham and Nick Esayian and Jack Baldwin's Hot Wheels Porsche Cayman S could upset the home-based manufacturer contenders from Ford (several Mustang Boss 302s) and Chevrolet (several Camaros).
The Pirelli World Challenge race from Detroit will be live streamed on www.world-challengetv.com and airs delayed at 5:00 p.m. Eastern, Saturday, July 7, on NBC Sports Network.
FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS
Three drivers have won in the first four races of the 2012 Firestone Indy Lights Series season: Tristan Vautier, Sebastian Saavedra and Esteban Guerrieri. No one in the field of 14 – the smallest this year for Indy Lights, and a field nearly devoid of American drivers save for one – has prior experience at the Belle Isle street circuit.
Guerrieri leads his Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammate Vautier by 14 points in the championship, with Saavedra four markers further behind. Those three have been the three dominant forces in the series this year, although teammates Victor Carbone and Oliver Webb (Schmidt) and Carlos Munoz (AFS/Andretti) are due for breakout runs, soon. Munoz finished a career-best second at Indianapolis.
Now on a street course, look for Peter Dempsey to figure into the equation for the fledgling Younessi Racing first-year team. Belardi and Team Moore's pairs of drivers are also in need of a strong result this weekend.
The Firestone Indy Lights race from Detroit airs delayed at 5:00pm Eastern, Thursday, June 7, on NBC Sports Network.