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DETROIT GRAND PRIX
PPG CART World Series at Belle Isle
Sunday, June 7-8, 1997
I drove up to Detroit to attend the CART race at Belle Isle.
I stayed at my friend Jay's apartment.
On Saturday, E.T. joined us in going to the track.
We walked around the grounds looking at car displays and stuff.
We would later watch a Trans-Am race.
The next morning, Jay gifted me with a fifth of Finlandia vodka to go with my Kahlúa.
(I went through a White Russian phase for a couple years.)
I began hitting it on the way to the track.
The IndyCar war ignited in 1996 between CART and the IRL.
(Letter from Tony George about the beginning of this conflict.)
I, being a firm backer of IMS, was on the side of the IRL.
Michigan was kind of a hot bed for CART, as they not only held this race in Detroit,
but had created a 500-mile race to be held at the Michigan Speedway on the same
day as the Indy 500.
So naturally, in this sea of CART fans, I proudly wore my IRL hat.
That reminds me, I was once given a CART hat as a gag...
I drank too much vodka and got really hammered.
Greg Moore won the race, driving for Forsythe Racing.
After the race was over, we ran into our friend Koz and his blond girlfriend.
We wandered around Belle Isle waiting for everyone to leave.
We ended up on some long pier where we took these silly photos.
|The Dodge Sidewinder Concept Vehicle debuted earlier in the year at the Detroit Auto Show.
It was supposed to be powered by the 450 hp Viper V10 engine, but the pickup was never produced.
Chevrolet produced a similar vehicle between 2003-2006 called the SSR.
It had a retractable hardtop, but only a 300 hp V8.
|The Dodge Copperhead concept car also debuted at the 1997 Detroit Auto Show.
Note: I wrote this Oct 2020 from memory.
|Marlboro Team Penske
With no permanent garages in the paddock, teams made their own.
Most of the viewing stands were in this area by the finish line and first turn.
Across the track from my seats were the pits. Behind that was the paddock.
Other places around the track had tarps and signs blocking views of the track.
I suppose to encourage fans to buy the expensive seats instead of general admission.
The cars would zip by and then disappear for a long time - we couldn't see other areas
of the track.
|Patrick Racing's Raul Boesel Car
|The guy walking with them had a sneaky smile on his face.
|Trans-Am was a support series over the weekend.
|View of the Main Straight from Turn 1 Stands
Pit Lane is on the Left.
|E.T., Jay and I
It's funny, looking back and seeing all I needed was a plastic bag for one of my treks to the track.