This was already in the works and on Wednesday, it was unveiled that the NTT IndyCar Series race weekend in the Motor City will be moving away from Belle Isle Park and back into the streets of downtown Detroit. That change will happen in 2023 meaning the June race weekend next year will be the last in Belle Isle.
The planning stages of this move was announced in late September and I said then, it wasn’t out of the realm of possibilities to go back downtown as the first time there ever was a race in the Motor City was in 1982. That was for a F1 race. That lasted until 1988. In 1989, CART came to town to replace F1 and they raced on the street course in downtown for three years.
A year later, CART moved from downtown to Belle Isle and would remain there through 2001. They didn’t go back in 2002 and wouldn’t again until Roger Penske got involved. Thank the Super Bowl at Ford Field for that.
Penske, was on the Super Bowl XL committee and strived to bring an INDYCAR race back to his hometown in 2007. That worked. Then came the economy drop out which greatly affected the Detroit area.
INDYCAR stopped going again in 2009 but returned in 2012. With the current contract ending at the end of 2022, Penske Corp, who not only run the series but also promotes the race, is wanting a fresh start and that’s to move the race back downtown.
They see how well the street course races are going in St. Pete and Long Beach as well as how well Nashville went and thought that moving the race to downtown Detroit could spark more fans instead of racing on the island.
Now, it will happen.