DETROIT -- James Jakes had just posted an IZOD IndyCar Series-best runner-up finish in Race 2 of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans and there he was in the media center offering congratulations to event chairman Bud Denker.
"It was awesome," Jakes said, referring to the inaugural IZOD IndyCar Series doubleheader in general and more specifically upgrades to the racing circuit since last June's race.
“It was a great show,” Denker acknowledged after watching Simon Pagenaud earn his first victory in the series in the 70-lap race on the 2.346-mile, 13-turn street circuit (extended from 2.07 miles with a long straight exiting the slight left-hand Turn 2). "The drivers loved the new layout. There was plenty of action, especially on the new straightaway."
Denker, however, plans a few additional course corrections, such as widening Turn 4 and altering Turn 5 coming out of the sharp right-hand Turn 3 at the end of the long straight.
“It was important that we bounced back," he said, referring to issues with sections of the asphalt surface being dislodged in the 2012 race. "But now it’s about pushing this forward in making it one of the premier events on the circuit. Our initial plan was to make more upgrades for 2014. But it was most important this time that we recovered from last year’s struggles."
From a competition perspective, IZOD IndyCar Series race director Beaux Barfield said spectators and the ABC TV audiences were treated to exciting competition. Pagenaud became the sixth different winner in seven races and the third first-time winner this season. In Race 1, Mike Conway claimed his second series victory and gave Dale Coyne Racing its third.
"The weekend went great, and credit goes to the drivers and teams for how hard they worked and how well they prepared for the doubleheaders," he said. "I know there were a lot of people that had late nights from Race 1 to Race 2. We intend to gather feedback from drivers and teams about how the first weekend worked for them. We came in here with a pretty good plan in terms of schedule and rules, and we’ll explore fine-tuning minor items, just to make more sense for the teams."