Event: INDY NXT by Firestone Detroit Grand Prix, 45 laps or 55 minutes each for Race 1 & 2
Track Specs: 1.7-mile, 10-turn temporary street circuit
Tune In (all times Eastern): Race 1 – Noon ET Saturday, June 3 (Peacock, INDYCAR LIVE, INDYCAR Radio Network), Race 2 – 12:45 p.m. Sunday, June 4 (Peacock, INDYCAR LIVE, INDYCAR Radio Network), Qualifying – 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 2 (INDYCAR LIVE, INDYCAR Radio Network), Practice – 1:50 p.m. Friday, June 2 (INDYCAR LIVE, INDYCAR Radio Network)
Last Year’s Winners*: Race 1 – Linus Lundqvist (HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing); Race 2 – Linus Lundqvist (HMD Motorsports with Dale Racing Racing)
Last Year’s Pole Sitters*: Race 1 – Linus Lundqvist (HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing); Race 2 – Linus Lundqvist (HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing)
*Note: Last year’s doubleheader took place at nearby Belle Isle Park.
Spotlight: This will be the first time in over three decades that open-wheel cars have ripped through the streets of downtown Detroit. The new edition of the street circuit is smaller and has fewer corners than the original circuit (previously 2.5 miles) last raced on in 1991.
One of the more unique sights of the new layout is how the frontstretch, extending seven-tenths of a mile on Jefferson Avenue, sets up an inviting passing opportunity at the wide hairpin of Turn 3. Following a brief return trip up the other side of Jefferson Avenue, a sharp 90-degree right-hand turn is followed by a 90-degree left-hander moments later that leads downhill to a sweeping left-hander onto Atwater Street for the backstretch alongside the Detroit River. A left on St. Antoine awaits before the unique double-sided pit lane right off Franklin Street, followed by another left-hander at the end of pit lane that takes drivers uphill on Rivard Street. Then comes another left-hander back onto the Jefferson Avenue frontstretch.
This event will be the first doubleheader of 2023 and comprises the fourth and fifth races of season.
Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Matteo Nannini comes into Motor City as the most recent winner, scoring his maiden INDY NXT by Firestone victory May 13 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. The result vaulted the Italian into fourth in the championship standings, just 14 points behind Nolan Siegel in second (98-84). Christian Rasmussen, the only driver to finish in the top five in each of the opening three rounds, sits atop with 116 points.
Notes & Nuggets: Only one American, Ted Prappas (1989), has won in four previous trips – on the original circuit – in downtown Detroit. Other previous winners of the downtown layout include Josele Garza of Mexico (1983, under the Formula Atlantic banner), Tommy Byrne of Ireland (1990) and Eric Bachelart of Belgium (1991).
Ernie Francis Jr., who dropped from fifth to 14th in the championship standings after sitting out of the last round following surgery on a broken wrist, is scheduled to return to his No. 99 HMD Motorsports with Force Indy entry this weekend.
After earning an admirable podium result at Barber Motorsports Park as a fill-in for Josh Pierson, Toby Sowery has returned to reprise the same role for this weekend as Pierson prepares for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Sowery will drive the No. 14 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing entry for his second start of the year.
Two notable drivers to keep an eye on are Jacob Abel (Abel Motorsports) and Louis Foster (Andretti Autosport). Each had strong showings in the previous street circuit in St. Petersburg, Florida, with Foster earning pole and leading the opening seven laps, while Abel led a race-high 27 laps before falling to third on a late restart.