Newgarden Braced for Back-To-Back Challenge at Belle Isle
Only six days following the Indianapolis 500, the IZOD IndyCar Series is back in action, racing a double header at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2.
Driving the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone car, Josef Newgarden is set to steer his way through the 2.3-mile street circuit along beautiful Belle Isle’s 982-acre island, just minutes from downtown Detroit.
“Detroit is one of the most interesting places we go because we are racing on an island and through a park,” Newgarden said. “It’s a very fun place to drive and I just think it’s super cool that there’s an IndyCar race running on an island.”
With two duals on consecutive days, there is excess demand placed on the drivers.
“Physically it’s going to be a very challenging race weekend,” Newgarden said. “There’s so much that you need to do as a driver to prepare for one race, and I think that two races just makes it even more difficult with hydration levels, sleep and preparation.”
With a challenge comes competitiveness, which the sophomore driver is sure to bring.
“The great thing is that we get to run two races, which normally we don’t get to do,” Newgarden said. “A lot of the time if you don’t win a race you want to run a second one, and this time you actually can. I think it’ll be fun for everyone involved. I always loved running two races as a junior driver.”
After spending two solid weeks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s oval track, switching gears to a street circuit is not an easy task.
“Detroit is a very physical place to drive,” Newgarden said. “It is fast and requires a lot of reaction time on the wheel, which is very different than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s a big adjustment to start with, but once you get used to it you get back into the rhythm of what it’s like to run a street course.”
Both races air live on ABC at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2. Qualifying begins on Friday, May 31 at 3 p.m. ET. For the latest trackside updates from SFHR, follow @SFHRindy on Twitter.