Spent the last two days of my life in downtown Detroit on Belle Isle, and I made a few observations. More NASCAR T-shirts than INDY car T-shirts, and more F1 T-shirts than INDY Car T-shirts. Very few INDY Car T-shirts of any kind. Ganassi Racing, Penske Racing, Lids, and Chevrolet Racing all had souvenir trailers selling souvenirs including T-shirts, but no Andretti Autosport drivers T-shirts to be found any where. Only Andretti Autosport drivers hats that the Lids souvenir trailer was selling. I wore a #43 John Andretti Window World INDY 500 T-shirt on Saturday and a 2011 Dan Wheldon INDY 500 Champ T-shirt today. The majority of the INDY Car T-shirts I did see were on old guys, like myself, and they were wearing old CART and Champ Car T-shirts from back in the day like Team Kool Green Racing, Paul Tracy Forsythe Racing, Bobby Rahal Miller High Life Racing, etc.
I believe we get a lot of Canadians at the Detroit Grand Prix, and technically half of Belle Isle is in Canada, but some how Michigan, or the United States, claimed the how isle. Not sure how that one worked out, and a lot of the F1 T-shirts were probably the Canadians. They love their F1.
I've been going to the races on Belle Isle since the beginning and the one thing I noticed over the last two days was a very obvious Federal Law Enforcement presence which I haven't seen, or noticed, in other years, and what I mean by that is U.S. Border Patrol Officers and U.S Customs & Border Protection Officers walking around, and yes there's a difference. U.S. Border Patrrol wear dark brownish green uniforms, and U.S. Customs & Border Protection Officers wear Navy Blue uniforms, and they were all wearing bullet proof vests carrying side arms, and also seen a few U.S. Coast Guard boats patrolling the perimeter of the island. I felt like I was at a shopping mall in Tel Aviv with all the armed Federal Police. Also a very large and noticable presence of the Detroit Police, Michigan State Troopers, and Wayne County Sheriff Depuites on the island.
As far as the track coming up I don't see how anybody could of predicted that. They do run on streets used by cars year around, and go through Michigan winters, and there hasn't been a race on the island in four years. Let's face it. The same thing has happen to NASCAR at I believe Daytona and Martinsville, and those are purpose built race tracks that get raced on twice a year, and neither one faces a Michigan winter.
We talked very briefly to Patrick Dempsey in the paddock, and got his autograph and a hero card. Ran into Boris Said wondering around the paddock, and talked to him briefly. Ran into, and talk briefly with Roush driver Colin Braun, or is it ex-Roush driver. Didn't have the nerve to ask. Hasn't been in many truck or Nationwide Races for Roush lately.
I was surprised how scarce the INDY car drivers make themselves in the paddock. If they're not in the car out on the track they're hiding in their trailers. The only two INDY car drivers I saw all weekend in the paddock were Helio, who flew by me on his scooter. I yelled out "Helio", and he gave me the peace sign as he flew by, and we did see Simona de Silvestro hanging out by her car back in the garage area.
I see where Lotus is now down to one entry, and that's Simona de Silvestro. I wonder how much longer Lotus will be around?
I must admit, and if you're not into country music you won't get this, but the highlight of the weekend was the Ronnie Dunn (formely half of Brooks & Dunn) concert they had down on the island. Ronnie Dunn can fill good size arenas any where in the country, and since General Motors sponsored the whole weekend I wonder what it cost them to bring Ronnie Dunn in for a concert? He played for a straight hour, and that was about it. Some of his new songs off of his new solo albums, and a lot of Brooks & Dunn songs. Getting back to General Motors sponsoring the whole weekend, you couldn't swing a dead cat on the island without hitting a Chevrolet, Cadillac, Chevrolet Racing, or Cadillac Racing sign, banner, or billboard.
The strangest thing that happen all weekend was this afternoon I had a very beautiful young lady, around early 30s, walk up to me out of blue, and ask me if I'd buy a lady a beer. I bought her one, and when my buddy asked why I did that I told him spending that $7 on that beer didn't change my life in any way, and it wasn't the first, and won't be the last time I buy a beautiful lady a drink, and get nothing in return.
Something tells me I should go back and re-read this post for grammar and spelling errors, but I'm just too tired, so it is was it is.