Helio Castroneves dominated the 20th annual Detroit Grand Prix, claiming the pole and then leading from start to finish – all 72 laps – on the tight, 2.36-mile course to emerge victorious in the CART FedEx Series event for the second straight year. The win allowed Castroneves to close within five points of standings leader Kenny Brack, who started 10th and finished ninth. Brack had possessed a 23-point lead entering the event. Castroneves' win came a month after he gave Team Penske another trip to victory lane in the Indianapolis 500.
Castroneves Earns First CART Victory
June 18, 2000 – CART
Helio Castroneves strayed from his typical, hard-driving style and, instead, chose the conservative route to reach victory lane in the 2000 Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit. Castroneves steered away from trouble, stretched his fuel mileage, and then defeated Italy's Max Papis by 4.415 seconds. The seventh different winner in seven CART FedEx races this season, Castroneves took the lead when pole-sitter Juan Pablo Montoya exited the event with a broken driveshaft on lap 62 of the 84-lap race. The Brazilian then steadily pulled away on the 2.3-mile, 14-turn Belle Isle road course. Rookie Oriol Servia of Spain finished third, just ahead of last year's race winner, Scotsman Dario Franchitti. Prior to the victory, the 25-year-old Castroneves' best finish in three seasons on the CART circuit had been three seconds. The win was the 101st for Team Penske, but its first in the Detroit race since Paul Tracy's 1994 victory. Castroneves endeared himself to the Detroit crowd by climbing the spectator fencing, pumping his fist in celebration.
Detroit Grand Prix Goes To Franchitti
Aug. 8, 1999 – CART
Numerous incidents throughout the Detroit Grand Prix littered the Belle Isle course with debris, but the bizarre was saved for the closing laps. That's when a restart with just a few laps remaining was delayed because of a serious fuel leak from the pace car. That situation basically guaranteed Team Kool Green's Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy a 1-2 finish, respectively. The teammates finished in the same order in Toronto, Canada, a month earlier.
Zanardi Smokes The Field
June 7, 1998 – CART
Defending CART FedEx Series champion Alex Zanardi breezed to victory in the 1998 Detroit Grand Prix, finishing 6.624 seconds ahead of runner-up Adrian Fernandez. First, clearance was given by team owner Chip Ganassi via the team's two-way radio. "Great job!" Ganassi exclaimed to Fernandez. Then, a baker's-dozen donuts were strewn across the Belle Isle track in turns one, three and five as the 31-yearold Zanardi celebrated his win.
Fuel Issues Give Victory To Moore
June 8, 1997 – CART
For Canada's Greg Moore, the 1997 ITT Automotive Detroit Grand Prix was a fuelish issue involving the haves and the have nots. At the checkered flag, the 22-year-old Moore possessed the fuel, while Mark Blundell and Mauricio Gugelmin didn't. On the final circuit of the 77-lap race, Blundell's car sputtered and stopped about a quarter-mile from the Belle Isle road course's finish line; the final turn, No. 1,078. His PacWest Racing teammate, Gugelmin, had suffered the same fate with his car a minute earlier. With the loss of fuel in those two cars, the victory door was opened to Moore in just his second CART season.
Detroit Grand Prix Victory Special For Andretti
June 9, 1996 – CART
When Michael Andretti traveled to Belle Isle for the 1996 ITT Automotive Detroit Grand Prix he was on probation for rough driving earlier in the season. But when the checkered flag waved on the 72-lap CART race, Andretti had driven himself into victory lane and out of trouble with IndyCar chief steward Wally Dallenbach. Ironically, the victory was Andretti's third since being placed on probation after the April 14 race at Long Beach, Calif. In a race that began in the rain and ended under the sun, Andretti grabbed the lead following the restart from a caution period, passing teammate Christian Fittipaldi with seven laps remaining and then holding on for the victory.
Gordon's Roller-Coaster Ride Stops At The Top
June 11, 1995 – CART
For Robby Gordon, the 1995 Detroit Grand Prix weekend on Belle Isle was a roller-coaster ride. After an encounter with the concrete cut short Gordon's practice, his Reynard-Ford Cosworth was rapidly repaired, and the 26-year-old driver then pushed it to a 108.318-mph lap and the provisional pole. He claimed the pole in the final qualifying round. Once the CART race began, however, Gordon fell behind on the ninth lap. He then charged to the front on lap 43 and for the rest of the 77-lap race, the top seven cars paraded around the 2.1-mile course to the finish with none changing position. Jimmy Vasser, Scott Pruett and Michael Andretti followed Gordon across the finish line, barely a second apart.
Penske Reaps First Detroit Grand Prix Victory
June 12, 1994 – CART
Paul Tracy gave team owner Roger Penske his first win in the Detroit Grand Prix, but for the second straight year Al Unser Jr. found himself deprived of a chance at the victory by his teammate. Tracy drove to his first CART victory of the season and the sixth of his career after bumping Marlboro Team Penske teammate Unser Jr. into a tire wall on lap 55. That knocked Unser Jr. out of the lead with 22 laps remaining and deprived him of a fourth straight IndyCar win. "I've never taken anybody out [of a race] on purpose, and I didn't take Al out on purpose," Tracy said after the 1994 season's sixth race. The win was a record fifth consecutive victory for Penske.
Sullivan Wins Penalty-Filled Detroit Grand Prix
June 13, 1993 – CART
Danny Sullivan collected his 17th career IndyCar victory at the controversial 1993 Detroit Grand Prix. Approaching the initial green flag, Emerson Fittipaldi crossed the start line first, but he was supposed to start second behind series point leader and pole sitter Nigel Mansell. Fittipaldi was given a stop-and-go penalty, effectively finishing his chance at a win before it started. He later slid his car into a tire barrier on Lap 38 to officially bring his day to an early ending. On lap 69 of 75, Al Unser Jr. attempted to pass his Galles Racing teammate Danny Sullivan for the lead along the backstraight. Unfortunately, Unser Jr. made contact with some cones that were not considered part of the course and he then had to serve a stop-and-go penality which dropped him to eighth before he recovered to finish sixth. Sullivan beat Raul Boesel to the finish line by 12.206 seconds for the victory as Mario Andretti finished in third place. The win vaulted Sullivan into a ninth-place tie with Paul Tracy in the series standings, behind leader Mansell, who finished 15th after being involved in an accident.
Rahal Takes Commanding Series Lead after Detroit Grand Prix win
June 7, 1992 – CART
Series point leader Bobby Rahal took advantage of the fierce battle for the lead between rookie Paul Tracy and Michael Andretti to capture his second win of the IndyCar season in the first Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle. Andretti led the first 37 laps from the pole, but a good call by strategist Roger Penske to only take fuel and no tires on an early stop put Tracy in second coming out of the pits. After a caution due to a Scott Pruett crash, Tracy was able to take four tires, but was unable to get grip with the new set. Andretti started to close the gap and as he and Tracy fought for the lead they didn’t see Rahal approaching and quickly passing both cars, as the battle then turned into a fight for second instead of first place. Tracy later encountered a gearbox issue and Andretti spun out and recovered to finish fourth. Raul Boesel and Stefan Johansson passed Andretti to finish in second and third place, respectively. On the strength of the win, Rahal left Detroit with a 19-point lead on Al Unser Jr. in the standings.
Fittipaldi Produces Second Career Detroit Grand Prix Victory
June 16, 1991 – CART
Emerson Fittipaldi won his second career race on the streets of Detroit, holding off series point leader Bobby Rahal nearly one-handed over the final seven laps. Fittipaldi’s gear shifter was loose and it required him to drive with his left hand and hold the shifter with his right. The race was red flagged on Lap 48 after a series of accidents, starting with Dennis Vitolo’s car coming to a stop in Turn 4. His car was in the process of being towed back to the pits when Mario Andretti slid into the back of the safety vehicle. On the following lap, Michael Andretti – the pole sitter and defending race winner – was running in second place when his car made contact with Vitolo’s machine and blocked the remaining track space. As he was running in third place, Rahal was forced to come to a stop and that’s when the race was red-flagged. After the track was cleared, the cars returned to action on Lap 50 and Fittipaldi was able to hold on, finishing 0.29 seconds ahead of Rahal, who earned his fourth second-place finish of the season. The win marked Fittipaldi’s 13th career victory. Arie Luyendyk finished third to complete the podium. Rahal remained the series point leader with the runner-up result while Fittipaldi moved up to seventh in the standings with the victory.
Michael Andretti Wins His First Detroit Grand Prix
June 17, 1990 – CART
After dominating most of the previous year’s race before being forced to retire due to an accident, Michael Andretti led all 62 laps wire-to-wire in winning the CART Detroit Grand Prix. Andretti became the first CART driver since 1987 to lead a race from start to finish, winning in dominant fashion by one minute, 48.53 seconds over Bobby Rahal. For the second year in a row, Andretti stalled his car on his second pit stop after lap 50, but he was able to recover and hold his lead until the finish as he was the only car running on the lead lap at the checkered flag. Eddie Cheever finished third and Rick Mears was fourth. Mears took over the CART/PPG Series points lead from Al Unser Jr., raising his total to 69 with Unser in second, one point behind. Emerson Fittipaldi, who finished seventh in the race, ranked third in the standings with 62 points.
Fittipaldi Captures Inaugural IndyCar Race on Streets of Detroit
June 18, 1989 – CART
Emerson Fittipaldi recovered from two incidents and went from last to first in winning the first Detroit Grand Prix IndyCar race. Michael Andretti led 52 of the first 54 laps from the pole before mechanical issues forced him to the pits. The race began under caution when rookie Steve Saleen stalled during the pace lap, but the race went green on Lap 2. Driving through the tight first turn, Fittipaldi and Mario Andretti touched wheels which put Andretti’s car into a spin. Fittipaldi suffered damage to his front right wheel and drove slowly to the pits, falling nearly a lap down. On Lap 48, Mario Andretti and Fittipaldi came together, touching wheels again. A lap later Mario Andretti spun which allowed IndyCar rookie Scott Pruett and Fittipaldi to get by in pursuit of Michael Andretti. The younger Andretti was forced to pit with mechanical issues on lap 54, but he was able to return to the race a lap later before an accident left him with a 13th-place finish. Pruett held the lead over a hard-charging Fittipaldi until lap 58 when Fittipaldi got by and wound up beating Pruett by 29.544 seconds to win the 62-lap race. Mario Andretti recovered to finish third while Teo Fabi finished fourth as the final car on the lead lap. Fittipaldi and fifth-place finisher Rick Mears were tied for the CART/PPG series points lead with 65 points apiece following the result.