What caused Detroit Grand Prix track problems? - FOX 32 News Chicago

What caused Detroit Grand Prix track problems?

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Roger Penske talks about track problems at the Detroit Grand Prix at a press conference.  (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) Roger Penske talks about track problems at the Detroit Grand Prix at a press conference. (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

More than 100,000 people came to the Grand Prix.  It's no secret it didn't go exactly as planned, but racing fans know what happened here could happen anywhere, and Roger Penske is already working on a fix for next year.

"We have a rain delay sometimes in baseball.  We had a little track delay in Detroit," said Penske.

In the racing world, it's as simple as that.  Chunking asphalt caused a two hour delay at the Grand Prix main event, but track delays happen in every racing series.

The cars are vacuums with maximum traction tires made to stick to the ground like a suction cup pulling up asphalt and spitting it out and recent weather only made it easier.

"Back on Memorial Day, we had a daytime high of 95 degrees.  That was a record high for that day, and then last Friday we had 62 for a high with rain," said Fox 2 Weather Authority Rich Luterman.  "The rain cools buildings off and the pavement off, so from a high of 95 to a high of 62 with rain is a big swing."

Then there's the fact that it's not a dedicated race track.

"The streets are not used a lot and there's the heaving with the cold and the weather, and with the suction of the cars and the cornering power pulled up some of the places where we had done the work.  We had saw that some of those areas needed work and we put down pavement.  Obviously, it wasn't enough," Penske said.

This was a big moment for the City of Detroit on the national stage for something good.  More than 140 buses shuttled racing fans to their seats and Penske says those fans pumped $50-million into the local economy.

"The people were happy and to me that was a deliverable that I wanted and we showcased our city in a very positive way."

Part of the track for next year's Grand Prix will be half a mile longer to make passing easier and they'll pay special attention to this year's problem spots.

"What we'll do is go back out onto the track and we'll try to get some funds in order to be able to replace those areas which we know are a negative, but that's very easy to fix.  I wish I knew it was going to happen on Friday.  We probably would've fixed it for Sunday," said Penske.

But you know what they say, you can't cry over spilt ethanol.

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