DETROIT, Mich. (August 15, 2008) On Thursday, August 14, Helio Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda, visited Detroit to give the locals a preview of the upcoming excitement of the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix to be held from August 29 through 31.
“We had a very full day in the Motor City promoting the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix,” said Castroneves, who currently ranks second in the 2008 IndyCar Series championship standings. “It was great to get a chance to see and drive the race track on Belle Isle again. It’s a place that has a lot of great memories and hopefully we can create a few more on Labor Day weekend.”
Castroneves’ day started out with an eye-opener to local media outlets, as he gave them high-speed rides of the challenging 14-turn Raceway at Belle Isle Park street course in a Chevrolet Corvette, the official vehicle of the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. For two hours, the two-time Indy 500 champion and two-time Belle Isle winner drove representatives from more than 10 media outlets around the 2.07-mile track, and all emerged with smiles on their faces (and weak knees).
Afterwards it was time to take in a bit of Detroit’s and America’s favorite pastime – a little baseball with the Detroit Tigers. At Comerica Park, Castroneves did interviews and photo ops, but the highlight was the Brazilian throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. The toss was a little high, but the ball made it over the plate with ease. Detroit won over the Toronto Blue Jays in an exciting game, no doubt due to a little luck provided by the race-winning driver’s presence.
“It was a lot of fun to throw out the first pitch before the Detroit Tigers game,” said Castroneves. “I threw it over the plate so I was pretty happy about that and we got a chance to watch the Tigers win against Toronto.”
Soon after…time for more interviews! Some promotion on WXYZ-TV Channel 7 (ABC) and on the top afternoon sports show on WDFN Sportsradio 1130 and then capped off the day with a visit to WWJ Radio’s “Grand Prixmiere” event, held at the Forte restaurant in Birmingham.
After this visit, Castroneves is ready for some on-track action in the Motor City. “Belle Isle looks great and it’s almost ready for the IndyCar Series to race,” he said. “I can’t wait until we’re back here in just two short weeks so we can try to help our push for the championship.”
The Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix is a family-oriented event that will feature live music by Sugar Ray and Everclear, and exciting on-track action provided by the IndyCar Series, the American Le Mans Series and the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT Championship. For more information, visit www.detroitgp.com.