BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Roger Penske usually gets what he wants.
If Penske gets his latest wish, Michigan will have two
open-wheel events in 2007 with a race returning to Detroit's Belle Isle.
Michigan International Speedway, where one of his drivers, Helio Castroneves, won the Firestone Indy 400 on Sunday, will host
another Indy Racing League event next July and Penske wants another
IndyCar series race to be in the Motor City.
"I drove around Belle Isle about three months ago, and
invited (IRL founder) Tony George and (IRL president) Brian
Barnhart," Penske said. "The course is there. It needs a few
nuances, but we could build a tremendous event there, which would
be long-standing for the city of Detroit.
"There's a real opportunity. It's just in the discussion stage,
but it's something that could be very positive for the city and the
Indy Racing League."
The 20th Detroit Grand Prix ran in 2001 on Belle Isle, but a
contract between Championship Auto Racing Teams and promoter
International Management Group expired. IMG paid CART a sanctioning
fee of about $2 million, but has suffered an annual loss of about
Penske said a proposal has to be put together for Detroit
officials, and he hopes to know within the next two months whether
the race will happen next year.
IndyCar series driver Dario Franchitti, who raced in the Detroit
Grand Prix, hopes Penske can pull it off.
"I'd love to be back on Belle Isle," Franchitti said. "We
won there once, and it was a track I really enjoyed."