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IndyCar's doubleheader debut in Detroit

Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - The IndyCar Series will hold its first doubleheader of the season this weekend at Detroit's Bell Isle Park.

It's the first time in IndyCar history two full-distance races take place at a venue on the same weekend. The street circuits in Toronto and Houston also will host doubleheaders this season. Toronto is scheduled for July 13-14, and Houston's Reliant Park, which is a new venue on this year's series schedule, is slated for Oct. 5-6.

The first 70-race at Belle Isle Park is scheduled for Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET, and the second is slated for Sunday at the same time. If a driver wins both events here, that person will collect a $50,000 bonus.

Tony Kanaan comes to Detroit after a very busy week of appearances and media obligations following his victory in last Sunday's 97th running of the Indianapolis 500. The 38-year-old Brazilian won IndyCar's most prestigious race of the season for the first time in his 12th attempt.

Kanaan will now have to endure a physical weekend in Detroit.

"I hope I survive by the time I get there," Kanaan said. "I don't know what to think about the doubleheader. I think it's going to be extremely brutal on the drivers. One race is hard enough. Two in a weekend is going to be extremely tough."

With the win at Indy, Kanaan climbed up to seventh in the point standings. He is currently 44 points behind Marco Andretti, who took over the top spot after finishing fourth in the Indy 500.

Can Kanaan keep his momentum going in Detroit?

"I have to think so ,especially coming here with this good momentum, I think we definitely can," he said.

Qualifying for race 1 will follow the regular three-round format, including the "fast six" final segment, for road and street circuits.

Last week, IndyCar announced that qualifying for the second race in Detroit, Toronto and Houston will be split into two groups. Each group runs for 12 minutes, with five minutes of guaranteed green-flag time. Group 1 will consist of odd-numbered positions on the practice time sheet, while even-numbered positions will make up group 2.

The starting field positions for race 2 will be determined by the best time ranking of the two groups combined, from fastest to slowest. The fastest qualifier earns the pole position.

"It's going to be physically and mentally demanding, not only for the drivers but for the crews and for the cars," said Simon Pagenaud, who finished third in last year's IndyCar race at Belle Isle Park. "The biggest thing is if you crash in qualifying, then you can't really go racing. It's going to be very important to take as much risk as possible without crashing the car because that would be quite dramatic on the event itself.

"I'm looking forward to it. There's a lot of points available, obviously. Detroit is a racetrack I really enjoy being at, driving on. It should be an interesting weekend."

When the series competed at Belle Isle last year, the race was stopped shortly after James Hinchcliffe struck a piece of asphalt, sending him into the tire barrier in turn seven. Chunks of asphalt in turns 6, 7 and 10 were coming loose before Hinchcliffe's incident occurred on lap 40.

Track personnel repaired the affected areas on the circuit with an epoxy compound that required about 30 minutes of drying time. The race resumed on lap 46. However, IndyCar officials had to shorten the event by 30 laps due to darkness approaching and safety concerns.

Scott Dixon dominated the whole race, starting on the pole and leading all 60 laps. Dario Franchitti finished second to give Chip Ganassi Racing its second straight 1-2 finish. The week before Detroit, Franchitti and Dixon finished first and second, respectively, at Indianapolis.

Twenty-five teams are on the entry list for the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit.

Series: IZOD IndyCar. Date: Saturday, June 1 (Race 1); Sunday, June 2 (Race 2). Race: Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit. Site: The Raceway at Belle Isle Park. Track: 2.36-mile, 13-turn temporary street course. Start Time: 3:30 p.m. ET (both Saturday and Sunday). Laps: 70 laps (both races). Miles: 164.22 (both races). 2012 Winner: Scott Dixon. Television: ABC. Radio: IMS Radio Network/SIRIUS XM Satellite.

05/30 17:16:11 ET

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