Grand Prix cars put on ‘awesome’ show for spectators

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

Detroit — Sean Hunter wanted to surprise his son and take him to the Belle Isle Grand Prix, so he waited until Sunday to tell him about their plans for the day.

But Hunter also got a surprise: While the Pontiac man was about to buy tickets for him and Sean Jr., someone gave them a set of tickets, so they got in free.

“He loves cars,” said Hunter, who remembers going to the Detroit Grand Prix when he was young. “When I asked him if he wanted to go, he said, ‘That would be awesome.’ So we’re here. I know he’ll enjoy this.”

Hunter was among hundreds of spectators watching fast cars race around a track over the weekend on Belle Isle. The three-day event started Friday and wrapped up Sunday.

Grand Prix officials said they did not immediately have attendance figures, but many agreed that turnout was low on the last day due to the cold, rainy weather. Showers and thunderstorms fell on Detroit on Saturday as the high reached 83. On Sunday, it rained again as temperatures dipped into the 50s.

But the fans who showed up were diehards devoted to Detroit.

“It’s awesome,” said Shannon Peltier, 27, of Clinton Township. “I love it. The cars go so fast.”

The downside? It was cold.

Sebastien Bourdais won Race No. 2 on Sunday in the Chevrolet Dual after finishing 14th Saturday in the No. 11 Team Mistic E-Cigs KVSH Racing Chevrolet.

Robert Carpenter, a resident of Metamora in Lapeer County, said it was unfortunate the weather put a damper on the weekend.

“But it’s fantastic we’re here in Detroit seeing motor racing, live and up close,” said Carpenter, who has worked on Belle Isle’s Scott Fountain for the past month to get it running.

Gov. Rick Snyder was among the fans in the crowd. He showed up around 4 p.m., shook hands with some of the fans and then watched the race.

“It’s a wonderful day in Detroit,” said Snyder. “It’s great to see the excitement and the race going on. It’s wonderful to show off Belle Isle and see it on national TV.

“Belle Isle just keeps getting better and the track keeps getting better. Looking forward to a great end to the race.”