I’m really excited to be working with Local 4 News for this weekend’s coverage of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear.
I’ll be working with Bernie Smilovitz and Jamie Edmonds on race coverage and my wife will be working there as well. It’ll be fun to interview some of my closest friends and ask them the tough questions.
Detroit has always been a memorable place for me. I first came to America to race Indy Lights in 1996. I won my first race in Detroit and then we came back a year later and won again. Then, I finally made my move to INDYCAR in 1998.
Belle Isle is a very tough race track. The concrete is extremely bumpy and very challenging. I was very confident, however, when I went there because it’s a track that brought really good results for me.
Unfortunately, in 2000, I actually had my worst accident in my racing career at Belle Isle. During a practice session, I hit the wall at turn seven, just before the fountain, and I broke my arm in two places and was hospitalized for three days.
I missed four races that year, but I remember how well I was treated at the hospital and by Mr. Penske. When I got discharged, Roger sent his own plane to take me home. The nurses, the doctors and everyone involved were great and I really appreciated that.
Despite that accident I still have very good memories of the race and am really looking forward to this weekend. Hopefully, it’ll make for some exciting and interesting TV and the fans will enjoy hearing some insight about racing on Belle Isle from a driver’s perspective.