- Associated Press - Monday, May 20, 2013

DETROIT (AP) - Will Power looked to his right and saw a buckled-up reporter holding his iPhone, pen and notebook.

“You’re going to try to write?” Power said.

Yep.

It wasn’t easy.


Power pushed a Camaro up to 116 mph on the new, half-mile long straightaway that is part of the new-look Detroit Grand Prix.

“This is the big change, adding this stretch between Turns 2 and 3,” Power said Monday during a fast, two-lap interview. “It’s going to lead to some good racing with more passing, which is exactly what we need at this track.”

The road course on Belle Isle needed a lot more than that. And thanks to Roger Penske and Chevrolet’s money, $1.8 million has been pumped into the 2.36-mile track that needed some help.

Scott Dixon won last year’s race in an event marred by a shoddy surface that stopped the race for 2-plus hours and shortened it from 90 to 60 laps. Chunks of asphalt and concrete went flying, creating pot holes and grooves that spoiled racing’s return to the Motor City for the first time since 2008. Crews filled the gaps with epoxy that settled enough _ barely _ for the race to resume.

“We fixed the track and invested in it so that’ll never happen again,” Grand Prix chairman Bud Denker insisted. “Dario Franchitti has seen the changes, and he said this might be the best street course in America.”

Power seemed to have figured out the best lines to follow on the track, hugging corners and running alongside walls as a reporter shifted in his seat with each quick turn of the wheel.

“This track has a really nice flow to it,” he said. “And, there are some sections of the track that are really nice and smooth.”

Power eventually slowed to a stop after falling 1 mph short of his fastest speed for the day.

“It’s getting hotter,” he said.

But it wasn’t on the inside of the Camaro, which was equipped with air conditioning unlike the car Power will be in during the Detroit Grand Prix races June 1-2.

“I wish we did,” Power said.