Belle Isle Detroit Grand Prix has fans, drivers soaking up memories

After traveling to the Indianapolis 500 last weekend, Patrice and Bob Dufour weren’t planning on coming to Belle Isle.

The friends from Sarnia, Ontario, who share the same last name but aren’t related, typically frequent the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on an annual basis.

With a venture to the Montreal Grand Prix scheduled for a week from now, they had planned to save their traveling legs, until they realized they’d miss the last race on  Belle Isle before the event returns to its origins in downtown Detroit next year.

“It was kind of bad news for us, we really couldn’t believe it,” Patrice said as he stood in the paddock among a throng of attendees. “We love Belle Isle, the settings and everything with the city in the background. We’ll miss it, but that’s the reason why we’re here today.”

IndyCar driver Josef Newgarden during the qualify race Detroit Grand Prix in Detroit on Saturday, June 4, 2022.

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The bittersweet feeling of departure from Belle Isle paired with excitement for the return of racing downtown has prevailed throughout this weekend. Each participant in the Detroit Grand Prix — driver, investor or fan — has been soaking in the last of a 22-year run.

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