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Monday, October 17, 2011

General Motors, Penske join forces to bring Indy race back to the Motor City

Now that General Motors is out of bankruptcy and back in the auto sales race, another kind of race is coming back to its hometown. After a four-year absence, the Izod IndyCar Series is scheduled to return to Detroit June 1-3, 2012, to race a 2.1-mile circuit on Belle Isle, Detroit's island park in the Detroit River near downtown.

Chevrolet partnered with the Indy racing series and Penske Corp. in a three-year race deal.

"Chevrolet has a long, storied history in IndyCar racing," said Mark Reuss, president of GM North America. "This year we celebrated the shared centennial of Chevrolet and the Indianapolis 500. We're excited to see that history continue with the help of Penske Corp. and IndyCar."

Reuss said reuniting with race team chief Roger Penske "is very personal for me." His father, Lloyd Reuss, a GM president in the early 1990s, worked with Penske on the original Chevy IndyCar program.

"I remember standing around the pit area as a boy with my dad," Reuss said, "during those glory days when Chevrolet absolutely dominated."

With GM healing from bankruptcy, Reuss said he saw the opportunity to reconnect with what he sees as "part of our corporate DNA." Reuss said he "reached out to the man who I knew could make us a powerhouse once again," and contacted Penske last year.

The Indy Car engines will be prepared by Ilmor Engineering, which Penske co-owns. The Chevrolet Indy Grand Prix presented by -- an affiliate of Automotive News -- will headline the events on the weekend after the Indy 500

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