When Doubleheader Races were proposed and subsequently adopted, there was skepticism thoughout the fans and the IndyCar paddock on the reasons why. The doubleheaders at Detroit worked great as far as I'm concerned and should be further used.
The fact that the races were treated as two separate races unlike the Firestone Twin 275s at Texas Motor Speedway in 2011 which were treated as half races was a good move. The only difference was each race had a different qualifying procedure.
What made both races entertaining was that the two were very different. Saturday's race was a clean tire strategy geared race and in the end underdog Mike Conway took the checkered flag. While Sunday's race suffered from yellow fever and was slowed 6 times due to accidents.
Driver fatigue was suspected to be the cause of the majority of wrecks in Sunday's race, but I have to disagree. The contact between Sebastien Bourdais and Will Power was the result of cars being cramped up on restarts and everyone fighting for the same piece of racetrack. Bourdais was assessed a drive through penalty for avoidable contact.
Both races were days of the underdogs. Conway stepped off the full-time scene in Indycar at the end of last season and he jumped in Dale Coyne's second fiddle entry and made it look easy driving on the tight Belle Isle Circuit. Race 1, he was uncontested and cruised to an easy win, whereas on Saturday he got stuck in the back of the pack after his pit stop, but he slithered his way through traffic. Fellow Briton James Jakes flexed his muscle throughout the weekend in his Acorn Stairlifts Rahal Letterman Racing entry and finished 2nd in the 2nd race after spinning late in Race 1 ending a good run.
The owners of the winning cars were feel good stories. Dale Coyne is a longtime owner in IndyCar that is just a little guy that has done whatever it takes to say on the race track. That in of itself is admirable. Sam Schmidt is also another warrior and survivor. Since Schmidt was paralyzed in an accident at Walt Disney World Speedway, he has spent the better part of the last 10 years building a race team and has one of the best records in Indy Lights and now he has finally gotten his big break with Simon Pagenaud.
The ratings were 0.8 for Saturday and 0.7 for Sunday. For IndyCar standards, the ratings are good, but the viewership is not great as a whole. Doubleheaders can be a good way to get some viewers because people who tune in for the Saturday race may be intrigued by it and want to watch the other race on Sunday as well. Same thing goes for spectators at the track, if people like what they see on Saturday, they may be enticed to come back on Sunday.
Don't get me wrong, Doubleheaders should not be done every weekend, but it is a neat thing to do. With the races at Toronto and Houston having standing starts in one of the races of the weekend, that should be something to look forward to.