The second race of the weekend was run on Sunday in Detroit, in the so-called Duel in Detroit.
The drivers had a new Qualifying session Sunday morning local time, and that resulted in Championship leader Alexander Rossi grabbing first position ahead of Robert Wickens, Will Power, Ed Jones and yesterday’s winner, Scott Dixon.
The qualifying was run on a damp track, which caught out Josef Newgarden and Tony Kanaan. So they had to start far back in the field. Yesterday’s Polesitter Marco Andretti started the race from P12.
The start was delayed, when the pace car crashed during the formation lap… Yup, now we have seen that, too.
The race start was delayed but just over half an hour.
There was action from the first meter, where Ed Jones tried to overtake Will Power. Jones made a small mistake later on the lap, and lost two positions to Scott Dixon and James Hinchcliffe.
Spencer Pigot was turned around on lap one, so the Safety Car needed to be deployed, so that his car could be restarted. Santino Ferrucci was responsible for the contact with Pigot, but the stewards decided it was a race accident, without further penalty.
Ryan Hunter-Reay overtook Simon Pagenaud in the battle for 10th, and shortly after we saw Marco Andretti pass Zach Veach in the fight for P8.
James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay both pitted on the 11th lap, to try a different strategy. Wickens pitted one lap later, since his tires were gone – just like in the race yesterday.
Sebastien Bourdais was moving forward in the field, and was able push Graham Rahal and Scott Dixon. He even managed to overtake Rahal prior to their first pitstop.
There were problems for Santino Ferrucci on the 22nd lap, when he spun in the ultra fast Turn 1. He had just pitted for new tires, but the cold tires caught out the young rookie, who hit the wall and scraped off his front wing. Luckily he was able to get going, and return to the pits, without going to FCY.
After everybody had pitted once, we had Robert Wickens leading Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, Tony Kanaan, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power.
Scott Dixon made a hard but fair manoeuvre on Sebastien Bourdais, in the battle for 4th.
Shortly after we saw Sebastien Bourdais spinning out in Turn 1. Somehow he missed the wall and to be be hit. His rear suspension had broken, so he was just a passenger. He managed to get back to the pits, but lost many laps due to the repairs.
Scott Dixon was held for a few extra seconds, since he had to wait for Graham Rahal, who was pitting at the same time, passing Dixon’s box when the New Zealander was about to leave.
Ryan Hunter-Reay had slowly but surely worked his way into second in the race, after doing a very alternative strategy – and that was from starting P10.
Hunter-Reay caught Rossi out in front, so the final 9 laps would be tough for Rossi, trying to keep his teammate behind.
That pressure became too much for Rossi who outbraked himself in Turn 3. He had already locked the wheel one lap earlier, and when he repeated that 7 laps before the chequered flag, he went straight on, not only losing the lead, but also every chance of a top 10, since the locked wheel turned into a puncture. A disappointing end for the Championship leading driver, who lost that position.
So Ryan Hunter-Reay was able to take a clear win, with 12 seconds to Will Power in second and Ed Jones, Scott Dixon and Graham Rahal in the following positions.
The victory was the first for Hunter-Reay since 2015. So after Marco Andretti took his first Pole Position in 5 years, Dixon took the first victory of 2018, the Sunday race had it’s own specialty, bringing a different face into Victory Lane.
Will Power has retaken the lead of the Championship, followed by Scott Dixon, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Josef Newgarden.
The Verizon IndyCar Series drivers only have a few days break before they will race on the oval in Texas.