Second duel in Detroit

On Sunday the second NTT IndyCar Series race in Detroit was run on Belle Isle track in the so-called Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.

Yesterday’s rain had some influence on today’s qualifying, which had to be stopped due to water puddles on the track.

But the championship leader and yesterday’s winner, Josef Newgarden drove himself to Pole Postion, in front of Alexander Rossi, Zach Veach, Colton Herta, James Hinchcliffe, and Scott Dixon.

It was a chaotic start in the midfield, where Will Power was close to doing a jump start.

When the field came to Turn 3, there was more panic. Rosenqvist had a small flying moment when he got squeezed between Power and Patricio O’Ward. O’Ward spun around, and then Tony Kanaan and Simon Pagenaud also got involved. Rosenqvist could continue but he fall back to P14. O’Ward restarted his car but had lost one lap to the leader. Kanaan was out of the race, while Pagenaud’s mechanics tried to repair the Frenchman’s car.

It deployed a Safety Car, so the track could get cleaned up.

Tony Kanaan
Photo: / James Black

A lot of the drivers used the opportunity to do their first pitstop, amongst them were the leaders Newgarden and Rossi, while Scott Dixon stayed on the track and was now leading the race, ahead of Spencer Pigot and Will Power.

Will Power stalled on the track and had to get help to restart the car. He could start it again just before he got overlapped and came back to last position.
Dixon got a nice gap at the restart, while Newgarden came around the outside of Max Chilton – new tires against older ones. Thus Newgarden was up to fifth.

Leist had to pit one extra time, when the team had suspected that something was wrong with the suspension. After the mechanics had investigated it thoroughly, they sent him back to the track.

Tony Kanaan
Photo: / Chris Owens

Chilton attempted to defend his position against Rossi, but after the latter got past, it opened the door to Hinchcliffe, Herta, Bourdais, Ericsson, Rosenqvist, Sato, Andretti, Veach, Hunter-Reay and Ed Jones to also drive past.

Dixon’s tires were totally done after fourteen laps, when Ferrucci passed him and the New Zealander fell back down the field, before he finally decided to pit.

He managed to pit just before Sebastien Bourdais and Spencer Pigot had an incident at the pit entry. Bourdais hit the back of Pigot’s car and then went up flying. Luckily the car got back down on all four wheels, but the front wing was severely damaged. Pigot ended up hitting the concrete wall hard and retired on the spot. Bourdais drove the car back to the pits, where the mechanics changed the defected front wing.

If called for another Safety Car period, since Pigot’s car was parked in the middle of the pit entry.

Santino Ferrucci
Photo: / Chris Owens

Meanwhile, Santino Ferrucci could enjoy some more kilometres in the lead, in front of Graham Rahal and Josef Newgarden.

Bourdais had to pit one more time, since the mechanics didn’t mount the new front wing correctly and had to do it again. The mechanics would rather send him back to the track without front wing than miss a lap.

When the race got restarted, Rosenqvist was so close to drive straight in Turn 1 with locked brakes, but he took control of the car and kept his position in front of Veach.

Ed Jones lost five places after the restart, and he went down to P15.

The teams began to pit for the second time, 28 laps into the race. And Newgarden managed to come out in front of Rossi.

Rahal was one of the last to pit, and he actually managed to come in and out of the pits again, before Newgarden and Rossi passed the pit exit, which would’ve looked good for Ferrucci, had his team been fast enough with their pitstop.

Scott Dixon
Photo: / James Black

James Hinchcliffe came out from his pitstop centimetres ahead of Newgarden and Rossi. It meant that Rossi saw a chance to overtake both of them. He dived from the inside, while Newgarden also tried to overtake Hinch. Newgarden then lost control of the car and it went sideways, blocking the way, while Rossi slid backwards into Hinchcliffe.

Rossi could continue, while Newgarden and Hinchcliffe had interlaced wheels – so the Safety Car had to come out. Newgarden took the blame and meant he should’ve taken another decision under the overtake.

When Santino Ferrucci went to the pits, Scott Dixon overtook the lead in front of Marcus Ericsson, Takuma Sato, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti. But Graham Rahal was the first person in the field, as he just pitted and got new tires that would likely give him an advantage later in the race.

Dixon pulled away again after the restart, but Ericsson didn’t let him get away.

Rossi got fire in his eyes and drove past Rosenqvist from the outside in the quick Turn 1-2 combination.

Marcus Ericsson
Photo: / Joe Skibinski

Chilton struggled with his car and got overtaken by Veach, Power and Herta in a couple of laps, and Ferrucci shortly afterwards.

Bourdais could finally catch up, but his tires were getting old and he lost four positions in one lap.

When Dixon pitted, Ericsson took over the lead but it was only temporary, since he had to pit one lap later. He came out right behind Dixon, so he was still in the battle for a podium spot. The two of them came out as second and third, as the majority of the field also pitted at the same time.

Will Power had the lead, but he would soon run out of fuel. The question was if he could finish in the top three, and he couldn’t. He came out in P4, in front of Sato, Hunter-Reay and Rossi. Sato tried to get past but instead he lost three places, while Power kept fourth position.

Power went up to third, when he overtook Ed Jones with 17 laps left.

Hinchcliffe suddenly went still on the track, and it deployed yet another SC period.

Will Power
Photo: / James Black

Team Penske got their tools out once again and sent Josef Newgarden back to the track – but 22 laps behind the leader, and nine laps after Pagenaud, who had also had his car under repair earlier in the race.

The race got restarted with ten laps left, where Dixon built a nice gap to Ericsson straight away.

Sato was aggressive under the restart and went to attack Rossi – but instead he lost some places to Rosenqvist and Andretti, and was inches from hitting the tire wall after a duel with the Swede. After that Sato dived into the pits, as the team suspected a puncture.

Six laps before the finish, Rosenqvist ended up in the wall. He had brushed the wall a couple of corners before, and when he drove into Turn 1, his rear suspension broke. It forced him to retire from the race.

The race director opted to stop the race, so the car could get removed and they could still get three laps to race.

Dixon got a fantastic start, with a nice gap to Ericsson and Power.

Rossi tried to get past Hunter-Reay, but couldn’t manage to do it in the first couple of attempts.

But Scott Dixon redeemed himself from yesterday’s nightmare and drove a convincing victory, ahead of Marcus Ericsson, Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi.

The result from today means that Josef Newgarden still has the lead in the championship, in front of Alexander Rossi, Simon Pagenaud, Scott Dixon and Takuma Sato.

The next round of NTT IndyCar Series will be run already this Saturday evening at Texas Motor Speedway.

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