Rahal survives late scare to double up in Detroit


Graham Rahal doubled up in Detroit - Credit: Chris Owens / IndyCar

Graham Rahal survived a late red flag scare and a two-lap sprint to the chequered flag to claim his second victory of the weekend around the streets of Detroit.

The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver became the first driver to win both races of the Dual in Detroit in the same weekend, and much like on Saturday, he was the man to beat, leading 41 of the 70 laps.

Starting third on the grid, he found a way passed Ryan Hunter-Reay for second on lap ten before jumping pole sitter Takuma Sato in the first round of pit stops to assume the lead.

Rahal then survived a late scare when the officials decided to red flag the race in order to see it finish under green flag conditions, with both James Hinchcliffe and Spencer Pigot having mechanical issues almost simultaneously.

But despite the field being bunched up behind him, with lapped runners out of the way, Rahal maintained position at the front of the field for the final two laps to jump up to sixth place in the championship standings, having arrived in Detroit well outside the top ten.

Much like on Saturday, Josef Newgarden led the Team Penske and Chevrolet charge, and had been the fastest driver on track just prior to the red flag, with Rahal in his sights. Unfortunately for the young American, he was not able to keep Rahal close enough in those final two laps, but was able to hang on to second place ahead of team-mate Will Power, who rounded out the podium.

Sato could only manage fourth, with the Japanese racer finding himself shuffled down the order during both of his pit stops. The Andretti Autosport driver lost the lead to Rahal in the first round of stops, and then saw Power jump him in the second, while Newgarden used a three-stop strategy to jump both of them.

Simon Pagenaud made it three Team Penske drivers inside the top five, but was unable to do anything about Sato ahead of him despite appearing to have the stronger car, while Scott Dixon recovered from a slow first pit stop where the fuel hose would not engage properly to claim sixth for Chip Ganassi Racing and retain the lead in the championship standings.

Alexander Rossi was one of only three drivers to start the race on the black-walled Firestone tyres, and used them wisely in the early stages of the race to claim seventh for Andretti Herta Autosport despite an early penalty for blocking Marco Andretti that saw him required to give back the spot to his team-mate.

Charlie Kimball drove a quiet race to eighth for Chip Ganassi Racing, finishing ahead of Helio Castroneves, who was running strongly and battling Hunter-Reay for third when the two clashed and he suffered a puncture that saw him drop to the tail of the field, while Hunter-Reay pitted for fresh tyres and a new front wing not long after as he dropped like a stone down the field.

Tony Kanaan completed the top ten for Chip Ganassi Racing despite taking a penalty for running over an air hose during one of his pit stops, while AJ Foyt Racing duo Carlos Muñoz and Conor Daly finished eleventh and twelfth ahead of Andretti and Esteban Gutierrez.

As well as Hinchcliffe and Pigot, Ed Jones was an early retiree, with the Dale Coyne Racing driver pulling off the track at the end of the back straight with what appeared to be a mechanical issue. He had already been shuffled to the back of the pack after contact with JR Hildebrand gave him front wing damage, while Hildebrand himself was forced to pit with a puncture that ultimately meant he finished a lapped eighteenth, just behind the equally troubled Hunter-Reay.

Josef Newgarden made a three-stop strategy work to claim second in Detroit – Credit: Chris Owens / IndyCar

Belle Isle Race 2 Result

POSNO.DRIVERNATTEAMTIME
115Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing1:33:36.3769s
22Josef NewgardenUSATeam Penske+1.1772s
312Will PowerAUSTeam Penske+2.6228s
426Takuma SatoJAPAndretti Autosport+3.8535s
51Simon PagenaudFRATeam Penske+4.0810s
69Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing+4.6005s
798Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Herta Autosport+6.1978s
883Charlie KimballUSAChip Ganassi Racing+6.6823s
93Helio CastronevesBRZTeam Penske+6.8439s
1010Tony KanaanBRZChip Ganassi Racing+7.7201s
1114Carlos MunozCOLAJ Foyt Enterprises+8.1160s
124Conor DalyUSAAJ Foyt Enterprises+8.7847s
1327Marco AndrettiUSAAndretti Autosport+9.6103s
1418Esteban GutierrezMEXDale Coyne Racing+13.1325s
158Max ChiltonGBRChip Ganassi Racing+1 Lap
167Mikhail AleshinRUSSchmidt Peterson Motorsports+1 Lap
1728Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti Autosport+1 Lap
1821JR HildebrandUSAEd Carpenter Racing+1 Lap
1916Oriol ServiaESPRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing+1 Lap
RET5James HinchcliffeCANSchmidt Peterson MotorsportsRetired
RET20Spencer PigotUSAEd Carpenter RacingRetired
RET19Ed JonesUAEDale Coyne RacingRetired