Team Penske and Will Power took a hard fought win on the streets of Detroit as IndyCar’s first double header of the season got well underway.
Starting 16th on the grid after admittedly missing his ideal set up in qualifying, strategists at Penske made sure that Power made best use of a string of full course cautions to get into the lead on lap 46 and stay their for all but three laps in the remainder of the 70 lap race.
It wasn’t easy for the Penske driver, who has now taken his 23rd win, indeed on only the fifth lap his growing discontent with Simon Pagenaud reached new levels as the pair touched wheels leading to the Frenchman making an optimistic lunge up the inside and into the wall – he had to retire because of suspension damage.
The Australian said: “It’s a massive win. It’s a massive win for me, massive win for the team and especially for Roger and for Chevy. They’ve been trying to win here for a long time and we finally did it with a Honda trying to charge by.”
That Honda pushing Power to a finishing margin of 0.308 seconds was the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda of Graham Rahal who had to try all his luck to get past Power but it wasn’t to be. For Rahal, the second place finish was his best result since Long Beach 2013 and will be hoping that this improved race can be a sign of positive things to come over the remainder of the season.
In third place and scoring his 66th podium was Tony Kanaan. Whilst he didn’t have anywhere near the pace of those in front of him, he managed to use all his skill to make sure that Justin Wilson had to stay in fourth place and tantalisingly short of a podium.
Fifth place went to pole sitter Helio Castroneves, even though his pace was good his strategy was unfortunately clashing with the yellow flag periods and stunted his progression.
One man who definitely had a worse day than Castroneves was Jack Hawksworth. A solid opening stint was ruined after a brake rotor exploded shortly before his first stop and left him four laps down. The icing on the cake was provided close to the end of the race as he tangled with Mikhail Aleshin and put them both out.
The second race in the IndyCar Dual in Detroit takes place today at 8:30pm UK time.