Graham Rahal was in a celebratory mood after becoming the first driver to win both races in a weekend around the streets of Detroit, and felt Sunday was a special day after adding victory in race two to his Saturday win.
The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver managed to jump into the lead during the first round of pit stops on Sunday having started third, but once in the lead, he was untouchable, pulling away from Takuma Sato with relative ease, and then holding off Josef Newgarden at the end.
“It was just a good weekend – thanks to the crowd, thanks to Roger Penske, Bud Denker and everybody for putting this on,” said Rahal. “It’s a tremendous event. And thank Mother Nature – we’ve never had this kind of luck around here.
“It was a great day, I’m really proud to get another win for the United Rentals guys, Turns For Troops, PennGrade, Steak n’ Shake, Hyatt, Fifth Third Bank, Honda – everybody that makes this possible. It’s a special day for us.
“We’re the first one to win the double (in Detroit) and it means a lot. It feels great, trust me. Any day you can beat a Penske driver it means a lot.”
Rahal had a comfortable advantage in race two before a red flag closed the pack up, with Newgarden restarting the race on his tail, but with just two laps between the green flag and the chequered flag, the victory was never really in doubt.
“After the race and lead we had, it blew up in the last two laps and the red flag comes out,” said Rahal. “I’m glad we came out on top. I didn’t think he had anything for us as long as we could clear traffic. Our lead went down from 18 seconds to six or so just due to traffic but in the clear I could gap them again.
“I knew it would be tough but I thought we could hold him off. The marbles were bad so those (last two) laps were ugly, they were ugly! But we won and it feels great. All around it was just a spectacular weekend for us.”