Will Power Makes Tyres Last to Win Detroit Grand Prix

4 Mins read
(Photo Credit: Chris Owens / Penske Entertainment / Courtesy of IndyCar)

Will Power held onto his alternate red wall tyres for twenty laps in his final stint, holding off an insane charge by Alexander Rossi to win the final Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on the Raceway at Belle Isle Park.

Power held a gap of over sixteen seconds after his final pit stop on lap 50 that Rossi managed to shrink down to one second, but Team Penske‘s two-stop strategy held strong to beat out Rossi on the three-stop.

“I just drove it as straight as I could,” Power said post-race. “I never put any slip in it, I was just driving it really straight and really nice on the brakes, on the throttle. I knew that if we could keep a reasonable gap to the end we’d be okay but I was a bit worried because I could see how badly [the tyres] died, but there’s a lot more rubber on the track at the end.”

After watching a win at Detroit slip away last year, Power found this win to be a cathartic one.

“It’s redemption from last year. I was just waiting for something to happen those last ten laps, but just stayed laser-focused.”

Rossi, who just announced that he will be moving to Arrow McLaren SP prior to this race weekend, seemed to be the favorite after how well he made the three-stop strategy work, but in the end the American simply ran out of laps to catch Power.

Josef Newgarden led the field to green alongside Takuma Sato, who quickly fell behind the two Meyer Shank Racing cars of Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves. Rossi, who started eleventh, gained three positions on the first lap as he marched through the pack. Some drivers came into the pits as early as lap three to get off of the alternate tyres and move to a three-stop strategy, namely Rossi (lap four), Rinus Veekay (lap three), and Conor Daly (lap five) among others.

Those that started on the primary tyre like Power, Scott Dixon, Alex Palou, and rookie Kyle Kirkwood quickly shot through the field as the alternate tyres fell off, with those on the reds hoping to make it to lap 16 to stay in the two-stop window. That proved costly, as the aforementioned trio sent Newgarden from first to fourth in only a few corners on lap 14, with Power inheriting the lead. Rossi even managed to pass Newgarden on track on lap 17, already one pit stop ahead of the polesitter.

Newgarden, Pato O’Ward, and Colton Herta all finally pit on lap 18 after the threat of caution for a slowing Castroneves who was plagued with an electrical issue. He was officially out of the race on lap 21.

(Photo Credit: Joe Skibinski / Penske Entertainment / Courtesy of IndyCar)

Rossi made his second of three pit stops on lap 24, while Power, Dixon, and Palou all made their first stops a few laps later. The Chip Ganassi Racing duo opted to do their alternate stint at this stop, while Power went for primary tyres to leave the reds until the very end. From here, Rossi hunted the CGR driver as their tyres quickly began to fall off. He finally caught and passed Palou in turn three on lap 38, with Dixon still to go and a fifteen second gap to Power in the lead.

Rossi finally dispatched Dixon on lap 43 and now the chase really began for Rossi, but not before a pit stop on lap 46 for another set of primary tyres. Two laps later, Kirkwood came in for his final stop, but a tank-slapper on his out-lap saw the rookie make contact with the wall, damaging the car much more than initially thought, ending a promising run that could have ended up in a top ten finish. He was officially out on lap 50.

Power made his final stop for the reds on that same lap, and with a sixteen second gap to make up and clean track ahead Rossi managed to close it down to one second, but it wasn’t enough to steal the win.

Behind Power and Rossi, Dixon rounded out the podium with a strong third place finish, rebounding well after another disappointing Indy 500. Newgarden managed to recover from his first-stint free-fall to finish fourth, with O’Ward rounding out the top five.

Palou finished sixth with teammate Marcus Ericsson seventh, a strong result after the whirlwind of appearances (and lack of sleep) that comes with winning “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

Herta finished eighth for Andretti Autosport, while Pagenaud finished ninth to record his fifth top ten result of the season. Felix Rosenqvist rounded out the top ten with a brilliant result after starting on the last row of the grid. A result much needed with his future at AMSP in the balance.

This win puts Power back at the top of the points standings heading into the eighth race of the season next weekend at Road America for the Sonsio Grand Prix on 12 June, 2022.

Chevrolet Grand Prix of Detroit – Official Results

112Will PowerAUSTeam Penske01:32:08.8183
227Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Autosport+ 1.002 sec.
39Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing+ 7.123 sec.
42Josef NewgardenUSATeam Penske+ 10.671 sec.
55Pato O’WardMEXArrow McLaren SP+ 11.234 sec.
610Alex PalouESPChip Ganassi Racing+ 14.905 sec.
78Marcus EricssonSWEChip Ganassi Racing+ 40.899 sec.
826Colton HertaUSAAndretti Autosport+ 41.128 sec.
960Simon PagenaudFRAMeyer Shank Racing+ 41.294 sec.
107Felix RosenqvistSWEArrow McLaren SP+ 42.877 sec.
1118David Malukas (R)USADale Coyne Racing w/ HMD Motorsports+ 45.891 sec.
1220Conor DalyUSAEd Carpenter Racing+ 51.176 sec.
1351Takuma SatoJPNDale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing+ 52.216 sec.
1430Christian Lundgaard (R)DENRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing+ 1:12.776 sec.
1545Jack HarveyGBRRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing+ 1:28.241 sec.
1621Rinus VeeKayNEDEd Carpenter Racing+ 1 Lap
1728Romain GrosjeanFRAAndretti Autosport+ 1 Lap
1829Devlin DeFrancesco (R)CANAndretti Steinbrenner Autosport+ 1 Lap
193Scott McLaughlinNZLTeam Penske+ 1 Lap
204Dalton KellettCANA.J. Foyt Enterprises+ 1 Lap
2177Santino FerrucciUSAJuncos Hollinger Racing+ 2 Laps
2248Jimmie JohnsonUSAChip Ganassi Racing+ 2 Laps
2311Tatiana Calderon (R)COLA.J. Foyt Enterprises+ 2 Laps
2414Kyle Kirkwood (R)USAA.J. Foyt EnterprisesCrash
2506Helio CastronevesBRAMeyer Shank RacingMechanical
2615Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan RacingAccident
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Lifelong sports junkie, currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Hofstra University. Lead writer for Indycar at The Checkered Flag.
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