After round 1 of the IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix was marred by rain, bad telecasting and creative pit strategies, round 2 was supposed to be a lot cleaner with the beautiful weather that Sunday afternoon brought, and it was for some drivers and for others it was peril.
Right from the jump on the start there was an incident in turn 3 involving Tony Kanaan, Patricio O’Ward and Indianapolis 500 Winner Simon Pagenaud which took TK out of the race, Pagenaud down 12 laps immediately and lucky for Pat-O he was able to recover nicely later in the race. From that moment, you knew that this race was going to be a shaky one. Fast forward 15 laps, and possibly the biggest incident of the day occurred between Spencer Pigot and Sebastien Bourdais.
Running in 2nd for most of the stint, Pigot’s softer red tires were falling off a cliff as he and Dixon were the only two who decided to stay out on reds when the rest of the field pitted during the yellow to get blacks on. This would’ve proved to be a great strategy for the ECR 21 team because Dixon ended up winning the race, however, when Pigot went to make his pit stop to put on his sticker blacks, Sebastien Bourdais was right behind him and annihilated the back of his car as he went for pit lane. As Paul Tracy and Townsend Bell make clear during the broadcast, this incident was on Bourdais, though race control took no action against him and ended Pigot’s day. Whether it was the spotters who missed the call for Bourdais or Bourdais was just being careless, this is 2 weeks in a row now that he’s made questionable decisions on track putting himself and other drivers in danger after causing the massive five car pileup at the Indy 500 involving Graham Rahal.
We would get some clean racing for a bit and some hard racing between 3 stars and two guys fighting for the championship battling for position, but when James Hinchcliffe took off from his pit stop and reentered the race, he came out right in front of Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi fighting on track. The slower Hinchcliffe car was fair to be where he was on track, Rossi recognized this and backed off, however, Newgarden got a bit aggressive and up into the marbles causing he and Hinch to make contact with Rossi sliding in behind them. Rossi was able to get away unscathed but this proved to be the effective end of Newgardens race and while Hinch’s car got off from the incident damaged but running, his car would eventually die on track ending his day as well.
The restart from the yellow incident was a clean one for the most part as Scott Dixon, the leader at that point, was able to build a considerable gap on Marcus Ericsson, but Felix Rosenqvist would be the next victim of Belle Isle as brushing up against the wall did enough damage to his machine where he could no longer control it and a few corners later he put it in the wall causing a red flag.
The cars lined back up getting ready to end the race with a few laps to go and when they went green, Dixon built up another gap to coast to the victory parade and into the fountain.
Josef Newgarden was able to keep his championship lead after winning yesterday, however since his finish was subpar, Alexander Rossi was able to slip into 2nd and is just 15 points behind him.
Up next is the bullhorn in Texas next Saturday night.