Rahal doubles up in IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix

Dan Herrero

Monday 5th June, 2017 - 8:20am

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Graham Rahal celebrates again in Detroit

Graham Rahal has become the first repeat IndyCar race winner of 2017 and the first to sweep the Detroit Grand Prix double-header.

Rahal faced a sterner challenge in Race 2, but survived a late-race restart to beat Josef Newgarden and Will Power to the chequered flag.

Takuma Sato qualified on pole, breaking the track record which Rahal set just a day earlier, and got a good start to lead the field through a clean opening lap.

The #26 Andretti Autosport Honda driver was out to a 1.8s lead when Rahal (#15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda) rounded up Ryan Hunter-Reay for third position on Lap 9, making contact in the process.

While Rahal was unperturbed, Hunter-Reay seemed to be suffering and Helio Castroneves made a move on the #28 Andretti Autosport Honda a lap later.

Ironically, contact between those two not only damaged Hunter-Reay’s front wing but also cut Castroneves’ left-rear tyre, and the #3 Team Penske Chevrolet had to be brought into the pits.

Penske drivers Will Power and Simon Pagenaud, and Andretti team-mate Alexander Rossi, relegated Hunter-Reay to sixth over the next handful of laps before the 2012 champion finally pitted and assumed a three-stop strategy.

Rahal and Power caught Sato towards the end of their first stints as most of the front-runners looked to set up for a two-stop strategy.

Sato and Power pitted on Lap 23 of 70, while Rahal waited another lap and re-joined in the effective race lead.

Meanwhile, Newgarden had risen to first position as he locked himself into a three-stop strategy.

The #2 Team Penske Chevrolet driver used his clear air to lap up to two seconds per lap quicker than the chasing pack before taking his second pit stop on Lap 29, leaving Rahal the new leader by 14s over Sato.

Those two and third-placed Power completed their final pit stops on Lap 47, the Australian passing the Japanese in pit lane, leaving Newgarden out front again.

Newgarden pitted for a third time on Lap 49 and resumed in second position, but faced a 16s deficit to Rahal.

However, with Rahal catching traffic in the form of Hunter-Reay, who had not been a factor since his early incidents, Newgarden was gaining around a second per lap on car #15.

Rahal looked to have just enough in reserve to get home, particularly when Hunter-Reay finally let him go on Lap 66, but then the first and only Caution came when Ryan Hinchcliffe’s Schmidt Peterson Honda failed to proceed.

That became a red flag when Spencer Pigot’s Ed Carpenter Chevrolet blew a turbo, but the effect was the same – Rahal would face a late restart with the lapped cars moved to the back of the field.

However, Newgarden struggled on cold tyres when the green flag did wave again with two laps remaining, and the front-runners ran unchanged to the finish.

The top 10 was Rahal, Newgarden, Power, Sato, Pagenaud, Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Honda), Rossi, Charlie Kimball (Chip Ganassi Honda), Castroneves, and Tony Kanaan (Chip Ganassi Honda).

Dixon, who took over the championship lead in Race 1, extends his advantage ahead of the next race at Texas Motor Speedway from June 9-10.

Results: Detroit Grand Prix Race 2

Pos Driver Grid C/A/E/T Laps Race time, gap Laps led Status Pit stops
1 Graham Rahal 3 D/H/H/F 70 01:33:36.3769 41 Running 3
2 Josef Newgarden 13 D/C/C/F 70 +1.1772 7 Running 4
3 Will Power 7 D/C/C/F 70 +2.6228 Running 3
4 Takuma Sato 1 D/H/H/F 70 +3.8535 22 Running 3
5 Simon Pagenaud 11 D/C/C/F 70 +4.0810 Running 3
6 Scott Dixon 8 D/H/H/F 70 +4.6005 Running 4
7 Alexander Rossi 14 D/H/H/F 70 +6.1978 Running 3
8 Charlie Kimball 12 D/H/H/F 70 +6.6823 Running 3
9 Helio Castroneves 4 D/C/C/F 70 +6.8439 Running 4
10 Tony Kanaan 15 D/H/H/F 70 +7.7201 Running 5
11 Carlos Munoz 22 D/C/C/F 70 +8.1160 Running 4
12 Conor Daly 10 D/C/C/F 70 +8.7847 Running 4
13 Marco Andretti 9 D/H/H/F 70 +9.6103 Running 4
14 Esteban Gutierrez (R) 19 D/H/H/F 70 +13.1325 Running 3
15 Max Chilton 16 D/H/H/F 69 +1 lap Running 4
16 Mikhail Aleshin 6 D/H/H/F 69 +1 lap Running 5
17 Ryan Hunter-Reay 2 D/H/H/F 69 +1 lap Running 4
18 JR Hildebrand 18 D/C/C/F 69 +1 lap Running 5
19 Oriol Servia 20 D/H/H/F 69 +1 lap Running 5
20 James Hinchcliffe 5 D/H/H/F 65 +5 laps Mechanical 4
21 Spencer Pigot 21 D/C/C/F 65 +5 laps Mechanical 3
22 Ed Jones (R) 17 D/H/H/F 60 +10 laps Mechanical 4

(C)hassis: D=Dallara | (A)erokit: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (E)ngine: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (T)yre: F=Firestone

Note: Additional pit stop counted for most drivers due to red flag

Championship points

Pos Driver Pts
1 Scott Dixon 303
2 Helio Castroneves 295
3 Takuma Sato 292
4 Simon Pagenaud 278
5 Josef Newgarden 259
6 Graham Rahal 251
7 Alexander Rossi 246
8 Will Power 233
9 Tony Kanaan 223
10 James Hinchcliffe 216
11 Ed Jones 215
12 Max Chilton 204
13 Ryan Hunter-Reay 183
14 Marco Andretti 182
15 Mikhail Aleshin 177
16 JR Hildebrand 173
17 Carlos Munoz 168
18 Sebastien Bourdais 136
19 Charlie Kimball 132
20 Spencer Pigot 124
21 Conor Daly 114
22 Ed Carpenter 105
23 Juan Pablo Montoya 93
24 Oriol Servia 61
25 Gabby Chaves 53
26 Fernando Alonso 47
27 Sebastian Saavedra 33
28 Pippa Mann 32
29 Esteban Gutierrez 27
30 Jay Howard 24
31 Zach Veach 23
32 Sage Karam 23
33 James Davison 21
34 Jack Harvey 17
35 Buddy Lazier 14