Hunter-Reay wins in Detroit, Power regains series lead
Ryan Hunter-Reay has broken a long winless run in Race 2 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit as runner-up Will Power reclaimed the IndyCar Series lead.
Alexander Rossi led late in the 70-lap race but ran the #27 Honda off the circuit to effectively hand the race to his Andretti Autosport team-mate and eventually came home 12th.
There was a strange incident before the race even started when General Motors executive Mark Reuss crashed the pace car at his company’s home event.
Most of the field was unaffected, but Rene Binder’s #32 Juncos Racing Chevrolet was unable to be restarted and he would be subsequently penalised after the car was worked on under the red flag.
The field took the green flag after a 40-minute delay, at which time Rossi powered away from Robert Wickens’ #6 Honda.
Indy 500 winner Power held off an eager Ed Jones to keep third on the first lap before Spencer Pigot (#21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet) spun and stalled bringing out the first full course yellow.
Meanwhile, Sebastien Bourdais limped back to the pit lane under the yellow with a damaged left rear tyre on the #18 DCR w/ Vasser-Sullivan Honda.
On the restart, Rossi again pulled a substantial gap over Wickens and Power.
Wickens and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports made the choice to switch to a three-stop strategy and put the #6 on the black Firestones, where Rossi was able to stay on the reds and keep to a two-stop in the early part of the race.
Santino Ferrucci, the young Haas F1 Team development driver, spun coming out of the pit lane on Lap 22. Gabby Chaves (#88 Harding Racing Chevrolet) and Marco Andretti (#98 Andretti-Herta w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda) narrowly avoided the stricken #19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda.
Anticipating a Caution that didn’t come, the top three of Rossi, Power and Jones all came to pit lane.
The three-stopping Wickens and Hunter-Reay (#28 Honda) led the field from Rossi from Lap 24, before Wickens took the second of his stops on Lap 31 after losing time to the two-stoppers on fresher tyres.
Hunter-Reay was released to the lead of the race and able to put together some fast laps to come out ahead of Wickens as he cycled through his second stop, leaving Rossi back in the official lead.
On Lap 38, the fifth placed Bourdais spun, and was called to the pits having complained that there was an issue with Car #18.
Rossi held an eight second lead over Power after the halfway mark but Power began cutting down the gap quickly, forcing Rossi to pit on Lap 47. Power followed Rossi into the lane.
With regular pit stops for both the strategies complete, the Hondas of Rossi and Hunter-Reay kept the lead over the best-placed Chevrolet of Power (#12 Team Penske).
Hunter-Reay set out to chase down his Andretti Autosport team-mate Rossi in the final 10 laps.
Rossi locked up with seven to go, having also down so on the previous lap, and headed into the run-off at Turn 3. Hunter-Reay took the lead with Power in second.
Oh no!😧 There goes Rossi’s front left ⚫ tire.@RyanHunterReay to 🥇 P1!
— IndyCar Series (@IndyCar) June 3, 2018
The front left for Rossi sustained damage in the lock up and the 2016 Indy 500 winner was in need on a tyre change in the final laps, taking him out of contention.
The gap was large enough between first and second that Hunter-Reay was able to ease toward the chequered flag for his 17th career win and first since Pocono in 2015, ahead of Power.
Jones (#10 Chip Ganassi Honda) took third from Scott Dixon (#9 Chip Ganassi Honda), Graham Rahal (#15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda), Wickens, Tony Kanaan (#14 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet), Charlie Kimball (#23 Carlin Chevrolet), Marco Andretti, and Simon Pagenaud (#22 Team Penske Chevrolet).
Josef Newgarden took 15th in the #1 Team Penske Chevrolet.
Dixon now sits second to Power in the Verizon IndyCar Series, which heads to Texas Motor Speedway next week for the DXC Technology 600 (June 8-9).
Race results: Detroit Dual 2
|Pos||Num||Driver||C/E/T||Race time/Split||Pit stops||Status||Grid pos|
|6||6||Robert Wickens (R)||D/H/F||+34.9398||3||Running||2|
|13||26||Zach Veach (R)||D/H/F||+1:07.6438||1||Running||7|
|14||4||Matheus Leist (R)||D/C/F||+1:11.6742||2||Running||18|
|17||30||Takuma Sato||D/H/F||+1 lap||2||Running||20|
|18||20||Jordan King (R)||D/C/F||+1 lap||1||Running||11|
|19||88||Gabby Chaves||D/C/F||+1 lap||2||Running||14|
|20||19||Santino Ferrucci (R)||D/H/F||+1 lap||3||Running||13|
|21||18||Sebastien Bourdais||D/H/F||+3 laps||4||Running||16|
|22||32||Rene Binder (R)||D/C/F||+4 laps||2||Running||23|
|23||21||Spencer Pigot||D/C/F||+49 laps||2||Mechanical||15|
(C)hassis: D=Dallara | (E)ngine: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (T)yre: F=Firestone
|22||Zachary Claman DeMelo||72|