The stars of the NTT IndyCar Series traveled to the motor city for a "lets race two" event in Detroit, for the Chevrolet Grand Prix. An unusual hot and steamy weekend for drivers and their crews around the rough and bumpy street circuit led us to close racing, fast speeds, an incredible wreck, and controversy after two grueling races.
Race 1 of the weekend took place on Saturday as Pato O'Ward with his Arrow Mclaren SP Chevrolet took the P1 award and led the field to the green flag. But he didn't keep the lead for long as O'Ward dived to the pis on lap three to get off the Firestone red compound tires. Which handed the lead to Alexander Rossi. With IndyCar rookie Romain Grosjean in P2.
After the initial stint of the race after the whole field has cycled through the pit sequence as many drivers did not want to be on the soft compound on the really rough and abrasive surface of the Streets of Belle Isle, we advance to lap 25. Scott Dixon is your race leader followed by James Hichcliffe and Santino Ferrucci. We had our first caution of the day as Felix Rosenqvist slammed hard in to the turn six wall after having a stuck throttle. He was transported to a local hospital with no severe injuries being suffered.
After an hour and a half red flag delay, the race restarted on lap 31, Will Power led the field to green. Followed in hot pursuit by Marcus Ericsson. Will Power dominated this race and it was nice to see a rebound from the almost disastrous month of May by being relegated to bump day for Indy 500 qualifying.
With seven to go, we had our second and last caution of the day as Romain Grosjean collided with the inside wall, effectively ending his day.
IndyCar officials decided to bring the field down pit road and bring the race under red flag conditions. As the field was sitting on pit road, Will Power and his team were asked and got denied fans to cool off the cockpit with other components of the car. With the high temperatures and no air flow, the ECU melted which would not allow him to restart the car. Taking Power from a possible winning day to finishing 20th. Three laps down. Power didn't hold back in his post race comments that NBC did not show as the race went long and there was no post race coverage.
The race restarted with three to go with Ericsson leading the way with Rinus Veekay and O'Ward behind him. Ericcson held steady and hit his marks and drove away with his first career win in the NTT IndyCar Series.
Joesf Newgarden led the field to green for race two of the Detroit doubleheader. If you tuned in to watch the race, you started watching on lap 40 of the 70 trips around the course.
There isn't much to write home about for the first 67 laps of the race as Newgarden led every to that point. On lap 54, Jimmie Johnson got loose and spun in turn two which brought out the second caution of the day. A few laps later on lap 59, Romain Grosjean went off track and his front brake rotors caught on fire which ended his day.
During that span the field was brought under red flag while the incident was being cleared up.
Going back under green with seven laps to go, Newgarden was your leader but was on old Firestone red compound tires while Pato O'Ward was on the black, harder compound. With three laps to go, O'Ward passed Newgarden and drove out to a five-second lead as he went on to take the victory in race two of the Doubleheader.
For O'Ward, it was his second win of the year, vaulted him atop the championship standings by one point over Alex Palou entering this weekend's race at Road America.