IndyCar Series - Detroit Grand Prix: Victories for Newgarden and Dixon
Josef Newgarden (Team Penske) and Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) are the winners of two IndyCar Series races at the Detroit Belle Isle Circuit in the only double-header event of the season. Newgarden celebrated his twelfth IndyCar victory in a career on Saturday while Dixon has won the second part of the Detroit Grand Prix on Sunday, what was his 45th victory in a career and the first this year.
On Saturday, Josef Newgarden took the victory in the rain-shortened race and reclaimed the IndyCar Series championship lead. The driver of the #2 Hitachi Penske Chevrolet defeated pole-sitter Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport) by 0.8237 seconds at the finish line. Takuma Sato (RLL Racing) completed the podium.
The start of the race was delayed more than an hour after a thunderstorm moved through the area. The race was shortened from its scheduled 70 laps to a 75-minute timed race. In that period, 43 laps were completed. All cars were mandated to start on Firestone rain tires.
Rossi led the first eighteen laps. When the track began to dry, Josef Newgarden was among the first drivers to pit for slick tires on Lap 17. He was fourth and then he benefited by a full-course caution after Ed Jones slid into a tire barrier in Turn 7. Newgarden inherited the lead when Rossi and the other frontrunners had to pit for slicks on Lap 19 during the caution period.
He stayed in front until the end of the race, taking his second win of the season after the season-opening triumph at St. Petersburg. His win was also the 267th IndyCar victory for Team Penske, more than any other team. The victory helped Newgarden to take the championship lead, 25 points ahead of teammate Simon Pagenaud, who finished sixth.
Newgarden converted his good performance into the pole position for Sunday’s race, which was interrupted by early caution period after a multi-car crash in the opening lap. One of the victims was Simon Pagenaud but he later continued the race.
The race was interrupted second time on lap 14 when Sebastien Bourdais and Spencer Pigor crashed. The third caution period followed when championship leader Newgarden crashed together with James Hinchcliffe on lap 33. Both rejoined the race.
The race was red-flagged with five more laps to go when Felix Rosenqvist crashed out at Turn 1. At the restart, Scott Dixon defended the lead which he took on lap 2 and crossed the finish line as the winner for the first time this year. He was followed by the Swedish rookie Marcus Ericsson (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports), for whom this is the maiden IndyCar podium. Will Power (Team Penske) finished in third place, recovering from early gearshift problems.
Josef Newgarden finished just 19th in Sunday’s race but retained the lead in the championship with just 15-point gap ahead of Alexander Rossi.
The next IndyCar race is scheduled for thenext weekend. It would be the DXC Technology 600 at the Texas Motor Speedway.