IndyCar Dual in Detroit Report: Newgarden and Dixon take turns to win it and bin it

The Detroit doubleheader saw two action-packed races with very different outcomes for the main title protagonists in each. Championship leader Josef Newgarden took the win in Race 1 before crashing out of Race 2 while reigning champion did the same thing, just the other way around – taking his first win of the season in Race 2.

Race 1 turned out to only be 43 laps long after it was cut to a 75-minute timed race following weather-induced delays. Race 2 ran to the scheduled 70 laps, but both were equally as dramatic.

Newgarden’s win in Race 1 was never a certainty but the decisive moment for him came under the second caution, caused by Ed Jones sliding out of the race. The #2 was in the pits as the caution came out, perfectly placing him in the lead of the race when it resumed. From there, all he had to do was fend off a sustained attack from Indy 500 runner-up Alexander Rossi… something that’s easier said than done! Even so, Newgarden held firm to take his second win of the season and his first on the streets of Detroit.

Credit: Chris Owens/IndyCar

If everything went Newgarden’s way in Race 1, the second race was to be a different story entirely. This time he qualified on pole but only led for one lap as the early caution that came out for the Turn 3 wreck meant all but six drivers pitted. After that, Newgarden was fighting with Rossi again, with the #27 playing a part in the end of the Penske driver’s race.

James Hinchcliffe exited the pits just ahead of Newgarden and Rossi with the trio fighting for what was effectively the net lead of the race. Three into one at Turn 3 was always going to end in tears, and indeed it did with Newgarden and Hinchcliffe ending in the wall while Rossi managed to continue relatively unscathed. Newgarden was frustrated but accepted his part in the accident, and his championship lead remains intact at 15 points over Rossi.

Dixon’s weekend was the reverse of Newgarden’s with an uncharacteristic mistake ending his first race. The #9 clipped the barriers and was sent into the wall midway through the first race, marking his first DNF since his Texas 2017 crash with Takuma Sato and shocking the paddock.

He recovered in Race 2 in the only way Dixon knows how… winning, in rather dominant fashion. Like Newgarden, the timing of the second caution, this time caused by Spencer Pigot, significantly helped his cause, with Dixon eventually cycling up to a lead he would not relinquish from there on.

Credit: James Black/IndyCar

Rossi’s weekend was more consistent than that of Newgarden or Dixon’s however, he missed out on the one thing he came to Detroit for: a win to make up for his Indy 500 disappointment. The Andretti driver came agonisingly close to the victory in Race 1 before again missing out in Race 2, finishing fifth, though he was lucky to finish at all after the Newgarden/Hinchcliffe incident.

Another lucky driver turned out to be Will Power, which is surprising after the season he’s had! Race 1 was the same old same old with Power’s race ruined by a pit stop error that saw him released with only three wheels on his wagon. Race 2 started in much the same vein with Power stopping on track during the first caution however, this time it was not a disaster and the #12 fought back to a rather miraculous third-place finish.

Holding off Power at the end of Race 2 was rookie Marcus Ericsson who, after an average Race 1, took his first IndyCar podium in the second race. He recovered what would’ve been a dreadful race for the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team after Hinchcliffe’s elimination to take his first podium in over five and a half years!

Credit: Joe Skibinski/IndyCar

Indy 500 champion Simon Pagenaud was significantly less fortunate at Detroit with the Penske driver doing well in Race 1 but then having a pretty disastrous Race 2. He, along with six other drivers, was caught up in the Turn 3 wreck, initiated by contact between Patricio O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, which all but ended the Frenchman’s race.

Next up on the IndyCar calendar is Texas Motor Speedway in just a few days time to cap off the most intense section of the season.

Race 1 Results:

  1. Josef Newgarden
  2. Alexander Rossi
  3. Takuma Sato
  4. Felix Rosenqvist (R)
  5. Ryan Hunter-Reay
  6. Simon Pagenaud
  7. Graham Rahal
  8. Zach Veach
  9. James Hinchcliffe
  10. Spencer Pigot
  11. Sebastien Bourdais
  12. Colton Herta (R)
  13. Marcus Ericsson (R)
  14. Patricio O’Ward (R)
  15. Tony Kanaan
  16. Marco Andretti
  17. Max Chilton
  18. Will Power
  19. Santino Ferrucci (R)
  20. Ed Jones
  21. Matheus Leist
  22. Scott Dixon

Race 2 Results:

  1. Scott Dixon
  2. Marcus Ericsson (R)
  3. Will Power
  4. Ryan Hunter-Reay
  5. Alexander Rossi
  6. Marco Andretti
  7. Graham Rahal
  8. Zach Veach
  9. Sebastien Bourdais
  10. Santino Ferrucci (R)
  11. Patricio O’Ward (R)
  12. Colton Herta (R)
  13. Takuma Sato
  14. Ed Jones
  15. Max Chilton
  16. Felix Rosenqvist (R)
  17. Simon Pagenaud
  18. James Hinchcliffe
  19. Josef Newgarden
  20. Matheus Leist
  21. Spencer Pigot
  22. Tony Kanaan

Championship Top 5:

  1. Josef Newgarden
  2. Alexander Rossi
  3. Simon Pagenaud
  4. Scott Dixon
  5. Takuma Sato

Featured Image Credit: Chris Owens/IndyCar

IndyCar Dual in Detroit Preview

Fresh from the Indy 500, the IndyCar paddock heads to Detroit for the only doubleheader of the season, known as the ‘Dual in Detroit’. Some drivers are coming off the high of the 500 while others are looking to make amends after a poor performance at the Brickyard. Detroit always promises action with its tight, bumpy nature punishing mistakes very heavily.

Simon Pagenaud will be coming into Detroit on the highest of highs after winning his first Indy 500 from pole to top off an amazing Month of May. The Frenchman has won both of the last two races, however, since the Detroit doubleheader came into the series in 2012, Indy 500 champion has never won either of the races. Pagenaud will be looking to break that curse, though it’s not really something you’d put money on given the amount of media work he’s had to do in the last week and the fact that he hasn’t won around Detroit since 2013, but you never know…

Simon Pagenaud with his dog Norman in New York City during his victory tour after winning the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. Credit: Chris Owens/IndyCar

One driver very much looking to make amends for the 500 is Alexander Rossi. He may have finished second last race but, as he said in his interview after, that’s probably one of the worst places to finish at the Brickyard because of how close you are to victory. At the Indy 500, second really is the first of the losers! Despite never winning at Detroit, his best finish came last year with a third place in Race 1, Rossi always manages to be a factor in the races here, whether that be in a good way or a bad!

Last year, Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay shared the honours, after Graham Rahal dominated both races the year before. For Hunter-Reay, his win here last year ended a drought that stretched back to Pocono 2015; this year, he comes into the weekend with a winless streak of only six races, having won the last race of 2018. Dixon has actually got a longer winless streak at eleven, meaning he sits in fifth in the championship, 47 points off leader Pagenaud.

Ryan Hunter-Reay takes a cool dip in the James Scott Memorial Fountain at Belle Isle Park as the winner of Race 2 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix. Credit: Joe Skibinski/IndyCar

The championship is still young with the two races at Detroit marking races seven and eight. Currently, Indy 500 winner Pagenaud leads the championship, one point ahead of teammate Josef Newgarden with Rossi 22 points off the lead in third. Takuma Sato has rather snuck into the top five, equal with Dixon, 47 points adrift. The standings become slightly more spread out after that with Santino Ferrucci as top rookie in tenth, following his stellar performance at the 500.

Detroit is a return to the street courses after the first oval of the season, but, being a doubleheader, the format is slightly different to normal. The two races are run independently of one another with each having its own two-group qualifying to decide the order. There’s no top twelve group or Fast Six, just the two groups based on practice times. All this means a driver can fail to finish Race 1 but then go onto start well in Race 2, as they don’t decide each other’s grids.

This time it’s a mere 22-car affair, after the 36 strong entry list for the 500. Max Chilton and Patricio O’Ward are back in the field after failing to qualify last time out while Ed Jones switches back to the #20 Ed Carpenter Racing entry after the boss himself ran it at the 500. Other than that, it’s all the regulars in the pack, with Jack Harvey and Ben Hanley not around again until Road America.

Practice gets underway today with the first of the qualifying sessions and Race 1 taking place on Saturday, followed by a very similar schedule on Sunday. The timings for the weekend are as follows:

May 31

Practice 1 – 10:55am (ET) / 3:55pm (BST)
Practice 2 – 2:50pm / 7:50pm

June 1

Qualifying (R1) – 10:45am / 3:45pm
Race 1 – 3:30pm / 8:30pm

June 2

Qualifying (R2) – 10:45am / 3:45pm
Race 2 – 3:30pm / 8:30pm

Entry List:

# Driver Team
2 Josef Newgarden Team Penske
4 Matheus Leist AJ Foyt Racing
5 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
7 Marcus Ericsson (R) Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
9 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing
10 Felix Rosenqvist (R) Chip Ganassi Racing
12 Will Power Team Penske
14 Tony Kanaan AJ Foyt Racing
15 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan
18 Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing
19 Santino Ferrucci (R) Dale Coyne Racing
20 Ed Jones Ed Carpenter Racing
21 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing
22 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske
26 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport
27 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport
28 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport
30 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan
31 Patricio O’Ward (R) Carlin
59 Max Chilton Carlin
88 Colton Herta (R) Harding Steinbrenner
98 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport

Featured Image Credit: Joe Skibinski/IndyCar