Dual at Detroit Race 1 Report

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Circuit: Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix (2.35-mile temporary street circuit) Belle Isle Park, Detroit, Mich.
2013 Winners:
Race 1 Mike Conway (Dale Coyne Racing Honda) 90.753 mph average
Race 2 Simon Pagenaud (Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda) 84.906 mph average
Weather: Sunny, warm, 81 degrees F

Top 10 Race Results:

Fn. St. Driver Team Engine - Chassis Laps Average Speed/Notes
1. 16. Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet Dallara 70 90.138 mph avg.; led 21 laps
2. 9. Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda Dallara 70 +0.3308 seconds; led 10 laps
3. 8. Tony Kanaan Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Dallara 70
4. 19. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dallara 70
5. 1. Helio Castroneves Team Penske Chevrolet Dallara 70 Led 30 laps
6. 2. James Hinchcliffe Andretti Autosport Honda Dallara 70
7. 11. Carlos Munoz-R Andretti Autosport Honda Dallara 70
8. 12. Carlos Huertas-R Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dallara 70
9. 20. Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Dallara 70
10. 18. Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Honda Dallara 70
Other Honda-powered Results:
16. 21. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Honda Dallara 69 Did not finish – crash
17. 22. Mikhail Aleshin-R Schmidt Peterson Honda Dallara 68 Did not finish – crash
18. 15. Takuma Sato A.J. Foyt Racing Honda Dallara 66 Running
19. 3. Jack Hawksworth-R Bryan Herta Autosport Honda Dallara 65 Did not finish – crash
20. 14. Josef Newgarden Sarah Fisher Hartman Honda Dallara 36 Did not finish – crash
22. 17. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Honda Dallara 4 Did not finish – crash

 

Rahal Runs Second for Honda in Saturday's Dual in Detroit

  • Battles Will Power for victory in another close IndyCar finish
  • Strong runs for Wilson, Hinchcliffe
  • Rookies Hawksworth, Munoz and Huertas impress

In his best performance of 2014, third-generation racer Graham Rahal fought eventual race winner Will Power for the final 20 laps of Saturday's opening race of the "Dual in Detroit" Verizon IndyCar Series doubleheader weekend, making a last-lap effort that came up just 33 hundredths of a second short at the checkers. 

The Rahal Letterman Lanigan team, headed by Graham's father, Bobby Rahal, made the right calls throughout the 70-lap contest, keeping its driver at or near the front of the field in a race that featured nearly a half-dozen different pit strategies among the 22 contestants. When the green flag waved for the final time on Lap 60, Rahal was in third place, behind Power and Ryan Briscoe. After dispatching Briscoe on Lap 62, Rahal closed down on Power and made several runs at the leader, but came up short in his efforts to snatch the victory.

Just behind the leaders, Justin Wilson combined excellent Honda fuel mileage with equally clever pit calls from his Dale Coyne Racing team to finish fourth, his best result of 2014. James Hinchcliffe ran in the lead group for the first half of the race, but the timing of the race's four cautions dropped him to an unrepresentative sixth. Rookie Jack Hawksworth also starred, running second to early leader Helio Castroneves until a broken brake disc dropped him off the lead lap; while fellow rookies Carlos Munoz and Carlos Huertas finished seventh and eighth, respectively – the third top-10 result for Munoz this year and a career-best for Huertas.

Video News Releases from this weekend's action in Detroit are being posted on a newly created "Honda Racing/HPD Trackside" YouTube channel produced by the Carolinas Production Group. CPG will be providing video highlights packages following Honda Racing/HPD events during 2014. The video packages can be found at: youtube.com/hondaracingtrackside.

Saturday's 70-lap contest was the first of two Verizon IndyCar Series races this weekend. The second half of the Dual in Detroit starts at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, with live television coverage again on ABC.

Verizon IndyCar Series Drivers' Championship (after 6 of 18 rounds):

1. Ryan Hunter-Reay 288 points (2 wins) 6. Carlos Munoz-R 186 points
2. Will Power 285 (2 wins) 7. Juan Pablo Montoya 170
3. Helio Castroneves 254 8. Sebastien Bourdais 160
4. Simon Pagenaud 219 (1 win) 9. Justin Wilson 155
5. Marco Andretti 213 10. Scott Dixon 152

 

Manufacturers' Championship:

1. Chevrolet 779 (3 wins)
2. Honda 677 (3 wins)

 

Graham Rahal (#15 National Guard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda) started 9th, finished 2nd, best result of 2014: "I thought I was going to finally get the monkey off my back [and win] today. I knew I had a car that was as quick as [Will Power]. I knew I had one opportunity and that was on the restart.  He blocked me, which I would have done too, so I don't blame him. I said after Indy that this team was made up of champions and that it was going to come in time. We are going to win. I can promise you that. I was focused on the task at hand and I knew I was one of the few guys who could drive by a lot of people today. So when I saw myself in 13th place after a bad run on the reds [alternate tires], I thought, 'This isn't over. I can still pass these guys.' And sure enough we went to the front. This is where our season started, right here, today."

Justin Wilson (#19 Boy Scouts of America Dale Coyne Racing Honda) started 19th, finished 4th: "To be totally honest, I had no idea what was going on [in terms of strategy] out there today! I was just driving as fast as I could and pitting when I was told, and it all worked out really well for us. All thanks to Mike [Cannon, engineer] and the team, they did a great job with both the strategy and the pit stops. The track was getting seriously fast late in the race, so I think tomorrow may be another crazy race. It's Detroit; anything can happen!"

Mark Crawford (IndyCar Project Leader, Honda Performance Development) on today's race: "It was close. We managed to move a bunch of cars to the front of the field today with some clever pit strategy and excellent Honda fuel mileage, but fell just short of victory.  It was good to see Graham Rahal turn things around today after a tough start to the season, and we saw timely, strong performances from Justin Wilson and James Hinchcliffe, and that also was encouraging. Now we get to do it all again tomorrow, we just have to finish one position higher!"

For a photo from today's race, go to:
http://broadcast.sportssystems.com/hosting/display.cfm?key=101717

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