Detroit IndyCar: Newgarden denies Rossi in shortened race one

Josef Newgarden narrowly beat Alexander Rossi to victory during a caution-filled wet/dry first IndyCar race of the weekend in Detroit

Detroit IndyCar: Newgarden denies Rossi in shortened race one

Team Penske driver Newgarden was a low-key third through the opening stint but a fortuitously-timed sole pitstop ensured he leapt Rossi, and he held off his Andretti rival through to the chequered flag.

The start of the race was delayed by an hour after a band of thunderstorms swept through the Detroit area, with the distance reduced from 75 laps to 75 minutes.

Rossi retained his pole advantage through a single-file wet start as Scott Dixon passed Newgarden for second in the brief phase before a caution period was declared when Matheus Leist spun through Turn 2.

Rossi preserved a two-second gap to Dixon through the first stint as the circuit gradually dried, with Marco Andretti the first driver to gamble on slicks when he came in one-third of the way through proceedings.

A handful of others made the move a few laps later but it was Newgarden - having briefly dropped to fourth - who was the first frontrunner to stop, moments before a second caution period was called when wet-shod Ed Jones slid into the Turn 7 wall.

Newgarden cycled to the front of the pack as his rivals were forced to pit under caution, with Rossi emerging second and Dixon third - but the reigning champion's race came to an end soon after.

On the second post-restart lap Dixon clipped the inside wall entering Turn 6 and nosed his Ganassi-run car into the exit barriers, sustaining terminal damage in the process.

That caused the third caution period, with a fourth segment needed shortly afterwards when Leist had his second incident of the day as he repeated Jones's error of sliding into the Turn 7 barriers.

By the time the restart signal was given for a fourth and final time it left a 12-minute shootout for victory between Newgarden and Rossi, as they surged clear of the chasing pack.

Newgarden was unable to shake off Rossi but the ex-Formula 1 racer could not mount a serious challenge, clearing the 2017 champion for his first win since St Petersburg's season-opener.

Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan) prevailed in a close fight for third place as he narrowly edged Felix Rosenqvist (Ganassi) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti).

Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud recovered from a lowly grid spot of 13th to take sixth for Team Penske, ahead of Sato's RLLR team-mate Graham Rahal and Andretti's Zach Veach.

Veach caused an additional formation lap when he spun prior to the start but steadily worked his way through the pack.

James Hinchcliffe and Spencer Pigot capped the top 10.

Newgarden's Penske team-mate Will Power had starred during the early stages, rising from 12th to sixth, but his race was undone in the pitlane.

Power was erroneously given the signal to leave his pit box before his front-right wheel was securely attached, and it worked its way loose seconds later; Power recovered for repairs but classified only 18th.

Race one result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 43 1h15m30.5932s
2 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 43 0.8237s
3 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 43 11.4760s
4 Felix Rosenqvist Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 43 11.8833s
5 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 43 12.2263s
6 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 43 12.5127s
7 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 43 13.1515s
8 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 43 14.0022s
9 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 43 15.2409s
10 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 43 16.1462s
11 Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 43 16.9309s
12 Colton Herta Harding Racing Dallara/Honda 43 17.2807s
13 Marcus Ericsson Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 43 17.9085s
14 Patricio O'Ward Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 43 24.0822s
15 Tony Kanaan AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 43 25.6122s
16 Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 43 26.0652s
17 Max Chilton Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 43 26.4759s
18 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 43 33.0561s
19 Santino Ferrucci Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 43 43.1639s
20 Ed Jones Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 42 1 Lap
21 Matheus Leist AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 30 Contact
22 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 23 Contact


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IndyCar Detroit: Alexander Rossi scores pole for opening race
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