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IndyCar Detroit: Power holds off Rossi to win last Belle Isle race

Will Power climbed from 16th on the grid to score Chevrolet’s 100th IndyCar win in the marque’s backyard at Belle Isle, as he held off Alex Rossi in a tense duel to the chequered flag.

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

The Team Penske driver used a two-stop strategy to hold off a charging Rossi (Andretti Autosport), who was on a three-stop strategy, and take the chequered flag by just over a second.

Having moved into the Top 10 by Lap 5, ahead of fellow primary-tyre runner Scott Dixon, Power continued his charge, passing Arrow McLaren SP's Pato O’Ward for fourth on Lap 10 before getting past Meyer Shank Racing team-mates Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud for second on successive laps. 

Power took the lead on Lap 14, with Dixon in second, before Rossi, thanks to his early first stop had charged through to sixth and went past Josef Newgarden to claim fifth on Lap 16.

Power had pulled a five second lead on Dixon before pitting on Lap 25, and he emerged with another set of primaries, whereas Dixon and Alex Palou, running in fourth, went one more lap and both grabbed a set of the fragile alternates.

Power’s lead over Dixon was out to 8.5 seconds on Lap 35, as he was continually able to turn in 1min16.9sec laps.

Rossi hadn’t closed the gap on Power once past Dixon and so once he got embroiled in traffic, he pitted for the third and final time, and his pitcrew out comfortably ahead of Dixon.

Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport Honda

Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport Honda

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Power’s lead over Rossi on Lap 50 was 44s when he stopped for his reds, closing to 16s after his outlap. By Lap 58, he was still 11.7s to the good, and managed to squeeze 12 more laps out of his reds to win by 1.0027sec.

Dixon was six seconds further behind Rossi, ahead of Newgarden, O’Ward and Palou.

A very strange start where only the top eight or nine cars were in formation saw Team Penske-Chevrolet’s Newgarden easily convert his pole into the lead, while Pagenaud and Castroneves passed Sato to claim second and third.

Behind ran O’Ward and Colton Herta, while Rossi immediately started slicing through the field, and by Lap 3 he was into sixth.

He then pitted the following lap to get off the alternate tyres and tackle the race on a three-stop strategy.

Power and Dixon outbraked Marcus Ericsson on Lap 7 to claim seventh and eighth respectively. The alternate-tyred cars were now struggling, and the pair passed Herta to claim sixth and seventh which became fourth and fifth and sixth when Sato pitted.

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Power, Dixon and Palou passed Newgarden to assume the top three spots on Lap 14, and on Lap 16 Kirkwood passed Newgarden, too. Rossi, thanks to his early first stop had charged through to sixth and he went past Newgarden to claim fifth on Lap 16.

Pagenaud managed to make it to Lap 17 on his reds, pulling out of seventh place to grab a set of blacks, and Newgarden and O’Ward stopped a lap later.

On Lap 37, Rossi was within striking distance of Palou and dived down the inside of him at Turn 3 on Lap 39. Dixon proved a tougher nut to crack, finally getting it done on Lap 43, again at Turn 3. 

Palou pitted on Lap 43, which allowed Kirkwood, Newgarden, O’Ward and Ericsson ahead. But the following lap, Dixon, Newgarden and O’Ward were in and they emerged still ahead of Palou.

Kirkwood pitted on Lap 48 and emerged in ninth, but he tagged the wall on his out lap and bent his suspension.

Rinus VeeKay crashed out of seventh place on the last lap, promoting Ericsson and Herta into seventh and eighth.

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Mph Pits
1 Australia Will Power United States Team Penske 70 1:32'08.818   107.209 2
2 United States Alexander Rossi United States Andretti Autosport 70 1:32'09.821 1.002 109.233 3
3 New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing 70 1:32'15.942 7.123 107.114 2
4 United States Josef Newgarden United States Team Penske 70 1:32'19.489 10.671 105.999 2
5 Mexico Patricio O'Ward United States Arrow McLaren SP 70 1:32'20.053 11.234 106.632 2
6 Spain Alex Palou United States Chip Ganassi Racing 70 1:32'23.723 14.905 105.398 2
7 Sweden Marcus Ericsson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 70 1:32'49.717 40.899 91.087 2
8 United States Colton Herta United States Andretti Autosport 70 1:32'49.946 41.128 91.030 2
9 France Simon Pagenaud United States Meyer Shank Racing 70 1:32'50.112 41.294 88.864 2
10 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist United States Arrow McLaren SP 70 1:32'51.695 42.877 92.684 3
11 United States David Malukas Dale Coyne Racing with HMD 70 1:32'54.709 45.891 95.105 3
12 United States Conor Daly United States Ed Carpenter Racing 70 1:32'59.995 51.176 93.437 3
13 Japan Takuma Sato United States Dale Coyne Racing 70 1:33'01.034 52.216 97.467 3
14 Denmark Christian Lundgaard United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 70 1:33'21.594 1'12.776 95.114 3
15 United Kingdom Jack Harvey United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 70 1:33'37.059 1'28.241 94.046 3
16 Netherlands Rinus van Kalmthout United States Ed Carpenter Racing 69 1:31'19.475 1 Lap 107.862 3
17 France Romain Grosjean United States Andretti Autosport 69 1:32'18.328 1 Lap 105.426 3
18 Canada Devlin DeFrancesco United States Andretti Autosport 69 1:32'50.587 1 Lap 89.686 2
19 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin United States Team Penske 69 1:32'58.872 1 Lap 93.718 2
20 Canada Dalton Kellett United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 69 1:33'28.402 1 Lap 89.791 2
21 United States Santino Ferrucci Juncos Hollinger Racing 68 1:32'14.190 2 Laps 101.948 3
22 United States Jimmie Johnson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 68 1:32'53.894 2 Laps 89.652 3
23 Colombia Tatiana Calderon United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 68 1:32'56.390 2 Laps 95.516 2
24 United States Kyle Kirkwood United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 49 1:08'07.132 21 Laps 32.204 3
25 Brazil Helio Castroneves United States Meyer Shank Racing 21 1:09'53.061 49 Laps 3.311 2
26 United States Graham Rahal United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 2 10'59.767 68 Laps 14.894 1

 

 

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