Will Power Wins Race 2 at Detroit

The drought is over. It had been 394 days since Will Power last went to Victory Lane in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Power ended that today, as he and teammate Simon Pagenaud gave Roger Penske a 1-2 finish in the second dual race at Belle Isle. It’s the 26th career win for Power, which ties him with Rodger Ward for 14th on the All-Time Wins list. Pagenaud extended lead in the championship to 80 points over Scott Dixon. Ryan Hunter-Reay joined the Team Penske drivers on the podium on Sunday.

Josef Newgarden had a strong day, starting in 17th position and finishing 4th. That is also where he sits in the championship standings at the halfway point in the season. The Ed Carpenter Racing driver also ran the fastest lap of the race on Sunday. Dixon was getting knocked around all weekend, but managed to come up with another top five finish.

Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Race 2 Results

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Power is hopeful that today’s victory can get the ball rolling in his bid to get back into the championship hunt. He improved five spots after today’s race, now sitting in 7th place, even after missing the season opening race at St Petersburg. Tony Kanaan had a relatively quiet day, finishing in 7th. Yesterday’s winner, Sebastien Bourdais, came home in 8th after having to pit late in the race. Marco Andretti recorded his first top ten finish of the year, and did it after starting in last. Takuma Sato rounded out the top ten.

The one driver I didn’t mention in that top ten, was Dale Coyne Racing driver Conor Daly. Power and Bourdais may have won the two races, but it’s hard to argue that any driver had a better weekend than Conor. After starting 16th and finishing in 2nd yesterday, the Noblesville kid started from 21st position on Sunday, and finished in 6th place. In his last four races, he now has a pair of 6th place finishes, to go with his runner-up result yesterday. Conor scored a total of 69 points in the two races; only Bourdais (76) had more.

Graham Rahal battled brake line issues just as the race started on Sunday, then had to dive onto pit road for a splash of fuel in the closing laps. He finished 11th on Sunday, just ahead of the reining Indianapolis 500 winner, Alexander Rossi. Helio Castroneves looked good when he was leading, but a badly timed caution forced them to have to pit and lose track position. He finished in 14th, but wasn’t the lowest finishing Penske car. Juan Montoya’s car stepped out on him in Turn 10 on Lap 35, ending his day. He finished 20th in what was his second DNF in his last three races.

James Hinchcliffe’s horrible weekend continued on Sunday. After the mechanical failure sent him into the tire barrier on Saturday, it was a questionable move by Charlie Kimball at the start of Sunday’s race that forced Carlos Munoz into Hinchcliffe, which put him into the wall. The Canadian’s day was over before the first turn. He and the team are glad to put Detroit behind them, after finishing 18th and 20th in the two races. Not knowing about the move Charlie made, Hinchcliffe called out Munoz in his television interview, but quickly apologized when he saw the replay.

The season has now reached the halfway point. Eight races in the books, and eight remaining. Team Penske has won five of the eight races, with Ganassi (Dixon), Andretti (Rossi), and KVSH (Bourdais) each winning one. Pagenaud has three wins himself, and three more runner-up finishes. He has finished either 1st or 2nd in six of the eight races, earned 5 Poles, and led 292 laps. While he has six podium finishes, no other driver has more than two. To say that he’s in the zone would be a massive understatement.

As if three races in the last eight days weren’t enough, there is more IndyCar action right around the corner. Next up on the 2016 schedule is the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway under the lights on Saturday. NBC Sports Network will have coverage of the race, which begins at 8 PM ET on June 11. The NBCSN crew will cover the remaining eight events on the 2016 schedule, including the season-finale at Sonoma on September 18.

Race Photos via IndyCar

Driver Quotes

James Hinchcliffe: “A silly racing incident ruined our day. The Arrow Electronics car had a reasonable start. Charlie Kimball and Carlos Munoz were going at it and we were just victims of circumstance there. So, there’s not a whole lot to say. When you start back there, you open yourself up to stuff like that. In the future, we will focus on making sure we don’t start back there: start up front, finish up front like we should and that way we’re not back in the mess. It’s just an unfortunate missed opportunity because the car was quick all weekend and we’ve got two races with very little to show for it. I’m gutted for the guys and everyone at Arrow but if we know how to do one thing, it’s come back, so we will be back at Texas next week stronger than ever.”

Mikhail Aleshin: “Another disappointing day for us here in Detroit. I think the SMP Racing and DOOM car was good, good enough to fight for the top 10, but we just had some bad luck with my seat belts at the end. We’re just going to put this weekend behind us and get ready for Texas.”

Max Chilton: “I’m not sure what happened out there at the start but it’s a shame our day ended so quickly. We were planning on taking our time at the start and just getting the Gallagher car through cleanly, but that didn’t happen. The car remained on the course for the race so we’ll have to wait until it gets back to look over the data and see exactly what went wrong.”

Scott Dixon: “We just didn’t have a good day today finishing fifth with Team Target. Helio (Castroneves) just smashed into us on the start and put us into the wall. We lost a ton of track position after that. I didn’t see the replay with the contact with Juan (Pablo Montoya) but I tried to give him room while getting to the corner. That obviously gave us a puncture and dropped us a ways back. But after the hit I took from Helio at the start I could turn right pretty well, but I just couldn’t turn left and it’s hard to move up in the race obviously like that.”

Tony Kanaan: “Today was just another race where a yellow really screwed up our strategy. Right when we were planning on coming in for our second stop of the race, the yellow came out and we weren’t able to make it in. We ended up having to come in under yellow which put us toward the back of the field and we had to take the restart in 17th. We did catch a break on the last yellow when we were already in the pits when the yellow came out, but it wasn’t enough to cycle us back through to the top. I thought the No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet definitely had a chance at a podium and would’ve been up there if our strategy would’ve played out the way we wanted it, but you never know here in Detroit.”

Sebastien Bourdais: “I have mixed feelings. We put on quite a show. The Hydroxycut machine was on it. It was a little bit like yesterday when we had to turn it up and in clear air it was about as fantastic as it gets. Unfortunately, what gave us the win yesterday, took it away today. When that yellow came out it was game over. We knew it, but we still soldiered on and put on the best drive that I have had in quite a while. It felt like back in the Champ Car days, to be honest, where the car was so hooked up it was just about my own limit and that is a very cool feeling. But, we only had six gallons left in the car after the restart and that was not enough even though we had the pace and were pulling away, it wasn’t enough to recover from the late caution so we cycled back to eighth. From 12th to eighth, we’ll take it.”

Will Power: “The guys did a great job in the pits, got me out in front of the 28 (Ryan Hunter-Reay), then obviously on the restart, I thought, ‘I’ve really got to capitalize here, otherwise, we’re not going to win.’ I went down outside. But I’ve got to thank Verizon, thank the fans. It’s been a long time since the No. 12 has been in victory lane so I’m very happy for the whole Verizon crew.” (On it being a year since going to victory lane); “It just gives the whole crew some confidence. I think we’ve all kind of been stumbling a little bit, the whole group of us. It’s been a tough start to the year. I missed the first race and just had a few mishaps, you know, and now we’re there.” (On the risk of pushing on the restart); “It wasn’t a big risk because it was on the outside. Had I tried to go on the inside, it would have been a much bigger risk. I wasn’t willing to take that with Simon (Pagenaud) because he’s the championship leader. So, if I was going to do it, I had to do it on the outside and cleanly. There was a space and I went for it.”

Takuma Sato: “Qualifying didn’t work out for us this morning. I enjoy the rain but not in qualifying and our group was a tough one. Started mid-pack and at start I got hit from behind. I stalled the engine and lost a wing and a rear tire. Fortunately, we didn’t lose a lap and the guys did a good job to replace both on two consecutive stops. We worked our way through the field. The car was competitive but we’re missing something because it was inconsistent which was difficult. Glad to get a top 10 after the start but it’s frustrating because at one stage we were looking good and the strategy was good but it was a difficult race.”

Graham Rahal: “Right away on the first lap off the grid the brake line came loose, so we came in to fix that and I didn’t get to take the start, which is frustrating. That was pretty much the tone of our day, a whole bunch of bad luck. Right when we were looking like we were back in contention, it went yellow for (Jack) Hawksworth, which killed us because we were on our in-lap for the pits. It is what it is. That pretty much takes us out of contention for the championship for this year so we might as well go have some fun now.”

Conor Daly: “Again, we charged from the back, it goes to show that we’ve got a great car and this Honda Joanthan Byrd’s/ Cancer Treatment Center of America machine is good for racing, it’s just that I hate to be made to start so far back. Makes you think what could’ve been. All in all, a great weekend just for points, just to get back on the board after the disaster at Indy so a nice bit of momentum going to Texas.”

Gabby Chaves: “We got a good start but then someone hit us in the rear of the car so we lost a lot of positions on track, fixing our rear wing. After that I don’t know if maybe we had some mechanical damage or what went wrong but I didn’t feel comfortable in the car all race and I was really struggling for pace. It was a hard race but we’ll see what we can learn and go forward.”

Spencer Pigot: “It was another tough race. The guys made some good calls to gain me positions through a good strategy. I made a mistake battling for position and brushed the wall. Some things got bent in the left rear and I had to come in to get that fixed. By the time we did that, we were a few laps down. I made a mistake that cost us a pretty good result, but I think overall we made a lot of improvements throughout the weekend. I’m just really happy to be part of ECR and I’m looking forward to the next one.”

Josef Newgarden: “It was a good day. I love being here in Detroit and racing at this track, it’s a challenging place with all the bumps. It’s a lot of fun to wrestle Indy cars here, they’re hard to keep off the walls! We had a great car with Preferred Freezer and Fuzzy’s Vodka, ECR worked really hard this weekend. I’m happy with what we did, I would have liked to have had a win but you can’t get them all.”

Simon Pagenaud: “I tell you (Will Power) made a great pass and he was very aggressive on the restart. I didn’t feel comfortable on cold tires – a really good car on long runs but I struggled on cold tires. He saw it and took his chance and that’s how you win races. At that point you’ve got to be smart and think about the big picture. Congratulations to him. There was no point in colliding and trying too hard. I tried at the end – we had some push-to-pass left. The HP car was really competitive all day but I’ll take second. I think it’s a really good points day for us. Very happy for Roger (Penske) with a 1-2 finish – they put so much effort into making this event possible, so thanks to the Penske organization and I’m really happy for the whole team.”

Carlos Munoz: “This was another race where the yellows didn’t help us at all with our strategy, and we lost a little bit of pace compared to yesterday so we will have to see what happened. This kind of race was all about strategy. We will move to the next (race) with Texas and hope for a good weekend.”

Marco Andretti: “It was a brutal weekend for us in Detroit. That last yellow today helped, but we need to improve our pace. We have to settle for a top 10 and turn that into a Texas win next week.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay: “You just have to (maintain focus with so many strategies) and over the years you learn to just keep your head down and keep fighting no matter what. It doesn’t matter where you are because your strategy may be the one that pays off in the end so it’s a bit of a bummer to come out with a third. But it was nice to have a day where nothing really wrong happens. That’s all I’ve been looking for lately – just let’s just have a day where I don’t need luck. Just no bad luck. It’s nice to be top Honda today but we’re here to win. There at the end, had we had a track position, we might have been able to do it. It’s a solid finish for sure, we had a pretty decent car today. I was pushing as hard as I could. Congratulations to Team Penske this weekend, they’ve just been pretty much untouchable. They just had the pace and there’s only so much I could do about it. I was getting every last bit out of (the car). It’s great to get that No. 28 DHL Honda up to the podium after such a heartbreaking end to the Indy 500 for us.”

Jack Hawksworth: “I was having a lot of fun out there. The pace of the car was really good, I could close in on guys and run decent. I felt I had one of my best races going even though I didn’t have the fastest car, but we had good in and out laps, good passes and it was fun. In the end the driveshaft broke but I was having a lot of fun.”

Charlie Kimball: “It was a disappointing day for Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Team. The No. 83 Tresiba Chevrolet was definitely better than a 16th-place finish. We got caught out by a yellow on that last stop. It’s really unfortunate with the pits closed – you’re just kind of racing to the luck of a yellow flag. We just missed it a little bit today. It’s disappointing, but we’ll come back stronger in Texas. I’m excited about getting back to Texas where we finished seventh last year and had a really good test earlier in the year.”

Alexander Rossi: “We had a broken front wing at the start – that didn’t help us at all. I think generally the pace was good, we had to make up a lot of time with having to change the front wing. The biggest thing we need to understand is why it takes us so long to come up to speed on cold tires. That’s something we need to address. Otherwise, I’m looking forward to racing in Texas next week.”

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