(Image: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
With a near slip-n-slide for a track, Josef Newgarden makes it another win in quick succession for Team Penske with a win for the title sponsor, Chevrolet in the first of the two races here in Detroit.
The Penske driver, lead 25 of the 43 laps today in contention with Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi, resulting in the two Americans pushing one-another to break and gain the lead, or continue with the lead. Newgarden would in the final few laps continue to hold a 2.5 car length lead over Rossi, who had lead the first 18 laps, for the win.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix without a storm or rain to wreak havoc on the day’s scheduled festivities. A storm squall rolled over the isle making way following the IMSA podium ceremonies and delaying the start of the first NTT Indycar Series race from the scheduled 3:50 p.m. start to a 5:05 p.m. start. Torrential downpours, high winds and thunderstorms passed, leaving the track and surrounding isle soaked through, with a weather advisory asking attendants to seek shelter until the storm had passed.
The race started with several pace laps, an additional couple were tacked on due to Andretti Autosport’s Zach Veach spinning out in turn 8, earning Veach a starting position of P22 from his original P8 spot.
A series of calamities continued with A.J. Foyt’s Matheus Leist making destructive contact in turn 2 of the first couple laps, causing a full-course yellow. Several drivers would lose the car on the braking off the back straight into turn 7 and go through the run-off area. Or they would go into the tires much like that of ECR’s Ed Jones for the next caution.
Chip Ganassi’s Scott Dixon in the #9 PNC Bank car would retire on lap 23 after contact in turn 6 initiating a third caution. The fourth and final caution would be due to Leist, yet again, this time making acquaintance with the tire wall Jones had run into earlier in the race.
Penske’s Will Power would lose a tire during a pit stop, the front tire not having been affixed correctly, and immediately fell off as he left the pits. Power limped the entire track back to the pits for a new wheel as well as a new wing due to the front wing damage from dragging it across the paved street course. Full-course caution provided some saving grace with a P18 finish.
Weather promises to be drier and cooler tomorrow, providing more optimal conditions for a full race. With Rossi shut out of yet another win, it will be curious to see if the Andretti driver will drive for redemption in the second race.
Results below provided by IndyCar Media.