This weekend the drivers and teams of the Verizon IndyCar Series were forced to put the excitement and heartbreak of last Sunday’s Indy 500 in the rear-view mirror, as the series raced into Detroit for the Chevrolet Grand Prix.
This weekend’s unique doubleheader provided a tough challenge for the stars of IndyCar as they contested not one but two complete races around one of the series’ most demanding tracks.
This weekend proved that the 2018 championship will likely come down to the wire, as many of the series’ leading competitors experienced mixed results in the two races.
In Race 1 Chip Ganassi’s Scott Dixon dominated in his #9 PNC Bank Honda, earning the 42nd win of his career.
“It’s always nice (to win). I think right now, with the competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series, it’s just through the roof,” said Dixon. “If you look back a few years, you can sort of run off five or six victories in a season, and it seems those days are pretty much gone.”
Dixon’s win Saturday moves the New Zealand native into a tie for third place on IndyCar’s all-time wins list, a position he currently shares with Michael Andretti.
Dixon’s closest competitor Ryan Hunter-Reay crossed the finish line 1.8249 seconds behind the #9, earning the Andretti Autosport driver his second podium of 2018.
“I was doing qualifying laps there the whole time,” Hunter-Reay said of his pace while chasing Dixon. Good job by the #28 DHL boys today in the pit lane again. They did an awesome job in Indy and again today, just phenomenal.”
Picking up right where he left off Saturday, Hunter-Reay put together a very strong drive in Race 2 to claim his first win since 2015.
By Lap 64 the driver of the #28 DHL Honda had caught up to race leader and teammate Alexander Rossi, a lead that at one point covered the entire back straightaway.
With just six laps to go the hard charging Hunter-Reay was just too much for Rossi to handle when he locked up under braking at the entrance to Turn 3, handing his teammate the race win.
In the last few laps of the race Hunter-Reay opened up an impressive 11-second lead over last weekend’s Indianapolis 500 winner Will Power.
Sunday’s race got off to a bizarre 30-minute delay before the green flag ever flew as on the parade lap the pace car spun and smashed into the wall on the exit of Turn 1.
After this weekend’s two rounds Power holds a five-point lead over Dixon in the championship standings. Andretti Autosport’s Rossi sits in third place with 298 points, while Sunday’s race winner Hunter-Reay is in fourth.