IndyCar title fight closes up in Detroit

Weekend Racing Wrap

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The IndyCar championship battle closed up over back-to-back races in Detroit last weekend.

Also in America last week the IMSA cars added to the Belle Isle traffic and the reigning NASCAR champion had a good day in the office.


Races 7-8: Detroit

Graham Rahal became the first driver to win both races in the Detroit Grand Prix double-header. The RLL driver cruised to victory from pole position in race two and used his Honda-powered car’s fuel economy to jump race two pole sitter Takuma Sato for another win 24 hours later.

Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves left Belle Isle on top of the points standings despite neither of them having won a race so far in 2017. Castroneves reached the third anniversary of his last IndyCar victory despite starting both races inside the top four: A strategic gamble backfired in race one and he collected a puncture on Sunday.

Sato, Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden will all arrive at Saturday’s race in Texas within striking distance of the championship lead. Newgarden took fourth in race one, pressing James Hinchcliffe hard in the final laps after the Schmidt driver bounced back from an early spin, and followed Rahal home after a red flag and restart at the end of race two.

Rahal’s double win has propelled him forward nine points in the standings to sixth, and he joins the ranks of championship contenders ahead of the race he won last year.


Race 13: Dover

Jimmie Johnson won in Dover despite being sent to the back of the grid following a set-up change on his car ahead of the race. A multi-car crash after the race distance had already been extended sealed Johnson’s third victory of 2017.


Race 5: Detroit

The Taylor brothers’ streak of consecutive IMSA sports car championship wins looked in jeopardy when Ricky Taylor crashed their Cadillac DPi-VR in qualifying. But from 12th on the grid they worked through to the front, taking their fifth win in as many races.

Andy Lally and Katherine Legge shared GTD class honours in their Michael Shank-run Acura NSX GT3.

Video not available yet.

Over to you

What racing action did you watch last weekend? Let us know in the comments.

Next weekend’s racing

Formula One heads to Canada while seven other series are in action next weekend:

  • British Touring Car Championship races 13-15: Croft
  • Euroformula Open races 5-6: Paul Ricard
  • Formula E races 7-8: Berlin
  • IndyCar race 9: Texas
  • NASCAR Cup race 14: Pocono
  • World Rally Championship race 7: Italy
  • World Rallycross Championship race 6: Norway

Thanks to Robert Mathershaw (@mathers) for contributing to this article.

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11 comments on “IndyCar title fight closes up in Detroit”

  1. Outstanding job by Graham both races. He’s in the title hunt now.

  2. Watched both Detroit races. So happy for Graham, his iconic dad Bobby, as well as David Letterman as part owner of the team.

    On an interesting side note, Graham’s wife is the daughter of dragster legend John Force, and she drag races herself, and had a spectacular blowup of her car on a run on Saturday. She was fine and they show footage of her and her crew watching her husband’s success on TV from their venue.

    1. Calling John Force a “Legend” doesn’t seem to do him justice.

  3. Watched both races in Detroit, it reminds me a lot of Singapore without much overtaking. But the second race had a lot more.
    The red flag felt a bit unnecessary and forced, and in the end it did t change anything. It was nice to see the race play out without yellow flags until the end, and even then it didn’t have much effect.

    1. @yoshif8tures At the time I was glad they gave the race the chance to enter under green, but in retrospect I should’ve realised that with the tyres being so tricky to warm up we were unlikely to see any changes of position. The drivers were very tentative in those last two laps. Perhaps that will inform future decisions about whether to do the same thing again. It’s not unprecedented, of course, they did it at Indianapolis in 2014.

      1. Canderous (@yoshif8tures)
        6th June 2017, 4:48

        Yep. If it was ten laps then perhaps it would have had more of an effect, as it was, restarting the race for two laps felt rather ridiculous if only to ensure the race finished under greed flag racing.
        The drivers seemed to be more interested in maintaining their position rather than attacking, and this probably because of the tires being cold and it being a tight street circuit where overtaking is fairly difficult.

  4. ex-F1 driver Will Stevens won his first race in a GT this weekend, on the Blancpain GT Sprint Series at Zolder

  5. I watched both indycar races back to back on Sunday night and I’m thoroughly looking forward to Texas at the weekend. The helmet cam that Rahal carried was absolutely visceral.
    Oh, and it was nice to hear BTsport’s expert commentators back this weekend after their inexplicable absence for The 500!

    1. Canderous (@yoshif8tures)
      6th June 2017, 4:48

      It must be nice to not have to listen to the ESPN team.

  6. Bristol is just awesome. 150 mph in a soup bowl.

  7. I was hoping to watch the races but for some reason ESPN here in OZ didn’t seem to have it.

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