Power clings onto Detroit Grand Prix victory under pressure from Rossi


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Will Power avenged a bitter defeat in last year’s Detroit Grand Prix by taking the win in the final IndyCar race held around the Belle Isle Street Circuit, charging from 16th on the grid and managing his final stint to perfection to cap off his first win of the season.

Power was one of the few drivers to start the race on the harder primary tyres – which would be the preferred race tyre as it was last year. It took him less than ten laps to work his way into the top five. On lap 14, he overtook pole winner and Penske team mate Josef Newgarden – who started on the softer alternate tyres – for the race lead.

Power pitted once on lap 25, going to another set of primary tyres, with the aim of stretching out his advantage before doing a shorter final stint on the alternates. His competition was not Newgarden – but Alexander Rossi, who discarded the alternate tyres after four laps and committed to a three-stop strategy.

After Power made his last pit stop on lap 50, he led Rossi by 16 seconds. By taking care of his tyres early in the stint, Power had just enough left to mitigate the drop-off in pace – and the disruption from lapped traffic ahead of him – to keep Rossi at bay and win the race by just one second.

With the victory and the bonus points for leading the most laps, Power has now regained the lead in the IndyCar Series championship after seven rounds, on 255 points.

Rossi, who announced his transfer to McLaren SP this weekend, finished an agonising second, keeping his winless streak going for at least one more weekend – and Scott Dixon, a week after his crushing defeat at the Indianapolis 500, avenged himself in some form by finishing in third, ahead of Newgarden in fourth, and Pato O’Ward in fifth.

Álex Palou finished sixth, followed by Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson in seventh, Colton Herta in eighth, Simon Pagenaud in ninth – and then, due to a last-lap crash by Rinus VeeKay, Felix Rosenqvist moved up to tenth.

Power leads Ericsson by just three points heading into next week’s Grand Prix of Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. O’Ward is 12 points off the top of the table, and Palou is just another two points behind O’Ward.

It was a caution-free race, with no Safety Car interventions – but not entirely free of incidents for some drivers. Graham Rahal’s race ended after just two laps from contact with the barrier, and Hélio Castroneves dropped out with an electrical issue. Rookie Kyle Kirkwood was running as high as second until he hit the wall on cold tyres after his final stop, but thankfully he did not seem to aggravate his right hand, which had been in bandages since a practice crash on Saturday morning.

This weekend brings an end to racing along the streets of Belle Isle, but the Detroit Grand Prix will return next year, moving to a new street circuit in the Renaissance Centre district in downtown Detroit, using some of the same roads that composed Formula 1’s trips to the ‘Motor City’ from 1982 to 1988.

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Grand Prix of Detroit results

112Will PowerPenskeChevrolet
227Alexander RossiAndrettiHonda
39Scott DixonGanassiHonda
42Josef NewgardenPenskeChevrolet
55Pato O’WardMcLaren SPChevrolet
610Alex PalouGanassiHonda
78Marcus EricssonGanassiHonda
826Colton HertaAndrettiHonda
960Simon PagenaudMeyer ShankHonda
107Felix RosenqvistMcLaren SPChevrolet
1118David MalukasCoyne/HMDHonda
1220Conor DalyCarpenterChevrolet
1351Takuma SatoCoyne/RWRHonda
1430Christian LundgaardRLLHonda
1545Jack HarveyRLLHonda
1621Rinus VeeKayCarpenterChevrolet
1728Romain GrosjeanAndrettiHonda
1829Devlin DeFrancescoAndretti SteinbrennerHonda
193Scott McLaughlinPenskeChevrolet
204Dalton KellettFoytChevrolet
2177Santino FerrucciJuncos HollingerChevrolet
2248Jimmie JohnsonGanassiHonda
2311Tatiana CalderonFoytChevrolet
2414Kyle KirkwoodFoytChevrolet
256Helio CastronevesMeyer ShankHonda
2615Graham RahalRLLHonda


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Author information

RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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7 comments on “Power clings onto Detroit Grand Prix victory under pressure from Rossi”

  1. CD (@clipperdael)
    6th June 2022, 9:46

    Rossi might have had a very real chance at winning if the race had gone one for just one more lap. I thought Power had this one in the bag already but Rossi made up huge chunks of time in the final laps. Those last five seconds or so went down really fast.

  2. To me, the IndyCar strategies feel a bit naive at times. Power started 16th and he was leading the race by lap 20, only because of better tire choice (there are no forced starting tyres in Indy, so everyone can choose).

    The 3 stopper starting on hards was ~20 sec faster on paper and, as it turned out, in practice. So why use a different strategy then? Just to gamble on some cautions that might never come (and never did)?

    1. They were all worried about how much the red tires were going to drop off. Newgarden tried Power’s strategy last year in this race and got caught and passed with 3 laps remaining to finish second. Power didn’t have much to loose starting 16th, so he decide to try that strategy anyway. It looks like Power was able to manage the red tire drop off just enough to nurse his car home in first. Power is also lucky that there weren’t any cautions that would have bunched the field up, and put Rossi, Dixon, and Newgarden right on his gearbox.

      1. Spot on!

      2. I get it that they tried, they hoped, they didn’t know, etc.

        But what can you say to poor Josef Newgarden who got pole, had a perfect start, never put a wheel wrong and showed awesome pace when the pit crew let him. Perfect execution in the pits also, everything went smooth, and he still ended up outside the podium, ~15 seconds behind his teammate who won the race (starting from 16th). In a race that had NO SAFETY CARS or even yellow flags.

        Is Inaki Rueda chief strategist at Penske now?

  3. Nice drive by Power! Now heading downtown to the old GP layout. Should be interesting.

  4. 4 or 5 more corners and he would have passed him. Good stuff, Indycar!

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