DETROIT GRAND PRIX: Ryan Hunter-Reay wins on Sunday; Scott Dixon wins on Saturday

Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates in the James Scott Memorial Fountain. (Photo: INDYCAR)

DETROIT — The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix ‘Dual in Detroit’ races on Belle Isle Park were a fun time for all.  Lots of action including a Corvette pace car crashing and a winner jumping into Scott Fountain were some of the highlights from Sunday’s race.

Ryan Hunter-Reay surpassed Will Power on lap 64 to take the checkered flag in Sunday’s IndyCar race.  Hunter-Reay made a bet with Brad Galli from WXYZ-TV on Saturday that if he won the race, he would jump in Scott Fountain.  He kept his promise–hoping to start a new tradition.

“The car ended the race where it should be and that’s in victory lane,” Hunter-Reay told the media. “I just kept my head down. After my last stop, there was nobody ahead of me. I just went for it. I think we were strong enough to potentially expose a weakness. Those Firestone’s are so grippy. They literally whip the wheel out of my hands. Once I fell into a rhythm, it was so consistent. That was the key for me.”

The race got off to a rocky start when GM executive Mark Reuss crashed the Corvette pace car which caused a 45-minute delay. Alongside Reuss was Mark Sandy, manager of electronics of IndyCar. Both were checked out by a medical team and were determined to be OK.

“I felt really bad for whoever was in the pace car,” Will Power said. “It is very easy to do as you go over that crest. The traction control must have been turned off. It really wasn’t his fault. It’s just such a bad corner. No one wanted to run over the debris. I only had one set of the new [Firestone] Reds.

Meanwhile, Will Power was the best finishing Chevrolet in second place.  He was followed by Ed Jones, Scott Dixon and Graham Rahal to round out the top five.  Pole winner Alexander Rossi finished 12th.

“Growing up in Dubai and carting there from the beginning…when I got to wet weather people thought I was going to struggle a lot more,” Ed Jones told the media. “It was quite a big thing for me. My first ever race I did in wet [tires]. That’s always been helpful for me.”

Sunday’s IndyCar race lasted one hour and 33 minutes.  The average speed was 105.176 mph.   Ryan Hunter-Reay had the fastest lap at 112.711 mph.  There were six lead changes and three caution laps.

There was only one incident during the race.  Spencer Pigot spun out on the very first lap on turn 5.  Then the race got back underway on lap number four.

“We’re brand new fans and we were rooting for Scott Dixon yesterday,” said John Hristov from South Lyon, Mich. “Today it’s a different race and we’ve got Ryan Hunter-Reay and we’re happy for him. It’s overwhelming because we are not used to seeing all of this here. We’re lucky you came and we’re happy. It was a phenomenal day, we were lucky because we thought we were going to get wet.”

His wife, Maria Hristov, added: “I was really surprised as to the magnitude of everything. I mean this is a very large production to put on. A lot of teamwork going on on a very grand scale. It was my first time and I liked it a lot. It was very enjoyable.”

New Zealander Scott Dixon victorious on Saturday

Scott Dixon won Saturday’s race by 1.82 seconds over Ryan Hunter-Reay. It was his 42nd career IndyCar win, tying himself with Michael Andretti for third on the career all-time wins list.

“It’s been quite obvious that Honda had been quite strong here this weekend,” Dixon told the media. “We started to put on the pressure. We were trying to save as much fuel as possible.  We were able to jump him. I feel lucky to race with some of the veterans. Hunter-Reay was really great on his restarts. The adrenaline is flowing big time. You’re trying to go as fast as possible without screwing up.”

Alexander Rossi finished third.  Pole winner Marco Andretti finished in fourth.

“We were quite a bit stronger in turn one and two,” Rossi explained. “I tried to maximize that as much as possible. It’s great to be back on the podium. The NAPA Know How team really deserved that after what’s been a really long stretch of May. Hats off to them. We had a good car. Honda to be in the top six. It’s a good day for all of our partners for sure.”

Saturday’s IndyCar race lasted one hour and 39 minutes with an average speed of 99.285 mph.  There were six lead changes and 10 caution laps.

Last year’s winner, Graham Rahal,  crashed on lap 47 into the wall on turn 13. Then, the race got back underway on lap 53. That ended his hopes of winning on Saturday.  However, he got a chance to redeem himself on Sunday.

On lap 56, rookie Santino Ferrucci crashed into the wall on turn seven.  Then the race got underway again on lap 60.

“I’m so glad to come to a track that has more than one man series in one weekend,” said Dalton Ryan from Beloit, Wis. “It was definitely worth the six hours driving from southern Wisconsin to get here. I saw Scott Dixon win at Road America in 2017. I’m two-for-two in seeing Scott Dixon win. He’s just a really good driver. I’m not on a bandwagon or anything.”

His friend, Willow Voegtlen, added: “It’s been a great race the whole time we’ve been here. We just can’t wait to come back sometime. He’s my mentor so I have to say I like Scott Dixon as well. Scott is very talented in everything that he does. Especially watching him from last year to this year.”

The next IndyCar race will be the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 9.

 

2018 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix ‘Dual in Detroit’ (Gloria Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

 

Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates by riding the lion at the Scott Memorial Fountain. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

 

Scott Dixon celebrates with a champagne fight with Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi.

 

Graham Rahal was out of the race on Saturday after hitting the wall.

 

IndyCars on the Raceway at Belle Isle Park (Gloria Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

 

Former “Bachelor” Arie Luyendyk Jr. won the SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Truck Series race on Sunday.

 

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