DETROIT — Prior to starting the race, Scott Dixon was honored by Queen Elizabeth II with the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit award. It was fitting that Scott Dixon would go on to take the checkered flag in an exciting second race of the 2019 Detroit Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon.
“Today was all about redemption and the team,” he said. “Now with this strategy, the car was super fast and we were able to get the mileage that we needed.” Were you surprised by Marcus Ericsson’s second place finish since it was only his sixth or seventh race? “Marcus, being a rookie, we created enough of a gap that there was no pressure.”
Continuing a tradition started by Ryan Hunter-Reay last year, Dixon hopped in the James Scott Memorial Fountain for a quick dip. Then, his crew members followed suit and joined in on the fun. On Sunday, temperatures reached 70 degrees with sunny conditions.
The second race of the Detroit Grand Prix lasted one hour, 52 minutes and 18.9 seconds. There were six lead changes and 23 caution laps. Scott Dixon led the most laps with 44 followed by Santino Ferrucci with 20 and Will Power with three. Marcus Ericsson led two laps and Josef Newgarden led one.
Sunday’s race summary: The race started with Josef Newgarden (No. 2) in first place, then Alexander Rossi (No. 27) in second place and Zach Veach (No. 26) in third place, until there was a caution. And it didn’t take very long for the first yellow flag to be waved.
On the very first lap, Will Power (No. 12) was involved in a multi-car crash with Simon Pagenaud (No. 22). Power’s car stalled on the track after the lap one accident which damaged the gear box. The gears weren’t working, then it fixed itself miraculously. Tony Kanaan was also involved in the first-lap accident and was deemed out of the race. Power and Pagenaud were able to continue racing afterwards.
On lap 15, on turn 3, Spencer Pigot (No. 21) crashed into a tire barrier near the entry to pit road when Sebastien Bourdais (No. 18) hit him from behind. After that caution, the lineup was Santino Ferrucci (No. 19) in first place, with Graham Rahal (No. 15) in second, and Josef Newgarden (No. 2) in third place with 50 laps to go. Then, James Hinchcliffe (No. 5) moved ahead to the number three spot with Scott Dixon (No. 9) trailing behind him. Hinchcliffe then passed Rahal for the number two spot at lap 31.
Yesterday’s winner, Josef Newgarden, was involved in a crash at lap 34 at turn 3, when Rossi bumped Hinchcliffe, pushing Hinchcliffe into Newgarden. Then, Scott Dixon moved to first with Marcus Ericsson (No. 7) taking second and Takuma Sato (No. 30) in third.
Scott Dixon was sitting pretty in the number one spot for a while until he stopped in the pit area for a tire change. Then, it was Will Power, Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson. With confidence, Scott Dixon moved back to the number one position.
Hinchcliffe was out of the race at lap 52 and sat off course at turn six. With 12 laps to go, Dixon commanded a huge lead. Ericsson packed some speed behind Dixon. That’s when Dixon was about four car lengths ahead of Ericsson with two laps to go and Power following in third. Dixon put on a dominating performance and became the winner. This is his 45th career win and third on Belle Isle. He won last year’s first race of the Detroit Grand Prix as well.
Rookie Marcus Ericsson finished second and noted that it’s been 2013 since he’s been on a podium. “It was a nice feeling to finally get it together today. Ten crew members from Formula One were here and I was happy to see them.”
Do you feel any pressure with Scott Dixon in front of you? “I have respect for these guys and doing my job is the main thing.” Being Swedish, how will things go in Sweden? “I have great support from Sweden and I am proud of their support.”
Third place finisher Will Power was asked…when you stalled, were you able to restart? “Yes, I was able to restart just in time. It didn’t re-fire when I released the clutch. I tried to get the best restart and it was amazing how it all played out.”
Jeff Gutt, lead singer of the rock band Stone Temple Pilots, sang the United States national anthem prior to the start of Sunday’s race. The group also performed a free concert for all fans to enjoy in the Meijer Fan Zone.
Due to a rain delay on Saturday, the Dual 1 Race became a timed race at one hour and 15 minutes. First place went to Josef Newgarden, second place was Alexander Rossi and third was Takuma Sato. There were four cautions and two penalties during that race. With the wet track conditions, thank goodness there were no major accidents.
The winners of Sunday’s Motor City Dash Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli-Race #2: Tony Ave (No. 25) was in first place; Dillon Machavern (No. 77) was in second; and Tony Buffamonte (No. 34) took third. It was a special day for Ave because it was the 100th Trans Am Series race of his career and his first win on Detroit’s Belle Isle.
Up next: The NTT IndyCar Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway for the DXC Technology 600 next weekend.