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Graham Rahal Dominates Race 1 at Belle Isle

Belle Isle, MI – There’s been 20 full-time drivers in the Verizon IndyCar Series this season, seven of them have now won. That’s 35-percent of the field.

Graham Rahal had about as good as a weekend that anyone could, he was first and second respectively in practice on Friday, earned the pole this morning, then led 54 of the 70 laps this afternoon en route to his fifth career Verizon IndyCar series victory. 

“We’ve changed one thing this weekend, that normally doesn’t happen” Rahal said of his weekend in his victory press conference. “It was just a routine day. A lot of drivers didn’t like my comment that I would dominate if I got our front, I didn’t lie.”

“I was just that confident in my car. It was just that strong.”

Rahal, played the right strategy in his No. 15 Honda, going with a three stop run, which with how the cautions played out, was the right move.

How dominant was Rahal? He didn’t use one push to pass until the end, he did it “just for kicks.”

“I used it the last couple laps just for fun,” Rahal said of his push to passes.

He joins his dad as a father-son combo to win here, as Bobby Rahal won 25 years ago in 1992, the first year the series raced on the streets of Belle Isle.

His pole was his first since 2009, and also his first with his dads team.

Six days after flying over 300 feet in the air in the Indianapolis 500, a gimpy Scott Dixon finished runner-up to Rahal for his sixth top five in seven races this season. He takes over the points lead heading into the second duel tomorrow, nabbing his 36th career runner-up finish, 93rd podium and 137th top five.

James Hinchcliffe brought out the first caution of the day spinning on the opening lap in Turn 2. He would pit under that caution, use that strategy to come to the front, then got a lucky caution to keep him there. He’d give Honda a clean sweep of the podium with his fourth top 10 this season, two of which on the podium, both on street courses.

Josef Newgarden was the best Chevy with a fourth place result, while another Honda in Alexander Rossi rounded out the top five.

The series will regroup tonight, then come back and qualifying again tomorrow morning before the second race of the weekend on Sunday afternoon.

Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Results:

  1. 15 Rahal
  2.  9 Dixon
  3.  5 Hinchcliffe
  4.  2 Newgarden
  5. 98 Rossi
  6.  7 Aleshin
  7.  3 Castroneves
  8. 26 Sato
  9. 19 Jones R
  10. 20 Pigot
  11.  8 Chilton
  12. 27 Andretti
  13. 28 Hunter-Reay
  14. 14 Munoz
  15. 10 Kanaan
  16.  1 Pagenaud
  17. 21 Hildebrand
  18. 12 Power -1
  19. 18 Gutierrez R -1
  20. 16 Servia -1
  21. 83 Kimball -1
  22.  4 Daly OUT

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