Belle Isle, MI – Is there anyone as hot as Graham Rahal in the Verizon IndyCar Series right now. After setting the Belle Isle track record on Saturday morning, he led 55 laps and won his first race of the season.
On Sunday, that record fell to Takuma Sato, but Rahal still started third in his No. 15 Honda, and by time the first pit sequence ended, there he was back out front on Lap 23.
Rahal, would lead 41 more laps on Sunday en route to the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix sweep, his sixth victory of his INDYCAR career.
He also became the first repeat winner of the season.
Rahal, led 96 of the 140 laps this weekend, as he led just two total laps all season prior to that. Also, he had 240 career laps led heading into Belle Isle too, so to lead 96 laps in two races on the 2.35-mile street circuit is nothing short of amazing.
Since the doubleheader format was brought to the series in 2013, just one driver swept both events – Scott Dixon. He did so at Toronto in 2013.
Rahal, had the two stop strategy again, and when he pit with 23 to go, Josef Newgarden inherited the lead. But, Newgarden was on a three stopper. He had to pit one more time.
Newgarden, did just that with 21 to go, as Rahal reinherited the lead and never looked back.
Newgarden, started 13th and was the only one to use that strategy right. He had an extremely fast car and charged to a runner-up result, his 13th career podium. He also came home fourth on Saturday for two top fives in as many races this weekend.
Will Power gave Penske something to smile about after a rough day on Saturday, placing two cars on the podium. Power, earned his third podium of the season, all in the last five races.
Polesitter Takuma Sato was fourth while Simon Pagenaud rounded out the top five for his sixth top five of the season.
The race nearly went caution free, until James Hinchcliffe saw his engine blow with four laps left. Then, Spencer Pigot’s motor also went up in smoke as we went caution for the first time of the race, putting oil all over the surface.
Instead of the race ending under caution, a red flag was flown.
That didn’t matter for Rahal, as no one was really able to pass.
The series heads to Texas next weekend then gets a much needed week off after.
Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Race No. 2 Results:
- 15 Rahal
- 2 Newgarden
- 12 Power
- 26 Sato
- 1 Pagenaud
- 9 Dixon
- 98 Rossi
- 83 Kimball
- 3 Castroneves
- 10 Kanaan
- 14 Munoz
- 4 Daly
- 27 Andretti
- 18 Gutierrez R
- 8 Chilton -1
- 7 Aleshin -1
- 28 Hunter-Reay -1
- 21 Hildebrand -1
- 16 Servia -1
- 5 Hinchcliffe OUT
- 20 Pigot OUT
- 19 Jones R OUT