Graham Rahal wins Duel #2 of the Duel in Detroit becoming the driver since Scott Dixon in 2013 to win both races in a double header weekend.
Takuma Sato led the field to green with a clean start throughout the pack. Strategy would start early with JR Hildebrand pitting on lap 3. Marco Andretti reported early with a loose car a possible effect of starting on the Firestone red tire.
Andretti fell through the field early being passed by Conor Daly and attacked by his teammate Alexander Rossi. Rossi, however, would get called for blocking needing to give the spot back to his teammate. Josef Newgarden also pounced on Andretti taking another spot away from the 3rd generation driver.
Oriol Servia was the first driver to get caught speeding in the pitlane and was penalized. James Hinchcliffe pit on lap 7 the first of the lead drivers being followed in by Andretti.
Ryan Hunter-Reay who started second fell early getting passed by Graham Rahal and Helio Castroneves. Disaster would occur during the battle between Hunter-Reay and Castroneves when the two made contact giving Castroneves a puncture and Hunter-Reay wing damage. The incident ruined both drivers hopes for victory.
Rahal began catching the 26 of Sato as pit stops for the two stop strategy approached. Rahal and Sato’s battle let Will Power close in on the two.
Sato came into the pits on lap 23 with Power following behind. Rahal stayed out in an attempt to get the overcut on the two. Rahal put in a quick enough lap to come out ahead of Sato and Power by 4 seconds. Josef Newgarden, however, assumed the lead on the three-stop strategy before pitting just laps after getting the lead. Sato losing a spot to Power was now being hunted by Scott Dixon.
Ed Jones and JR Hildebrand battled before making contact with each other. Like the previous contact between Hunter-Reay and Castroneves, Jones would have wing damage while Hildebrand ended up with a puncture.
Castroneves couldn’t escape contact making contact with Andretti on lap 41 battling for fourteenth. Marco Andretti would call for a penalty on the radio with no call coming for the Team Penske driver.
With another round of stops coming Newgarden once again got the lead with his strategy looking to be the only one to contend with Graham Rahal’s. But like before Rahal would get the lead back due to Newgarden pitting.
Rahal running into traffic would get held up massively by Hunter-Reay while Rahal voiced his displeasure on team radio. With 7 laps to go what seemed to be a possible caution, the 19 of Ed Jones had spun only bringing out a local yellow.
Newgarden closed his gap to Rahal from 19 seconds all the way down to 6 until a full course yellow caused by James Hinchcliffe stopping on track due to an electrical issue. Under yellow Spencer Pigots car began billowing smoke out the rear ending his day as well. The race was put under red flag with 3 laps to go.
The green would fly with 2 laps remaining. Newgarden struggled with his car allowing Rahal to pull away from him and his teammate Will Power. Graham Rahal would not be challenged and go on to win the second race of the Duel in Detroit sweeping the weekend and getting his sixth career win.
Image Credit – www.indycar.com – Chris Owens