Helio Castroneves topped the time charts at the end of the first day of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit, kicking off rounds seven and eight of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season. The No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet started the day second fastest in Practice 1, but the Brazilian driver was able to improve his time enough to top the second and final practice session of the day. Castroneves recorded a time of 1:15.151, 0.182 seconds faster than Graham Rahal’s 1:15.3328.
Alexander Rossi completed the top three after Practice 2, 0.28 seconds off of Castroneves’ time. He was followed by Simon Pagenaud and Mikhail Aleshin who filled out the top 5 at the end of the day. The top 10 featured a good mix between Honda and Chevrolet-powered machinery with the four Penske Chevys evenly distributed through eighth.
The first session back to the track after the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 saw 22 drivers record 335 laps on the 2.35-mile temporary street circuit. Rahal topped the time charts in the session with a lap of 1:15.333 in his No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda. The lap held through Practice 2 to remain the second-fastest time of the day. Just 0.156 seconds back was Castroneves, who led teammate Josef Newgarden to complete the top three.
The only interruption to the first session was for the spinning No. 9 Honda of Scott Dixon. The Australian driver who narrowly escaped injury after a major crash a week ago lost control in Turn 13, but successfully avoided any damage.
Practice 2 was anything but boring as a slew of action on and off the bumpy racing surface of Belle Isle kept drivers and crews busy. Behind Castroneves in the session was Rahal who was not able to better his time, but was scored 0.2 seconds back.
The only stop to the green flag was a red called for the crashed Honda of Alexander Rossi. Rossi’s No. 98 Andretti Autosport machine spun coming into Turn 8 and backed into the wall, forcing his retirement from the session after just three laps. Rossi was leading the session at the time of the incident and ended the session third fastest.
Max Chilton’s crew was sent scrambling for a brake fire on the No. 8 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda after eight laps. The fire was quickly dispatched and Chilton was able to record 20 laps before the end of the session, where he was scored 15th.
Ryan Hunter-Reay experienced clutch issues throughout the day, but was able to record a time of 1:16.135, good for ninth fastest in the session.
Tomorrow’s action will be kicked off with Race 1 qualifying at 10:05 a.m. which will be streamed on racecontrol.indycar.com. Race 1 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit is scheduled for 3:50 p.m. and will be broadcast live on ABC.