Graham Rahal took a commanding victory for Race 1 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit, round seven of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. Rahal’s team utitlized a two-stop strategy to see the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda finish ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon by 6.15 seconds. It’s the fifth Indy car career win for Rahal and the 24th for the team.
Dixon utilized a similar strategy to earn the second step on the podium after starting sixth. The Kiwi was driving with a sore foot after his scary accident just a week ago in the 101st Indianapolis 500.
Dixon was chased by James Hinchcliffe, who charged back to the podium after trouble early in the race. Hinchcliffe’s No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Honda spun heading in to Turn 1 after starting fifth. He claimed Dixon who started sixth, made contact to the rear of his machine, but a replay later revealed that Hinchcliffe spun on his own. A tear through the field saw the Canadian driver pass 19 competitors before the 70-lap feature completed.
Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden and Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi completed the top 5. Newgarden was the only Chevrolet in the top five with teammate, Helio Castroneves and Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot being the only other Chevrolets in the top ten.
Tire strategy was the main topic of discussion as the Firestone Red option tires provided a better lap time, but lost grip after only a handful of laps; some drivers reporting a six lap lifespan. The Firestone primary compound was the choice for most competitors with the majority of the field using the reds in the first two stints.
There were two interruptions to green flag running throughout the 164.5-mile race. Hinchcliffe single-handedly brought out the first yellow in Turn 2 on Lap 1. It wasn’t until Lap 26 that the second interruption was brought out by an incident involving Charlie Kimball and Conor Daly. Only six laps were run under caution.
Round eight of the Verizon IndyCar Series kicks off tomorrow, Sunday June 3 at 3:50 p.m Eastern. Qualifying for Race 2 starts at 10:45 a.m. and will be streamed live at racecontrol.indycar.com while the race will be broadcast live on ABC.