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Jun 01, 2014 - 05:56 AM
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Chevrolet and Power on Top of IndyCar Podium in Detroit
Posted by: BGerhart on Jun 01, 2014 - 05:56 AM
Feature Articles
Chevrolet and Power on Top of IndyCar Podium in Detroit

By Brad Gerhart

The IndyCar team strategist sure had their work cut out for them in the first race of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit on Saturday afternoon.

In all about four different strategies were in place toward the end of the 70 lap race around the 12 turn 2.36 mile track on the beautiful Belle Isle on the Detroit River
Pole sitter and two-time (2000 and 2001) Detroit Grand Prix race winner, Helio Castroneves led a race high 30 laps, but it would be his teammate, Will Power who went on a slightly different strategy than last weekend's Indy500 runner-up who brought Team Penske the race victory.

“When I thought I could win it is when I got clear air. I was making some ground. Then again, when everyone pitted, we came out, at that point I thought we could win it, yeah,” Power said. “When it's your day, it's your day.”


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Team owner, and race promoter Roger Penske's teams won their fourth victory in his hometown race of not only himself but of Chevrolet who have a huge automotive presence not only in the area but at the track as well. “The whole team, fantastic we were able to win today. We were hoping one of the Penske cars were going to be able to do it. Happy it was me,” said Power who started toward the back of the field to win his second race of the season. “To come from 16th to win was unexpected. But the team put me in a position to do that,” he said.

Graham Rahal had a big turnaround from his last place finish at Indy with a second place showing. He really put the pressure on Power late in the race but did not have the same top line straight speed as Power to even attempt to overtake Power. The 25 year-old native of Ohio, is now in his eighth season of major open wheel competition and is still in search of his second race victory since winning at St Pete's in 2008 while a member of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. “I kept thinking to myself, Damn it, one of these days I'm going to win one of these things, today would be a good day to do so,” Rahal said. “He's Will Power, he's won a lot of these things now. He knows how to finish the job.”

His season before Detroit hasn't been all that pleasant for Rahal, with not one top-10 in the first five races and a lot of frustration and bad luck along the way. “With the year we have had, with the luck we've had, for things to turn around finally, get a good result means more than we can possibly tell you,” Rahal said.

On lap 31 a bit of IndyCar history was made when rookie Mikha Aleshin became the first Russian born driver to lead a lap in competition. It became a rather eventful day for Aleshin as he also got black flagged for blocking, made contact with Hinchcliffe that spun him out, caused a yellow and he ended the race in the tires for a miserable 17th place finish.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the top finishers was Justin Wilson, who himself admitted he did not really have a clue what was going on with the race strategy and the constant moving of positions from front of the pack to the back and back to the front again. He questioned the calls from his Dale Coyne Racing team, but they were not far off and just missed out on the podium with a fourth place finish. "We just had to be quick where we needed to be, save fuel when we needed to save fuel. Tough day. But you've got to play it how you've got to play it. From 19th to 4th, something was going on in that race," Wilson said.

Sunday's race, with better track grip and the drivers a little sore and worn down from a physical and mentally challenging race should be just as chaotic as last year's second Detroit race.

“It's going to be a crazy race,” Wilson said. It's Detroit. Anything can happen.”

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