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Hunter-Reay Wins Detroit Nightcap

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, June 3 2018

Ryan Hunter-Reay chased down teammate and lap leader Alexander Rossi and won Sunday in Detroit. (INDYCAR file photo)

Ryan Hunter-Reay tracked down Andretti Autosport teammate Alexander Rossi over the final 12 laps, made the pass for the lead with seven laps to go when Rossi drove off course under pressure and went on to win Sunday’s Race No. 2 of the two-day Grand Prix of Detroit double-header.

The difference in the race, Hunter-Reay said, was his “flying”  No. 28 Honda.

“When we started that last stint, Rossi was a straightaway ahead of us,” Hunter-Reay said. “I couldn’t even see him. I just put my head down and this thing (his car) was flying. Such a great car.”

Rossi’s decision and subsequent run-off incident – caused when locked up the brakes on his No. 27 Honda with Hunter-Reay just inches behind him – cost Rossi the series points lead as he finished 13th. He dropped to third in points behind Will Power and Scott Dixon.

“It was a pretty disappointing day considering we led the most laps and started on pole,” Rossi said. “For sure we didn’t have the pace for Ryan. He was just on another level. So hats off to him and the DHL team, they certainly deserved to win. But the Ruoff Home Mortgage car definitely had a second-place finish in it. Unfortunately, with less than 10 laps to go, our luck changed. We’re not really sure what happened, we’re going to investigate to see if something went wrong because it was a very abnormal issue to have when we hadn’t experienced anything remotely similar all weekend.”

The victory was the first of the season for Hunter-Reay. In fact, it was first in three years.

Power, driving the No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet, finished second.

Ed Jones in the No. 10 Chip Ganassi Honda finished third.

Dixon, who won Saturday’s first race of the double-header, finished fourth in his Ganassi Honda.

Fifth was Graham Rahal  in the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda.

Rossi started the race from the pole and led much of the race.

Rossi gave the lead to Hunter-Reay, who was on a three-stop strategy, when he pitted on Lap 46. When Rossi, on a two-stop strategy, returned to the track, he was second but over 14 seconds back.

On Lap 52, Hunter-Reay pitted, handing the lead back to Rossi but in front of Power. the gap was over 7 seconds between Rossi and Hunter-Reay.

But on the newer tires and the flying Honda, Hunter-Reay began cutting into Rossi’s lead.

With 10 laps to go in the 70-lap event, the lead was down to just 2 seconds.

Then came Rossi’s big error as he locked up the brakes heading into a turn, left the course and lost the race.

The race got off to a bizarre almost start. During the parade lap, the Corvette pace car driven by a celebrity – a General Motors executive named Mark Reuss – spun and crashed into a concrete wall. Pole-sitter Rossi drove around the wreck but the rest of the field stopped and shut down their engines.

The cars that stopped had to have their engines restarted by INDYCAR officials. The cars were then driven back to pit road in starting order. The cars were inspected by team crews for tire damage from the pace car’s debris.

A backup pace car was rolled out with a professional driver at the wheel – Oriol Servia – but that car had to be fitted with a transponder so the start of the race was delayed even more.

At 4:19 – after a half hour halt – the cars finally rolled back onto the track to complete the pace laps and then start the race.

General Motors released the following statement about the crash: “It is unfortunate that this incident happened. Many factors contributed, including weather and track conditions. The car’s safety systems performed as expected.”

On the first lap, however, Spencer Pigot was spun by rookie Santino Ferrucci and that brought out an immediate full course yellow.

(This story will be updated shortly)

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DETROIT – Results Sunday of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.35-mile Raceway at Belle Isle Park, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (10) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 70, Running
2. (3) Will Power, Chevrolet, 70, Running
3. (4) Ed Jones, Honda, 70, Running
4. (5) Scott Dixon, Honda, 70, Running
5. (9) Graham Rahal, Honda, 70, Running
6. (2) Robert Wickens, Honda, 70, Running
7. (22) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 70, Running
8. (21) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 70, Running
9. (12) Marco Andretti, Honda, 70, Running
10. (8) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 70, Running
11. (17) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 70, Running
12. (1) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 70, Running
13. (7) Zach Veach, Honda, 70, Running
14. (18) Matheus Leist, Chevrolet, 70, Running
15. (19) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 70, Running
16. (6) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 70, Running
17. (20) Takuma Sato, Honda, 69, Running
18. (11) Jordan King, Chevrolet, 69, Running
19. (14) Gabby Chaves, Chevrolet, 69, Running
20. (13) Santino Ferrucci, Honda, 69, Running
21. (16) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 67, Running
22. (23) Rene Binder, Chevrolet, 66, Running
23. (15) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 21, Mechanical                    

Race Statistics:

Winner’s average speed: 105.176 mph
Time of Race: 1:33:50.5784
Margin of victory: 11.3549 seconds
Cautions: 1 for 3 laps
Lead changes: 6 among 3 drivers

Lap Leaders:
Rossi, Alexander 1 – 22
Wickens, Robert 23 – 28
Hunter-Reay, Ryan 29 – 33
Rossi, Alexander 34 – 46
Hunter-Reay, Ryan 47 – 52
Rossi, Alexander 53 – 63
Hunter-Reay, Ryan 64 – 70

Verizon IndyCar Series point standings:
Power 309, Dixon 304, Rossi 298, Hunter-Reay 278, Newgarden 270, Wickens 232, Rahal 221, Andretti 197, Bourdais 194, Pagenaud 188.

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, June 3 2018
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