2020 Race Season Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Doubleheader NTT IndyCar Series

Dixon rebounds from disappointment to win Belle Isle Race #2

Photo Credit: INDYCAR Photo

Race #2 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix started in much better weather conditions than Race #1 just the day before. With sunshine soaking the track, the field of 22 cars reached the green flag on time but not for long.

In Turn 3 of the opening lap, seven cars would be involved in a large incident. Drivers involved in the incident were Simon Pagenaud, Tony Kanaan, Patricio O’Ward, Felix Rosenqvist, Will Power, Matheus Leist, and Marco Andretti. As Power checked up entering Turn 3, multiple cars made contact behind him nearly blocking the track. Kanaan would retire from the race due to damage. Pagenaud would require many repairs but would return to the race 13 laps down. Leist would retire after 23 laps due to mechanical damage from the incident.

During the yellow flag period, all but six cars would pit to switch from alternate (red) Firestone tires to the primary (black) tires. Three of the six cars that didn’t pit already started on black tires, leaving only three cars on red tires for the restart.

The restart on Lap 7 saw Scott Dixon leading Spencer Pigot and Santino Ferrucci. This restart would be clean, with Dixon only needing a couple laps to put a 1.3 second gap on Pigot. Lap 14 would see Ferrucci pass Dixon after Dixon’s red tires fell off.

The very next lap would see a big incident between Sebastien Bourdais and Spencer Pigot. With Pigot heading towards pit lane to switch off his red tires, Bourdais would run into the back of Pigot sending Bourdais’ nose into the air and Pigot into the wall at the entrance to pit lane. Pigot would retire from the race with Bourdais needing multiple pit stops to repair the nose of the car.

Lap 20 would see the restart, with Ferrucci leading Graham Rahal and Race #1 winner Josef Newgarden. After four laps Ferrucci would lead Rahal by 0.67 seconds. Ferrucci would try pitting on Lap 33, but an incident would bring out the caution and ruin that chance.

As James Hinchcliffe exited the pits, he came out right in front of championship leaders Newgarden and Alexander Rossi. Coming down to Turn 3, Newgarden and Rossi would spin causing a pileup in the corner. Rossi would manage to quickly get away from the scene, nearly getting hit by Rosenqvist. Newgarden would take the car behind the wall and was able to repair the damage and get the car back out 21 laps down.

“It’s all my fault” said Newgarden of the crash. “I think I picked up some marbles on my tires, and when I went to turn-in I lost it.”

“I had cold tires and they had hot tires” said Hinchcliffe. “Looked like someone ran out of patience.”

Ferrucci would finally have to pit under caution, handing the lead back to Dixon but not until Ferrucci led 20 laps.

The race would restart on Lap 39 with Dixon leading Marcus Ericsson and Takuma Sato to the green flag. Dixon would build a good lead before making his final pit stop on Lap 45. This would hand the lead to Ericsson who would lead the first lap of his NTT IndyCar Series career.

After Ericsson pitted on Lap 46, Power would inherit the lead despite having such a poor race start until his final pit stop on Lap 49. Dixon would cycle back to the lead after Power’s pit stop.

Lap 54 would see Hinchcliffe’s car lose power, coming to a stop in Turn 6 and bringing out a full course caution, ending the race for Hinchcliffe.

The restart would happen on Lap 59 with Dixon leading Ericsson and Power to the green. Dixon would lead and pull away from the field for only six laps before the final incident of the race.

After already brushing the wall earlier, Rosenqvist would spin in Turn 1 and contact the wall. Race control would bring out a red flag, stopping the race while crews cleaned up the accident scene so that there would be a few lap shootout for the win. The red flag would only last for six minutes, with Dixon leading the field to the green flag with three laps remaining. Dixon would get a good jump on the restart, building a 1.63 second lead after one lap.

Dixon would hold on by 1.9419 seconds to win his 45th career race and third race on Belle Isle, tying Helio Castroneves for the most wins on Belle Isle. Ericsson would finish 2nd for his best career NTT IndyCar Series finish. An amazing finish for Dixon who crashed out in Race #1 and finished dead last.

 

Race Stats

Lead Changes:   6
Race Leaders:     5
Most Laps Led:  Scott Dixon (44)

Total On-Track Passes:   146
Most On-Track Passes:   Takuma Sato (13)

Jared DePouw
Jared is the founder of RealOpenWheel.com but works as a small business accountant. He also officiates high school football and lacrosse in his free time.