Indycar-Detroit Grand Prix-Dixon Dodges Ditch Disaster

Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon absolutely dominated the competition on Belle Isle to handily win the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. Dixon not only won the race, but he also won pole and led every lap. As most everyone predicted, there wasn’t much happening up front between Dixon’s dominance, the tight ARMCO and concrete canyons of the Belle Isle Circuit, the neutered track layout and EJ Viso doing a fabulous job holding up traffic for 27 mind numbing laps. Oh, then the track started coming apart.

It’s a shame most people will view this race as being a boring street parade, but there were some inspired drives. Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti advanced from 14th to finish 2nd behind teammate Scott Dixon. Oriol Servia proved he’s still a driver to be contended with as he drove his Panther DRR Chevrolet from 16th to 5th. Finishing next to him was Tony Kanaan, who came up to 6th from 18th. Also improving 12 positions in the grid were Charlie Kimball(20th to 8th) and Simona de Silvestro(25th to 13th.)

Red flag on Lap 45 due to a huge chunk of pavement coming up. Unfortunately, this pavement issue would collect both James Hinchcliffe and Takuma Sato, who were both having great runs. Hinch’s in car radio communication with his crew after the crash was an Oscar worthy performance indeed. Hinch was hot, and had every right to be so. A piece of sealant covering a groove in the track came up and got stuck in his steering arm, thus sending the #27 Chevrolet into a tire barrier. After watching track workers peel the sealant off the track as a five year old would pull a scab off a scraped knee, the race went red for two hours as crews repaired the holes. As the cars came back to life from the delay, Race Director Beaux Barfield declared the race distance shortened to 60 laps, down from the originally scheduled 90 laps.

Insert 1 hour59 minute 46 second gap here.

All engines restart, except for the engine of Graham Rahal. He has clutch issues and his team pushes him back to their pit box. Graham goes down two laps, but eventually gets the engine refired. On the restart, Dixon pulls a fast one on Power, doing the old gas/heavy brake/gas routine. Power falls for it, allowing Dixon to retain the lead, as well as let Pagenaud slip by for 2nd.

Full course yellow. Newgarden and Briscoe spin in Turn 7. Castroneves and Carpenter spin in Turn 7. Restart on Lap 51. Franchitti dive bombs Pagenaud at the start, shifting Pagenaud to 3rd, Power to 4th and Franchitti up to 2nd. After a few laps under yellow, the green comes back again and it’s simply a sprint to the finish this time. Dixon takes the win, Franchitti in second and Pagenaud in third.

As the points race shapes out, Will Power still leads with 232 points. Scott Dixon takes second place with 206 points and Helio Castroneves is third, 177 points in hand. rounding out the Top 5 in points are Dario Franchitti and James Hinchcliffe tied at 176 points. Simon Pagenaud is the top rookie in the standings in 6th with 171 points. He’s followed by Ruan Hunter-Reay, Ryan Briscoe, Tony Kanaan and Oriol Servia. Chevrolet leads the Manufacturers Championship with 48 points, Honda in second at 41 points, with Lotus a distant third, collecting 24 points.

The next IZOD Indycar Series race is this Saturday night under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway as the Firestone 500k starts at 8pm EDT on NBC Sports Network.

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