Power keeps Rahal at bay to win Detroit Race 1

Power keeps Rahal at bay to win Detroit Race 1

31 May 2014 – Will Power fended off a charging Graham Rahal to win the first race at Belle Isle in the Dual at Detroit on Saturday. Coming from P16 on the grid, Power's Penske team employed a clever pit-stop strategy to get ahead of pole-sitter Helio Castroneves, and with some helpful caution periods, Power found himself leading the field with ten laps to go, and he never looked back.

After starting in P9, Rahal drove a flawless race, tracking down Power in the closing stages of the first Dual but ultimately being unable to get by on the bumpy road course. Satisfied with a rare podium finish, Rahal hopes to do one better tomorrow for the second race of the weekend.

Also finding his way to the podium was 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan. The Brazilian had started the race just in front of Rahal and managed to stay clean on several dicey restarts on the afternoon, finishing five seconds behind the American.

Fellow Brazilian Castroneves led the field to the green flag after stalling in pit lane at the start of the formation lap. IndyCar rules allow the car to resume its position if it can reach its rightful grid spot before the field completes one pace lap. With that hiccup out of his system, Castroneves led the first third of the race before two caution periods began to divide the field on pit strategy.

With many drivers originally opting for a three-stop strategy, a fascinating battle began to develop after Simon Pagenaud was squeezed into a wall by Power to bring out the first caution. The second one was thrown when Mike Conway, who was running in fourth at the time, understeered into the wall, ending his race. The dejected Bromley native climbed from his car and rested against the barrier, head in his hands and looking a little sore from the impact.

By the end of the second caution, all of the field had pitted except Rahal and Marco Andretti. Jack Hawksworth, who had been running P2 after jumping Hinchcliffe at the start, disappointingly saw his left front brake rotor break, so he was sent tumbling down the order and was soon five laps down. He would be one of several drivers to be stuck in pit lane for various mechanical reasons, thus pushing him out of contention.

Rahal was the first to pit on Lap 27, switching from black to red tyres, with Andretti following suit the next time around the Belle Isle circuit. It appeared that these two were going to attempt a two-stop strategy, unlike most of the rest of the field. This handed the lead to Power, who remained on a three-stop, albeit a few laps different than Castroneves. Helio would inherit the lead around the midway point of the race after Power pitted on Lap 31.

A few laps later, Josef Newgarden found his way into the tyre wall. In doing so, the standing water inside the rubber sloshed out on track, lengthening what would have been a short caution so the jet driers could clean the racing surface.

Around this point, it appeared that the two-stoppers would have the advantage since most of the leaders had pitted 20 laps earlier. By the time the track went green, numbers were being crunched up and down the pit lane to determine fuel loads and various permutations.

Some, like Ryan Briscoe, chose to bet on another caution coming late in the race, but when Mikhail Aleshin was spun by James Hinchcliffe with 15 laps to go, it looked like Briscoe and several others would fall just short of their fuel marks.

Castroneves had just made his stop on Lap 47, so the caution was actually quite detrimental to his strategy, but he managed to work his way back up to P5 by the end of the race. 

Will Power had pitted on Lap 54, just one lap before the last caution came out, which meant that he was soon back into the top five when the rest of the field pitted for the last time. When Briscoe stayed out and took the green flag on the restart, Power eventually managed to get around him (even though he knew Briscoe would have to pit).

By putting the Penske car between him and Rahal, Power was able to build a lead that turned out to be insurmountable, despite Rahal closing to within a couple of lengths after Briscoe pitted. Even having one more Push-to-Pass to use on the final lap, Rahal couldn't get by the Aussie and finished just 0.3s back as Power collected his second win of the year – thus awarding him second in the championship standings.

Championship leader Ryan Hunter-Reay started the race on the last row after hitting the wall in qualifying.  He led some laps after a long stint on black tyres, but he would only manage P16 at the chequered flag.

Race 2 of the Dual at Detroit will take place at the same time tomorrow.

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Saturday 31 January 2015

  2. Video: Daniel Ricciardo on 2015 season 11:18

    Video: Daniel Ricciardo on 2015 season

    Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo discusses his expectations for the 2015 season as he tries to build on a successful 2014.

    F1
  3. Kobayashi moves to Super Formula for 2015 10:11

    Kobayashi moves to Super Formula for 2015

    Kamui Kobayashi will move to Japan's Super Formula championship for 2015 after leaving Formula 1. Kobayashi spent three...

    F1
  4. Hamilton: Mercedes can be even stronger 09:04

    Hamilton: Mercedes can be even stronger

    Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton says that Mercedes' rivals will find it tough to match the outfit in 2015 as "there...

    F1
  5. Video: Magnussen on 2015 expectations 08:33

    Video: Magnussen on 2015 expectations

    McLaren test and reserve driver Kevin Magnussen discusses his 2015 role and expectations.

    F1
  6. Magnussen's sights set on Formula 1 return 08:32

    Magnussen's sights set on Formula 1 return

    Kevin Magnussen says he will work hard to show his capability as a Formula 1 driver as he bids to return to a race seat for...

    F1
  7. Feature: Sauber's Nasr 'ready for the next step' 07:25

    Feature: Sauber's Nasr 'ready for the next step'

    Formula 1 welcomes three rookies in 2015 – Toro Rosso team-mates Carlos Sainz Jr. and Max Verstappen, and Sauber driver F...

    F1
  8. Video of the Day: Interview with Sebastian Vettel 05:04

    Video of the Day: Interview with Sebastian Vettel

    Sebastian Vettel talks about his move from Red Bull to Ferrari and his hopes for the year ahead.

    F1
  9. Friday 30 January 2015

  10. 19:54

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  11. Ricciardo to debut Red Bull RB11 in Jerez 19:51

    Ricciardo to debut Red Bull RB11 in Jerez

    Red Bull has confirmed that Daniel Ricciardo will debut the squad's new Renault-powered RB11 at Jerez on Sunday. The...

    F1
  12. Ferrari confident over improved power unit 15:48

    Ferrari confident over improved power unit

    Ferrari Technical Director James Allison says that a significant amount of the squad's efforts over the winter period have...

    F1
  13. Filippi joins CFH for road/street courses 14:58

    Filippi joins CFH for road/street courses

    CFH Racing has confirmed that Italian driver Luca Filippi will race for the squad in the 10 road/street courses in this...

    Indy
  14. Video: Interview with Maurizio Arrivabene 12:14

    Video: Interview with Maurizio Arrivabene

    Newly-appointed Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene previews the new Formula 1 season.

    F1
  15. Arrivabene: No 'magic' for Ferrari revival 12:11

    Arrivabene: No 'magic' for Ferrari revival

    Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene says that nobody has the magic to suddenly improve Ferrari's performances, though...

    F1
  16. Video: Ferrari showcases SF15-T 11:39

    Video: Ferrari showcases SF15-T

    Take a tour of the new Ferrari SF15-T, which will be used by the team in this year's championship.

    F1
  17. Vettel sure Ferrari heading in right direction 11:32

    Vettel sure Ferrari heading in right direction

    Sebastian Vettel says he is sure Ferrari is heading in the right direction but urged caution at the unveiling of the squad's...

    F1
  18. 11:17

    Photos: Ferrari unveils new SF15-T

    F1
  19. Ferrari reveals SF15-T in online launch 11:04

    Ferrari reveals SF15-T in online launch

    Ferrari has become the latest squad to unveil its 2015 challenger after revealing its SF15-T, which will be raced by world...

    F1
  20. 09:40

    Photos: Sauber presents C34 in Hinwil

    F1
  21. Ericsson, Nasr aim to return Sauber to points 09:20

    Ericsson, Nasr aim to return Sauber to points

    Sauber duo Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr say that their aim this year is to return the Swiss team to the points-paying...

    F1
  22. Sauber unveils striking new C34 09:05

    Sauber unveils striking new C34

    Sauber has presented its new-look C34 during an online launch, ahead of the car's public debut in Spain this weekend, as it...

    F1
  23. IndyCar Brasilia season opener cancelled 07:25

    IndyCar Brasilia season opener cancelled

    IndyCar has announced that its planned season opener in Brazil in March has been cancelled, although no reason has been...

    Indy
  24. Video: Boullier on McLaren-Honda reunion 07:24

    Video: Boullier on McLaren-Honda reunion

    McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier talks about McLaren's latest engine partnership with Honda.

    F1
  25. Boullier: McLaren restructure starting to pay off 07:23

    Boullier: McLaren restructure starting to pay off

    McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier believes that the recent structural changes at the team are showing signs of paying...

    F1
  26. FIA President Todt awarded Palme d'or 05:34

    FIA President Todt awarded Palme d'or

    FIA President Jean Todt has been awarded the International Automobile Festival's Palme d'or for his achievements in...

    F1
  27. Video of the Day: Ferrari working on SF15-T 05:07

    Video of the Day: Ferrari working on SF15-T

    Watch Ferrari staff members working on the new SF15-T, which will be unveiled on Friday morning.

    F1
  28. Thursday 29 January 2015

  29. Mercedes completes F1 W06 shakedown 16:07

    Mercedes completes F1 W06 shakedown

    Mercedes has released pictures of its new Formula 1 challenger, the F1 W06 Hybrid, after shaking it down at an icy...

    F1
  30. Button: McLaren motivation higher than ever 13:35

    Button: McLaren motivation higher than ever

    Jenson Button says McLaren's motivation to succeed is higher than ever ahead of the 2015 season. McLaren released...

    F1
  31. Alonso admits pre-season 'won't be easy' 12:46

    Alonso admits pre-season 'won't be easy'

    Fernando Alonso has admitted that McLaren's pre-season "won't be easy", as the team embarks on its latest engine partnership...

    F1
  32. 12:10

    Photos: The new McLaren MP4-30

    F1
  33. Video: McLaren unveils 2015 challenger 12:09

    Video: McLaren unveils 2015 challenger

    McLaren has presented its new Honda-powered MP4-30, ahead of its track debut at Jerez on Sunday.

    F1
  34. McLaren presents Honda-powered MP4-30 12:04

    McLaren presents Honda-powered MP4-30

    McLaren has unveiled its new Honda-powered MP4-30, to be driven by an all-World Champion driver line-up of Fernando Alonso...

    F1
  35. Video: Sauber's new C34 is fired up 09:47

    Video: Sauber's new C34 is fired up

    Sauber has fired up its new Ferrari-powered C34 ahead of pre-season testing, which gets underway at Jerez on Sunday. While...

    F1
  36. Nato switches to GP2 with Arden 09:46

    Nato switches to GP2 with Arden

    Norman Nato has moved over from Formula Renault 3.5 to GP2 with Arden for 2015. The Frenchman, 22, spent the past two...

    GP2
  37. Video: Back to the Future, McLaren style 09:27

    Video: Back to the Future, McLaren style

    Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button step into a McLaren time machine.

    F1
  38. Barnhart returns as IndyCar race director 09:25

    Barnhart returns as IndyCar race director

    Brian Barnhart has returned to the position of IndyCar race director for the 2015 season. Barnhart will lead the...

    Indy
  39. Video of the Day: Yamaha presents 2015 bike 05:12

    Video of the Day: Yamaha presents 2015 bike

    Yamaha presented its new YZR-M1 for the 2015 MotoGP season in Madrid on Wednesday.

    MotoGP
  40. Wednesday 28 January 2015

  41. Feature: Ricciardo, Kvyat ready to lead Red Bull 16:07

    Feature: Ricciardo, Kvyat ready to lead Red Bull

    Red Bull was the team to beat between 2010 and 2013, enjoying four double title-winning seasons. But with the departure of...

    F1
  42. Video: Räikkönen gets seated in the SF15-T 13:43

    Video: Räikkönen gets seated in the SF15-T

    Ferrari has released a video of Kimi Räikkönen in the new SF15-T, which will be launched on Friday.

    F1
  43. 12:23

    Photos: Yamaha unveils new MotoGP bike

    MotoGP
  44. Yamaha presents 2015 bike in Madrid 12:20

    Yamaha presents 2015 bike in Madrid

    Yamaha became the first MotoGP team to unveil its 2015 bike in Madrid on Wednesday. Riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge...

    MotoGP
more news