Verizon IndyCar Series Race Report - Belle Isle Day 2

June 4, 2017

Track:                      The Raceway at Belle Isle
Race:                       Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear – Race 2
Date:                        June 4, 2017

No. 1 DXC Technology Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Simon Pagenaud

Start:  11th
Finish: 5th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 70/70
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 4th (-25)

Recap: Simon Pagenaud stretched his fuel all day long and was able to complete the second race of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix with a respectable fifth-place finish on Sunday afternoon at Belle Isle. Pagenaud started the race in the 11th position despite turning one of the faster laps in the morning's qualifying session. At the start of the race, it was evident that Pagenaud's DXC Technology Chevrolet was fast, as the Frenchman was already up to ninth by the second lap and fifth by Lap 12. After utilizing a three-stop pit strategy in Saturday's race, strategist Kyle Moyer called for our two-stop strategy in Sunday's 70-lap event. That meant Pagenaud had to spend some of the first two stints of the race saving fuel. Despite being in fuel-saving mode, Pagenaud was still able to keep his car inside the top-five as each round of pit stops played out. After running as high as fourth, Pagenaud had one final attempt to make a charge at the podium when a red flag came out with just three laps to go. On the ensuing restart, Pagenaud used his "push to pass" to its fullest extent, was wasn't able to get around the fourth place car of Takuma Sato. The fifth-place finish allowed Pagenaud to stay fourth in points, 25 markers in back of leader Scott Dixon.

Quote: "We definitely improved a lot overnight. The entire Penske team did a good job analyzing how we could do better in today's race and it showed. A lot of it here in Detroit comes down to strategy. It's not an easy race. Even if you have the fastest car, you aren't always going to win. My hat is off to Kyle Moyer, Ben Bretzman and the entire No. 1 team. We were saving fuel pretty much the whole race, but the car was still phenomenal. It's not exactly what we want – we want to be up front more – but it was a decent day for the DXC Technology Chevy team."

No. 2 Hum by Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Josef Newgarden

Start:  13th
Finish: 2nd
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 70/70
Laps Led: 7
Points Position: 5th (-44)

Recap: Josef Newgarden headed into the second race of a double-header weekend for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix with a solid top-five finish finishing fourth in the previous race, only to improve with a second-place effort in Sunday's second race on the Raceway at Belle Isle. Newgarden started the event in the 13th spot, but quickly got to work moving to the front. Race strategist Tim Cindric called the 26-year-old to the pits early in the race to make the switch to the Firestone primary tires – one of the earliest to make the change. Newgarden cracked the top 10 on Lap 18. As more teams visited the pits for stops, the cycle allowed the No. 2 Hum by Verizon Chevrolet to move into the second spot on Lap 24. Newgarden led a total of seven laps on the day and was in contention throughout the day. On Lap 66, the caution came out for separate incidents involving Ed Jones and Spencer Pigot. The red flag was displayed shortly after to allow track workers to ready the track for a shootout finish. Newgarden lined up just behind race leader Graham Rahal for the two-lap dash to the finish line, but was not able to work his way around the eventual winner. The runner-up showing was Newgarden's fifth top five of the season and he is situated fifth in the standings, 44 points behind leader Scott Dixon.

Quote: "I'll be honest, I think we were all just trying to get to the end. There were just two laps to go and we had marbles all over the tires. In that type situation, there's not much you can do. You want to say you'd be able to go race this guy and try to beat him. And I would have done that if he messed up; if he made a mistake, I would try to capitalize. But if everyone stays steady, we are just trying to hold on to the race car. It’s very difficult to do that at the end. When it's your weekend, it’s your weekend. (Graham) Rahal did a great job. It's a good bounce back for us at Team Penske in the Hum by Verizon Chevrolet. It's good to be in Detroit. Thanks to all the fans that came out and Chevrolet for all they do. It's fun to be in this city. I was trying to get Chevrolet that win but just didn't have enough today."

No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Helio Castroneves

Start: 4th
Finish: 9th
Status: Running
Laps Completed: 70/70
Laps Led:  0
Points Position: 2nd (-8)
Recap: Much like Saturday's race on Detroit’s Belle Isle, Helio Castroneves was looking for some good luck that never came. In the early laps of Sunday's Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, Castroneves tangled with Ryan Hunter-Reay that left the No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet with a flat left rear tire and a damaged rear wing which forced a pit stop on Lap 10 and a change in game plan. The unscheduled stop shuffled the veteran to the rear of the field, but was never able regain the lost track position. He was able to work his way to inside the top 10 for a ninth-place finish, but that was as good as it was going to get without the aid of another caution or two. The only caution of the day came on Lap 66 which was too late to make up any appreciable ground. The finish in ninth gives Castroneves a top-10 finish in each of the eight Verizon IndyCar Series races this season and his 11th straight top 10 dating back to last season. Castroneves was able to hold on to the second position in the championship standings and sits just eight points in back of the leader.

Quote: "The Hitachi Chevy was great again today. We had a little bit of bad luck there with Ryan (Hunter-Reay) and getting a tire cut down. It was early enough that I thought we might be able to overcome it but we didn't get a caution until the very end. I wish we could have done better with our finish but our car was strong. This Detroit event is both difficult and fun. The crowd was great on both days. The support this area gives to the Verizon IndyCar Series is awesome. Now, we'll head to Texas which is always a lot of fun, too."

No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Will Power

Start: 7th
Finish: 2nd
Status: Running
Laps Completed:  70/70
Laps Led:  0
Points Position: 8th (-70)
Recap: The two-stop strategy worked much better for Will Power in Sunday's Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear than it did in Saturday's Race 1 on Detroit's Belle Isle. On Saturday, Power had to save too much fuel for it to work, but Sunday’s race saw more teams employ the strategy that evened the field substantially. After starting seventh on the grid, Power worked his way to the third position in the first dozen laps. With the aid of a pair of solid stops on Laps 23 and 47, the Aussie driver was able to remain inside the top five throughout the day. The No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet team made very few changes to the car over the course of the three-day event that indicated how strong the car was. Power noted before the race that his car was plenty fast and that it was more about the driving details on the 2.35-mile street course. Power's season, to date, has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride with three podium efforts and five finishes outside the top 10. It was a win in this race a season ago that launched a streak of six consecutive top-two finishes to catapult the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion into the championship battle before coming up short to teammate Simon Pagenaud. Power moved from ninth to eighth in the championship standings as a result of the third-place showing and is 70 points off the pace, but is just 26 points out of fifth place.

Quote: "Yesterday was just unlucky when the yellow came. We kind of went halfway between a two-stop and a three-stop. We went longer than the three-stop guys. I was saving so much fuel yesterday that I was too slow. The guys did a great job with the strategy today. I'm very happy with third. Today was much more representative of the car we had this weekend. Thanks to the whole No. 12 team, Verizon and Chevrolet. We look forward to continuing the momentum next week at Texas."

Next Race: The Verizon IndyCar Series now heads to Texas Motor Speedway for its third oval race of the season. The Rainguard Water Sealers 600 coverage on NBC Sports Network is set to begin at 8:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 10. Tune into the INDYCAR Radio Network or log on to for additional coverage.