Bourdais Wins Race #1 at Dual in Detroit

Photo Credit: indycar.com

KV Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais, who won Race #2 in last year’s Dual in Detroit, has taken the checkered flag for the 1st of 2 races this weekend at the Dual in Detroit around the 14-turn 2.36-mile street circuit around Belle Isle Park in Detroit, Michigan in his No. 11 Chevrolet-powered race car after starting in 13th. He becomes the 5th different winner in 7 Verizon IndyCar Series races so far this season. It is Bourdais’ 35th career victory, which tied him with Bobby Unser for the 6th highest win total of all time.

Rookie Conor Daly was the highest finishing driver of a Honda-powered car in 2nd place, which is the best finish of his career. He finished 2.04 seconds behind Bourdais. Juan Pablo Montoya, Graham Rahal, and Helio Castroneves rounded out the top 5. The drivers of the Honda-powered cars, after struggling mightily on many of the previous road and street courses this season, took 4 of the top 7 and 7 of the top 12 finishing spots in today’s race despite not getting the victory. Drivers of the Honda-powered cars continue to race faster than they qualify, which has been a theme over the past couple of seasons.

Verizon IndyCar Series championship leader Simon Pagenaud finished in 13th after starting on pole and leading the most laps with 35 out of 70. He slowed down and had to save fuel towards the end of the race and, as a result, fell back to 13th. Scott Dixon, who was in 2nd in the championship coming into the race, and Will Power, 2 drivers who led laps in today’s race, finished in 19th and 20th, respectively, after each having their own electrical and mechanical issues with their cars late in the race.  Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi finished in 10th place, which is tied for his 2nd-best career finish. It is his 3rd consecutive top 10 finish this season. You can see the full results at IndyCar.com.

The race had a total of 8 lead changes among 6 different leaders and 2 caution flag periods. The 1st caution flag came out when Max Chilton hit the wall on lap 10, and the 2nd caution flag came out when James Hinchcliffe hit a tire barrier on lap 42.

Rain, although there were some sprinkles throughout the race, never really became a factor in which tires teams chose for their drivers. Last year, the outcomes of both Dual in Detroit races was affected by the rain and tire strategy. This year, the race was won with pit strategy, as both Bourdais and Daly went to the front of the field after staying out on the track during a pit cycle where the majority of the field came in, which allowed them to pit later in the stint and take just a splash of fuel to make it to the end of the race rather than a full tank, which allowed them to save valuable time in the pits. This allowed them both to stay out front even after pitting and finish in 1st and 2nd places.

Race ranking out of races I’ve watched: 46/99

-Asher Fair