Ryan Hunter-Reay ruined what looked like a perfect plan coming together for Andretti Autosport teammate Alexander Rossi on Sunday at Belle Isle Park, closing a seven-second gap in the final 17 laps and benefitting from Rossi’s mistake with seven laps left to win Race 2 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear on Sunday.
Rossi, seemingly ready to close out a win on a well-orchestrated two-stop strategy, locked his tires and slid into the Turn 3 runoff on Lap 64 of 70, allowing Hunter-Reay to finally pounce and win for the 17th time in his Indy car career and first since 2015 at Pocono Raceway. Hunter-Reay seemed destined for second place on his three-stop plan, but after pitting for the final time on Lap 52, began stacking blistering laps together. A 6.3-second pit stop helped his cause.
CHEVROLET DETROIT GRAND PRIX PRESENTED BY LEAR: Race 2 official results
“After I took that second set of blacks, the Firestone primary tires, I started to get in sync with the car and the balance started coming to me,” said Hunter-Reay, driver of the No. 28 DHL Honda. “I was really worried in the beginning because we were really loose, and then as I got into a rhythm, the car was doing everything I needed it to. Everything.
“When we started that last stint, Rossi was more than a straightaway ahead of us. I couldn’t even see him. I just put my head down and this thing was flying. That was going to be a heck of a fight at the end, but good thing we pressured him into it and we’re here in victory lane. It’s awesome – this car deserves to be where it is right now.”
Rossi, who had won the race after collecting his two previous Verizon IndyCar Series poles, locked up his tires on two occasions trying to hold off Hunter-Reay. On the second occasion, it shredded the tread on his left front tire and sent him into the runoff area. Rossi, who led a race-high 46 laps, slowly maneuvered the car back to pit lane for fresh tires and finished 12th in the No. 27 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda.
Team Penske’s Will Power finished second in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, 11.3549 seconds behind Hunter-Reay, followed by Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Ed Jones and Scott Dixon. Dixon won Race 1 on Saturday, his 42nd career win that tied Michael Andretti for third on the all-time Indy car list.
Graham Rahal finished fifth for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Robert Wickens sixth for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, giving Honda five of the top six finishers a day after it swept the first six spots.
The Verizon IndyCar Series is back in action on Saturday, June 9 at Texas Motor Speedway with the DXC Technology 600 on the 1.5-mile oval. The race airs at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.