Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix

The goal of “Instant Recall” is to remember the exciting aspects of a race weekend. Here’s the thing: How does all of Sunday’s action in the Chevrolet Grand Prix of Detroit presented by Lear fit in one story?

From the time the 27-car field went on track Friday to the waving of the checkered flags Sunday, it was non-stop intrigue.

We will remember Santino Ferrucci’s tiff in practice with Kyle Kirkwood, which carried over to Colton Herta. Then Romain Grosjean took issue with Ferrucci. In qualifying, there was Herta’s blistering lap that bettered the track record by 1.3 seconds that was part of earning the 12th NTT P1 Award of his career. Then in the race, well, there was a lot to consume and digest.

The bottom line is, we’ll take a shot at recalling everything that made this a must-rewind event.

It Starts with Dixon

How does this legend keep pulling race wins out of the fuel hat? Six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Scott Dixon, who now has the points lead in pursuit of a record-tying seventh season title, went the final 44 laps on a tank of gas, surprising the field with his massive saving as he did in April to win the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Of course, Dixon was fortunate the race ended when it did as Andretti Global’s Marcus Ericsson was gaining quickly on him and might have passed for the lead had the race stayed green another lap. But it didn’t, and Dixon scored the 58th victory of his career.

Dixon is now just nine wins from A.J. Foyt’s all-time record that once seemed unbeatable. Now it seems a matter of time before Dixon, who turns 44 next month, draws even. Dixon also became the first two-time winner of the season and carries an 18-point lead over teammate Alex Palou to Sunday’s XPEL Grand Prix at Road America presented by AMR (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC, Peacock, INDYCAR Radio Network).

Two Drivers Named Marcus

Ericsson and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Armstrong delivered notable podium performances Sunday, and in both cases, it was a needed rebound from last month’s Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.

Ericsson had finished last in the “500” due to being collected in rookie Tom Blomqvist’s spin, dropping his average finish over the first five points-paying races to 19.0. His only other respectable finish this year was a fifth at Long Beach, and the runner-up finish Sunday at Detroit was the first time he has finished on the podium since being passed by Josef Newgarden on the last lap at Indy in 2023. The Swede is still 14th in the standings, but this was a five-position gain in points.

The 18th series race of Armstrong’s career produced his best result. Armstrong, who had mechanical failure on Lap 6 of the “500,” valiantly held off Kirkwood in the late going and nearly kept Ericsson at bay.

Still, it was further proof that he’s on the right track in just his second season. He has three top-10 finishes in the season’s first six races, including a fifth-place finish in the Sonsio Grand Prix, the road race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Rain

For the second consecutive race, weather was a big story. But rather than delaying the start as occurred in the “500,” these wet conditions came mid-race and dramatically shuffled the order.

Sprinkles became heavier on Lap 36, leading seven drivers to come to pit road for grooved tires. With the track getting wetter and slicker by the second, eight more drivers came for a tire changeout the next lap.

The race was still under caution on Lap 42 when the aforementioned drivers and their teams acknowledged a drying track and returned to pit road to get slicks back on their cars.

Among those who stayed out of the tire drama and improved their positions were Kirkwood, Dixon and Ericsson, and it’s not a coincidence they finished the race in three of the top four spots. Like Ericsson, Kirkwood’s fourth-place finish earned him his best result of the season.

The Hot Corners

Detroit’s nine-turn, 1.645-mile downtown street circuit has trouble lurking at virtually every corner, and the drivers found a lot of it Sunday.

There were eight cautions involving 22 cars, although four of those cars were in two incidents each. Turn 3 saw the most contact, with seven cars stopped in the first pass through the hairpin. Team Penske’s Will Power was at the center of two moments there; the other involved Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay.

Rookie Linus Lundqvist of Chip Ganassi Racing, Scott McLaughlin of Team Penske and Tristan Vautier of Dale Coyne Racing also were listed in multiple caution periods.

The most surprising of the incidents was Herta driving into the Turn 5 run-off area while trying to pass Palou on the inside on Lap 46. Fortunately, Vautier gave Herta room or there would have been contact. Because Herta needed help from the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team to get going again, he lost and a lap to the leaders and finished 19th.

On Lap 70, Palou had contact with Newgarden in Turn 3. Palou’s 16th-place finish ended his streak of 23 points-paying races with finishes of eighth or better dating back to the penultimate race of the 2022 season.

The Ramifications

The fallout for all the cautions was a season-high 12 penalties, including four issued to Power. Still, Power posted a sixth-place finish to remain third in the standings, 31 points behind Dixon.

Newgarden had one of the penalties – he hit pit equipment during a late stop. It was just one of the many challenges the “500” winner incurred, leading to a 26th-place finish.

Newgarden’s difficulties continued a trend among recent “500” winners. Juan Pablo Montoya remains the last Indy winner to capture the ensuing event. That was 24 years ago.

The good news for Newgarden: He has won a pair of races at Road America, where practice begins Friday at 4 p.m. ET (Peacock, INDYCAR Radio Network). The show goes on.