General

Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear

Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear

Wins by all three Team Penske drivers before the NTT INDYCAR SERIES reaches its season centerpiece.

Will Power pulls within a single win of Michael Andretti’s career mark of 42, which ranks fourth on the sport’s all-time list.

A rejuvenated Alexander Rossi.

Another Arrow McLaren SP driver on the rise.

A championship battle erupts.

These are some of the interesting items that come out of a highly competitive, certainly entertaining Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, the final event to be held at The Raceway on Belle Isle. The Detroit race will take place on the streets of downtown next year.

Let’s take a look at the highlights of the unpredictable Belle Isle weekend.

Strength adds strength to Team Penske

Scott McLaughlin won the season-opening NTT INDYCAR SERIES race in St. Petersburg, and Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden took McLaughlin’s final corner win at Texas Motor Speedway and won at Long Beach. Now Will Power has taken a win, making Roger Penske’s organization the first to have each of its drivers win a race this season – and we’re not even halfway through the season yet.

With a spectacular late ride at Firestone Firehawk on alternating red tires on Sunday, Power extended his run of consecutive seasons with at least one win to 16, just one short of the record of Scott Dixon, who hasn’t won a race yet this year. season. How impressive are these signs? Remember that no other driver in the history of the sport has won a race in more than 11 consecutive seasons. Newgarden has the second longest active streak at eight.

“I’m looking forward to some of these races coming up,” said Power, who won the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet driving. Doesn’t mean you’re going to have a good day, (but) I know all the songs. (I’m going to) do whatever work it takes to be competitive.”

Power hasn’t piled up race wins as quickly in recent years as he did earlier in his career, but he still has six in the past three years.

Dixon is in third place with 51, and Helio Castroneves is in joint 10th place with 31. For example, three of the greatest athletes will race this weekend in the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America, presented by AMR (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC, Peacock Premium and the INDYCAR Radio Network).

Rossi looks like his old self

Alexander Rossi (No.27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda of Andretti Autosport) was in a rut with race results and failing to win Sunday’s race extended his drought of wins to 44, easily the longest of his NTT INDYCAR SERIES career .

But anyone who saw Rossi dash through the field at Belle Isle recognized the feat, as it was the hallmark of the Californian’s first four seasons in the series (2016-19), when he won seven races. Rossi appeared to have the best car in qualifying, was Power’s match in the race and should be regarded as one of the favorites to win this weekend at Road America, where he last won, in 2019.

Rossi has finished in the top five in the past two races and climbs to seventh in the standings as he chases his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship in his final season with Andretti Autosport.

“Two weeks in a row we’ve had very good races and overall a good weekend,” he said. “That is the result of a lot of work by the entire organization.

“I think the 27 car has good momentum now on one of our best tracks, frankly, at Road America. We have a good feeling about the position we are in. We’ll just have to get out there and that continue in five or six days.”

Rossi finished on the podium twice at Road America and added a third place finish in Race 2 of 2020 to his race win in 2019.

Arrow McLaren SP on a roll

The organization that Rossi will join in the 2023 season is running quite nicely at the moment.

Pato O’Ward (No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet) and Felix Rosenqvist (No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet) have taken consecutive top-10 finishes, with O’Ward going to Road America in third in the standings, 12 points behind Power. Rosenqvist is ninth and has seventh in sight.

O’Ward followed Newgarden across the finish line on Sunday in what initially appeared to be the winning strategy. Instead, Newgarden finished fourth with O’Ward fifth, as the nearly green-to-checker race was different from last year’s race. O’Ward’s result came a week after he finished second in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.

“We almost did the best we could (Sunday) with our strategy,” O’Ward said. “We were the best car on the red in the first stint, (and) we were really strong at the end of it. This allowed us to pass a lot of cars at the end of that stint.

“I am very happy with the solid points we have. I think we’ve maximized and we’re going into Road America with a good position in the championship.”

O’Ward finished second after starting from pole in 2020 Race 2 at the 14-turn, 4.048-mile permanent road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

A penalty for meddling in qualifying forced Rosenqvist to start 25th in Detroit, but he rode through the field on Sunday and finished 10th. Combine that with a fourth-place finish at Indy, and the Swede is poised for a spot next season.

Series Continues Competitive Balance

Power regained the lead in series points, meaning the top of the standings changed for the fifth consecutive race this season. Entering Detroit, Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson (Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda No. 8) held it in his hands, and before that, Power was at the top.

Fifty-four points are available at each of the standard points-paying races, and six drivers fall within that margin. Behind Power are Ericsson (-3), O’Ward (-12), Alex Palou (-14), Newgarden (-43) and Dixon (-53). Note that four of those are past champions and three have won the “500”. In other words, this group represents some of the best the NTT INDYCAR SERIES has to offer.

The different strategies in play on Sunday made for an exciting race. There were a track record of 280 in total on the track, 148 of which were for position. Fifty-nine passes were in the top 10, with 23 in the top five.

“(Those are) big numbers for a street course,” said INDYCAR president Jay Frye.

The previous record for total track passes at the Belle Isle circuit was 222 (2021 race 1).

Next: Road America

Presented by AMR, the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America represents the eighth of 17 races on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule.

Alex Palou (No. 10 NTT DATA Honda of Chip Ganassi Racing) won last year, but Power (2016), Dixon (2017, 2020 Race 1), Newgarden (2018), Rossi (2019) and Rosenqvist (2020 Race 2) have won races since the series resumed events in 2016. Newgarden is a three-time NTT P1 Award winner there.

The first NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice of the weekend is Friday at 4:45 PM (ET). The Saturday action kicks off with practice at 10:55 a.m. (ET). Qualification for the NTT P1 Award is at 2pm (ET) with final practice at 5:35pm (ET). The 55-lap race is Sunday at 12:30 p.m. (ET) on NBC, Peacock Premium and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires opens the weekend with Friday practice at 3:05 p.m. (ET). Saturday’s schedule has practice at 9:45 a.m. (ET) and qualifying at 1:10 p.m. The 20-lap race is Sunday at 10:40 a.m. (ET).

All NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Indy Lights action will be available on Peacock Premium, NBC’s streaming service.

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