Ryan Hunter-Reay turned a three-stop strategy into a winning one with incredible pace in the second race of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit weekend at the Raceway at Belle Park to earn his 17th career Indy car victory.
Hunter-Reay started in the 10th position and executed a flawless strategy that set up a late-race dual between his No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda and Alexander Rossi’s Ruoff Mortgage-sponsored car.
Despite being on a different strategy than the rest of the top five, Hunter-Reay ran near the front of the field for much of the race, leading 18 of 70 laps. He was in sixth at the halfway point and in the lead 15 laps later on Lap 50.
On his third pit stop, Hunter-Reay’s crew executed a 6.3-second pit stop to put him behind race leader Rossi who was on a two-stop strategy. With 15 laps to go, he trailed Rossi by 7.9 seconds and five laps later, the gap was down to two seconds.
On Laps 63 and 64, Rossi locked up his tires when braking into the 90-degree Turn 3. The second time, facing increasing pressure from Hunter-Reay, Rossi failed to slow down in time for the corner and found himself in the runoff area, fumbling with his steering wheel before eventually returning to the track in sixth.
Things went from bad to worse for Rossi as his right-front tire tore apart soon after his return to the course. Having entered the day as the championship leader, Rossi finished 12th and is now third in the points, 11 back from leader Will Power.
Hunter-Reay went on to cross the finish line 11.3549 seconds ahead of Team Penske’s Power to win for his first time since at Pocono Raceway in 2015. The victory for Hunter-Reay’s team marked its third win at Belle Isle. Its previous wins were in 2007 with Tony Kanaan and 2015 with Carlos Munoz.
Power’s second-place finish was 1.8742 seconds ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ed Jones, who earned his best result in four starts at Belle Isle and tied his career best finish.
Race 1 winner Scott Dixon started fifth and finished fourth in his No. 9 Honda while Graham Rahal completed the top five for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
Robert Wickens, Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, Marco Andreti and Simon Pagenaud rounded out the top 10. Notably, Kanaan improved the most positions after starting 22nd.
The race tied the record for fewest cautions at Belle Isle. The yellow flag flew only once during the race — on Lap 1 when Spencer Pigot spun at the exit of Turn 5.
Next up for the Verizon IndyCar Series is a superspeedway race under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway. The DXC Technology 600 will air on NBCSN at 8 p.m. EDT on June 9.