Detroit is a special place for The Captain, Roger Penske. The Dual in Detroit got off to a great start for him on Saturday, as his drivers delivered. Helio Castroneves won the Pole for Race 1, and Will Power won the race. Power managed to hold of a surprising hard charge from Graham Rahal. Tony Kanaan, another driver that desperately needed a great finish, joined Will and Graham on the podium.
After winning the pole earlier in the day, Castroneves managed to lead a race-high 30 laps in route to a fifth place finish. Justin Wilson finished just ahead of him in fourth, his best finish of the year. While Power struggled in qualifying (started 16th), he made up for it in the race, leading a total of 21 laps on his way to victory on Saturday.
This is Power’s 23rd career IndyCar win, which ties him with Tommy Milton for 18th on the all-time list. More importantly, the win (coupled with Ryan Hunter-Reay’s misfortune) propelled the Aussie to within three points of the championship lead.
A restart with 10 laps to go featured a fantastic battle between Power and Rahal, which went all the way down to the last turn. It was exactly what the doctor ordered for Graham, who has had nothing but bad luck all season long.
There were a few notable drivers that had a rough day. Simon Pagenaud worked his way up to the front before a scuffle with Power (of all people) put him in the wall, ending his day. Last year’s winner, Mike Conway, had under steer problems, which put him into the wall. Jack Hawksworth had an impressive drive going, running in second position when his left front brake rotor exploded. Hunter-Reay was running well until he over drove his DHL machine on the final lap, crashing into the tire barrier. The Indy 500 champ finished 16th.
Tomorrow is the second race of the Dual in Detroit, with the schedule very similar to today’s. Qualifying will start at 10 AM, and the race will begin on ABC at 3:30 PM.