DETROIT — The NTT IndyCar Series returned to the streets of Detroit for the first time in decades on Sunday with a brand new street circuit that Alex Palou was the first to conquer.
Palou outlasted a late persistent charge by Will Power throughout the majority of the race to gather his second win of the season and the sixth win of his career.
The brand new race, replacing Belle Isle on the IndyCar calendar, saw drivers navigate 100 laps around the streets of downtown Detroit with Palou leading 74 of them from the pole.
It was not the best of beginnings to the race with the first start of the race having to be waived off after the first attempt. But once the race got going, Palou was the one to dictate the pace the whole way.
“It was a busy race honestly. We had a really fast car,” Palou said. “Yeah, we were really good on the first stint. I think we did the right strategy of just pushing. We knew the tire deg was going to be high.”
Including the waived-off start, there were seven caution periods. The majority of the cautions came in the back half of the race, but the first was on the second lap of the race with Callum Ilott running up on the back of Kyle Kirkwood lifting his front tires off the ground terminally damaging his car.
Amazingly, Kirkwood would overcome needing a rear wing change by finishing 6th.
Palou maintained the lead as Pato O’Ward ended up going a lap down due to a bad pitstop. As O’Ward was pushing through Lap 43 he tapped the outside wall trying to make up lost ground and ended his day.
Will Power would get the lead on the restart after a caution involving Sting Ray Robb on Lap 56. But Palou eventually overtook Power again and would lead for the rest of the race.
“I think we got a gap that gave us the opportunity to fight with Will,” Palou said. “He did a tremendous job. At the end it was too busy for me. I wanted to be more calm end of the race.”
The closing were anything but, as and incident between Santino Ferrucci and Sting Ray Robb brought out the final caution of the day with just a few laps left. Getting the restart with 5 laps to go Palou got a stiff charge by Power, but he would end up rolling over Scott Dixon’s front tires into Turn 1 ruining his run.
Still, Power battled back to a second-place finish as Palou took the checkered flag.
Despite coming up short of the win, Power said he is pleased with how the day ended up.
“Yeah, very satisfied. Good strategy. Man, you’re never looking back on seconds as a bad day,” Power said. “Although the guy I was needing to close points to was the guy that won. We limited the damage.”
With the win, Palou now has a healthy 51-point lead over Marcus Ericsson in the point standings. Ericsson ended up finishing 9th.
The series had a couple of weeks off now before taking on Road America on June 18th.
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