DETROIT——Street races in the NTT IndyCar Series are known for aggressive moves, accidents and new faces in new places. Sunday’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Duel 2 didn’t disappoint in that regard.
For A.J. Foyt’s team though, the race ended before it barely began.
After the morning qualifying session, Tony Kanaan emerged with renewed hope for the race because of a change made midway through the session that saw his No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet gain seven-tenths of a second.
Unfortunately, the second race of the doubleheader weekend on Belle Isle was barely underway when a multi-car crash triggered by rookie Pato O’Ward’s spin in Turn 3 collected Kanaan and damaged his car beyond repair to rejoin the race. He placed 22nd.
Kanaan rolls off in 18th position before the start of the race.
“It’s too bad we got caught up in that first lap accident. I had nowhere to go, got collected, and hit other people. I couldn’t avoid it,” said Kanaan, who started 18th. “It’s too bad. It’s the price you pay sometimes when you start in the back. Now it’s on to Texas.”
Kanaan’s teammate Matheus Leist, who started 21st, didn’t get through unscathed either. He sustained damage to the nose assembly on the No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet. When he pitted during the ensuing caution, the team didn’t notice the damage at first and just changed from Firestone’s red alternate tires to the black primary tires but Leist reported the car was not right.
Leist pitted again and the team changed out the nose assembly which had a hole in the bottom of the main plane. The new nose did not fix the problem so the team brought him back to the pits after several laps. After looking over everything and consulting with Leist, they decided to take the car back to the paddock. While the cause is still under analysis, preliminary assessments point toward a problem with the steering assembly which may have been damaged in the initial hit.
“We had a problem with the car since the beginning and we don’t know what it is,” said Leist, who placed 20th. “We have to look at the data and see. It’s a shame for the team and myself. Look forward to Texas.”
The 14 crew (R to L): Kanaan, Tomi Takase, Warren Wilson, Kyle Sagan, Todd DeNeve, Shelby Tracey and Vince Bass (not pictured).
One bright note from the weekend was notification that Kanaan’s crew qualified for the 2020 Pit Stop Competition held at Indianapolis because they had the fastest pit stop in yesterday’s race.
Scott Dixon won the 70-lap race which was slowed by five cautions for 23 laps -- and a red flag with five laps to go. He was followed by rookie Marcus Ericsson for his first podium finish, Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi.
Detroit is the only race where the over-the-wall crew is introduced during driver introductions. The 4 crew (R to L): Leist, Thomas Semik II, Eric Prentice, Phil Long, Andrew Copeland, Pat Jordan and Marty Armstrong (not pictured).
The teams head to Texas Motor Speedway for the first Saturday night race of the season next weekend. The DXC Technology 600 will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network starting at 8 PM ET.