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Race Report: Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, Duel 1

DETROIT—The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix is the only doubleheader in the NTT IndyCar Series. The dual duels in Detroit can put a strain on the drivers and crews because it is both physically and mentally demanding. The bumpy street course is defined by concrete barriers and a wheel put wrong usually ends with a car in a tire barrier. That can mean long hours into the night for the crews.

The nice thing about doubleheaders is that if you didn’t like your race on Saturday, you only have to wait 24 hours to try again on Sunday.

Weather delayed the start of Saturday’s race.

Postponed for over an hour, the race did get underway late enough that it was declared a timed race – 75 minutes long which turned into a 43-lap race. Due to the wet track conditions, the cars started in a single file but still two cars had spun in the opening stages—one car spun before the green had dropped.

The rain stopped and the track’s racing groove quickly began to dry out. Soon after, drivers pitted to switch from the rain tires with tread patterns to the slicks.

While some opted for the softer red-rimmed alternate tires, both of the ABC Supply drivers took on black slicks when the second of four full course cautions slowed the race on lap 18 when Ed Jones hit the barrier in Turn 7.

Tony Kanaan, who started 21st in the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet, finished 15th. Despite being dissatisfied, he saw the positives in today’s effort.

“We got a good recovery,” said Kanaan. “We tried different things for qualifying to find the right way. The only way we’re going to be making improvements is trying and unfortunately qualifying didn’t go well. We had a pretty good race."

"I loved the pit stops, the guys did an awesome job," Kanaan continued. "We gained some spots there and I passed some cars on the race track, so we’re just going to keep going. It was a mistake-free race for me so I’ll take it.”

Matheus Leist is ready to put today’s Dual in Detroit behind him. Starting 20th, Leist spun on the opening lap and brushed the wall, necessitating a new nose assembly. He recovered from that miscue but on lap 29, he had a problem in Turn 7 and ended up in the tire barrier. That area of the track saw at least five other drivers use the run-off lane there or hit the wall. Leist drove back around to his pit but the team determined the car was too damaged to continue.

“Not the best day at the track today,” Leist said. “Unfortunately, we had a lot of problems and we didn’t have the pace. I feel sorry for the team but we’ll work on it for tomorrow and try to have a better day.”

Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi put on an exciting duel to the finish with Newgarden taking the top honors as well as the point lead. Second through fifth were Rossi, Takuma Sato, Felix Rosenqvist and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Qualifying for tomorrow’s race takes place at 10:45 AM with the race set to start at 3:50 PM. The race will be broadcast on NBC starting at 3 PM.

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