Team Penske had a tough home race in the opening Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Race 1 presented by Lear on Belle Isle, the outfit’s home race, owned and operated by Roger Penske.
Reigning series champion Simon Pagenaud in the No.1 DXC Technology Chevrolet started the race from 7th place and finished the event in 16th place and speaking afterwards he said:
That was a frustrating race for the DXC Technology Chevy team. That’s not the way we wanted to debut this beautiful car. I’m not sure how we actually ended up finishing 16th. There were just so many different pit strategies out there today. That caution also bit us at the wrong time. I hate to drop down in the points, but we have another race tomorrow. This is a strong team and we will rebound.
Josef Newgarden in the No.2 Hum by Verizon Chevrolet started the race from ninth place on the grid and finished the race in fourth place and was the fastest Chevrolet powered car in the company’s back yard.
The Chevrolet HQ in Downtown Detroit which overlooked the circuit on Belle Isle. Speaking following the race, Newgarden commented by saying:
It was a pretty good day for us – pretty good points. We obviously want a little bit more and I think we had more in the hum by Verizon Chevy. Fourth (place) is what we could get with the yellows and the way they played out today, but it’s still a great run for us. It’s a good top five – I wish we could have raced for the win a little bit better but we needed the race to play out differently. We didn’t need that yellow – that caught us out. But a good day overall, we’ll try to go for another good result and maybe a win.
Helio Castroneves had a tough start to the day in the No.3 Hitachi Chevrolet as he thought he had claimed the Verizon P1 Award for race 1 but had his fastest time deleted and as a result he started the race from second place alongside pole sitter Graham Rahal.
Castroneves ended the race in seventh place and as a result he has lost the series points to Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon.
Speaking following the race, the Brazilian commented by saying:
That was really fun. The cautions didn’t work out for us. I didn’t save an ounce of fuel. The Hitachi Chevy was super fast. It’s just unfortunate that we couldn’t get to the front. It’s pretty difficult to pass, so you need a few things to go your way and they didn’t. I drove the heck out of that car today. The fun part is we get to go right back out there tomorrow.
Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet who took victory here last year had a disappointing race on Saturday. The Australian finished the race one lap down on race winner Graham Rahal having started the race from 11th place and ended the event in 18th place.
Speaking following the race, Power commented by saying:
We needed a few things to go our way today and they didn’t. The Verizon Chevy team has worked hard. My hat is off the Graham (Rahal). They had a great car today. We were really needing a caution on those last two stints. We had to save so much fuel and go really slow in a really fast race car. The bright side is that we get right back at it tomorrow.