By: Spencer Neff
June 2, 2019 | 5:59 PM
The two races at the 2019 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix had results at each end of the spectrum for defending NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon. On Saturday, he crashed out on Lap 24 and was not running at the finish for the first time since 2017 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Today, he shook off the disappointment of the previous day. In a dominating performance, Dixon started sixth and led 44 laps to record his third win at Belle Isle.
In the process, Dixon ties Helio Castroneves for most career victories at the 2.35-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit. With his 45th career win and first of 2019, he extends his record to 15 straight seasons with a victory.
Finishing in second place, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports rookie Marcus Ericsson recorded his first career podium. Previously, Ericsson’s best IndyCar result was a seventh-place at Barber Motorsports Park on April 7.
After a disappointing stretch, Team Penske’s Will Power finished third for his first podium since the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Rounding out the Top Five are the Andretti Autosport teammates, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi.
Although this race was not affected by weather, things did get off to a rocky Start. In Turn 3 on the opening lap, Carlin Racing rookie Pato O’Ward spun and collected Tony Kanaan and Simon Pagenaud. Although O’Ward continued on, the contact brought Kanaan’s day to an early end, his first DNF at Belle Isle.
Plagued by a gear sensor issue, Pagenaud and his No. 22 crew went to work to get the Indianapolis 500 winner back on track. During the caution, Pagenaud’s teammate Power was hampered by the same issue but was able to refire and continue on.
Also involved in the multi-car contact were Will Power, Felix Rosenqvist, Matheus Leist and Marco Andretti. Leading the six drivers who opted not to pit under the yellow flag, Scott Dixon pulled away on the Lap 8 restart.
Shortly after Dale Coyne Racing’s Santino Ferrucci took the lead on Lap 15, the yellow was out again.
While trying to enter pit road, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot collided with Sebastien Bourdais, sending the latter airborne. The two-time Detroit Grand Prix winner continued on despite major damage to his Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan entry.
Following the Lap 21 restart, Ferrucci and Rahal continued to lead despite being the only drivers yet to stop.
With the alternate Firestone tires suffering from severe wear, pit strategies varied throughout the field, After pitting on Lap 33, James Hinchcliffe appeared to be in a prime spot for the second half of the race.
However, he got back on track just as front row starters Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi were going by. In Turn 3, the drivers made contact and spun.
With damage to the cars of Newgarden and Hinchcliffe, the points leader and winner from a day earlier was knocked out of contention. Meanwhile, Hinchcliffe lost a lap but would continue on.
After the restart on Lap 40, Dixon once again took command of the race after Ferrucci pitted during the yellow.
By Lap 45, he would pit from the lead. A lap later, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Marcus Ericsson followed suit, as the rookie was beaten to the blend line by Dixon on his out lap.
On Lap 55, Hinchcliffe’s car stalled in Turn 6 and prompted another yellow flag. Shortly after, Newgarden was back out on track – albeit 22 laps down.
When the race went back to green on Lap 61, Dixon began to pull away from Ericsson. On Lap 65, his teammate’s frustrating rookie season continued as Felix Rosenqvist spun into the Turn 2 wall.
Even with a 16th-place finish, Rosenqvist hangs onto a two-point advantage over Ferrucci in the rookie standings, as he runs 11th overall.
After a brief red flag, a three-lap shootout was set up.
Once the green flag waved for the final time, Dixon pulled away to beat Ericsson by 1.9419 seconds. With his series-record win streak extended to 15 seasons, Dixon will now shift his focus to defending his win at Texas Motor Speedway from last year.
Despite a 19th-place finish, Newgarden holds a 15-point advantage over Rossi. With Pagenaud ending the afternoon in 18th, Rossi leapfrogged the Indianapolis 500 winner for second in the standings.
A busy stretch for the NTT IndyCar Series concludes with Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.
On-track activity will begin on Thursday, June 6 with a two-hour practice on the 1.5-mile oval. This session starts at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, with coverage on NBC Sports Gold.
Saturday night’s race will feature a half-hour pre-race show on NBCSN set to begin at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, leading into the race broadcast at 8:30 p.m.
For Saturday night’s 248-lap race, the green flag is scheduled for 8:45 p.m. Eastern (7:45 p.m. track time).
During each on-track session, join us on Twitter as well. We will be online during the day with insight on all the latest developments.
Header image by Chris Owens/INDYCAR.