By: Spencer Neff
January 31, 2019 | 6:30 AM
Welcome to the latest edition of IndyCar Flashback.
In this week’s edition, we’ll take a closer look at the first race of the 2013 Chevrolet Dual in Detroit.
A week after the most competitive Indianapolis 500 in history, the Izod IndyCar Series headed to the street circuit on Belle Isle. This race would also have several historic claims of its own.
Interestingly enough, the driver who garnered the majority of the headlines this weekend was overseas just one week before the race.
Conway Earns Dominant Victory in First Dual
Belle Isle would mark the first of three new “doubleheader” weekends scheduled for 2013. Prior to the race, most of the headlines were centered around the previous week’s Indianapolis 500.
The 97th edition of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing had been one of its best. Records were shattered with 68 lead changes among 14 drivers.
In the end, KV Racing’s Tony Kanaan earned a long-awaited victory in his 12th 500 start. Kanaan finished the race at a record average speed of 187.433 MPH.
Kanaan would not have much time to celebrate his victory. Five days later, teams headed north to Belle Isle. On Friday, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dario Franchitti earned his second pole of 2013.
Due to an engine change, Franchitti’s spot on the grid would be moved to 11th. As a result, Andretti Autosport’s E.J. Viso started up front for the first time in his career.
On the start, Viso would be quickly overtaken by Dale Coyne Racing’s Mike Conway. Conway, who made his only previous 2013 start at Long Beach, received a call earlier that week to drive for Coyne.
Carnage broke out on the first lap. Team Penske’s A.J. Allmendinger collided with defending race winner Scott Dixon.
The ensuing contact sent Allmendinger airborne and into the Turn 4 barrier. He jammed his thumb, but was later released from the infield care center and drove the next day.
After an impressive run the week before at Indianapolis, Allmendinger’s day ended before it truly began. Dixon continued on after repairs to his rear wing.
Following the Lap 5 restart, Conway continued to lead, his first time doing so since the 2011 Edmonton race.
Conway stayed up front through the first round of pit stops on Lap 24. From there, 2012 series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay took the lead. Soon after, trouble began to hit for a few drivers.
BHA/Curb-Agajanian’s Alex Tagliani went off track in Turn 3. Seconds later, A.J. Foyt Racing’s Takuma Sato would run out of fuel just feet from Tagliani.
Sato would receive a push back to the pits after bringing out the second caution of the day on Lap 25.
Just four laps into the restart, Dragon Racing’s Sebastian Saavedra made contact with the tire barrier in Turn 6. Saavedra’s incident brought out the caution flag for the third time in the day.
Hunter-Reay continued to lead, but his time at the front ended shortly after the restart. Conway dove to the inside of Hunter-Reay to take the top spot on Lap 44.
After working his way through the field, Conway’s teammate joined him up front.
After starting 16th, 2008 race winner Justin Wilson inherited the lead on Lap 53. When pit stops cycled through, Conway took the lead for good.
The Englishman drove away to win by 12.971 seconds over Hunter-Reay for his second career win (first since Long Beach in 2011).
Wilson would round out the podium, giving Dale Coyne Racing multiple drivers accomplishing the feat (and in the Top Five) for the first time.
Following his Lap 1 contact, Dixon rebounded to finish fourth. Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves finished fifth. Castroneves’ effort, combined with Marco Andretti’s issues, gave him the points lead.
Conway started on pole for the following day’s race and finished third after leading 31 laps.
He would compete in the other 2013 doubleheader weekends at Toronto and Houston for Dale Coyne Racing. He would earn three top tens in the next four races despite starting outside the Top 10 in each race.
2014 would be Conway’s last season contesting IndyCar races.
Running road and street course races for Ed Carpenter Racing, he scored victories at Long Beach and Toronto (the latter being race #2 of a doubleheader weekend.
Since then, Conway has been a mainstay in sports cars, including eight FIA World Endurance Championship race wins.
Dale Coyne Racing continued their success in doubleheaders the following year. Rookie Carlos Huertas used fuel strategy to record his lone career win at Race 1 of the Houston dobleheader.
Castroneves won the following weekend at Texas Motor Speedway and led the points standings most of the season. However, it would be Dixon winning four of the final nine races (including a sweep of the Toronto events) en route to his third IndyCar title title.
The Raceway at Belle Isle has become an integral part of the NTT IndyCar Series schedule. Races like the 2013 Dual #1 have helped shape the track’s legacy.
Header Image By John Cote/INDYCAR Media