Battle of Belle Isle - in Double Vision

Battle of Belle Isle - in Double Vision

Postby meteorite » Sat May 30, 2015 11:43 pm

It seems when the action dulls down in any major race, the media commentators turn to talking about strategy. Tire strategy. Pit stop strategy. Fuel strategy. Pacing strategy. Team strategy. And more and more till our eyes glaze over.

Then suddenly the great gurus of the pits get it awfully, terribly wrong. As happened last weekend at Monaco, when the tall foreheads in the pits decreed a move for Lewis Hamilton that ended up denying him the victory he was holding in his grasp, and promoting Sebastian Vettel to a second place he had no hope of attaining otherwise. There have been no few awful. appalling strategic disasters in race but taht was a real beaut.

Then there was today, Saturday. when three generations of Italians from the steel towns of Pennsylvania and their raw recruit from the turmoil of Columbia strategized together to snatch a much-hyped race for overmatched Honda away from Chevrolet in the very shadow of General Motors main office tower, gaining a needed victory for their car supplier, Honda, just when it was needed most.

The official race report from Indycar |(which follows below) sketches out the main scene. And honesty demands the admission that a lot of luck was needed too. But the race was run in intermittent rain which made many pace car laps inevitable. It also meant full wet tires would be needed early on, but regular slick tires would be needed when the track dried. Anyone who dared too early would slide into the wall. Anyone who left it too late would incur a performance handicap that would ruin his chances.

Marco Andretti had his father Michael as his pit boss, and his grandfather Mario coaching the team. Marco was very daring, he was first to take on dry tires and use them successfully (one before tried it and ended in the wall). As the track dried his decision was justified; he worked his way up to the lead and pulled away at a shattering rate of speed. Andretti teammate, the Columbian rookie Carlos Munoz, deferred his decision for a coiple of laps but quickly changed and raced to the front behind Marco. The other teams were slower to make the decision and some who left it late lost ground very badly.

The result: Marco eventually had to pit for fuel as he ran low. But he had such a lead from his tire choice that he could get into his pit and out again before anyone else caught up - except Munoz who went by as Marco was leaving the pits. Then the rains came, requiring the pace car as multiple comings-together littered the track, and a red flag had to be thrown as a lightning alert was received.

So Munoz got his first Indycar race win, Marco got a good boost in the championship standings - and we'll see what happens in the reprise tomorrow.

Munoz Grabs First Win in Race 1 at Belle Isle

DETROIT (May 30, 2015) - Carlos Munoz earned his first career Verizon IndyCar Series victory as severe weather prompted a red flag with 47 of 70 scheduled laps in Race 1 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans on the 2.35-mile, 14-turn Raceway at Belle Isle Park.

Munoz, 23, joins Carlos Huertas and Josef Newgarden as Verizon IndyCar Series race winners born in the 1990s, and he joins Newgarden as a first-time winner this season. There have been six different winners in the seven races, and for the second consecutive race the winner is a native of Colombia. Juan Pablo Montoya won the 99th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 24.

Munoz, who started 20th in the AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda, picked up the lead on Lap 40 when Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti pitted for fuel and Firestone rain tires in anticipation of rain returning to the area. Munoz remained on track for an additional two laps, building a 26-second lead on Andretti, before also pitting for rain tires.

"I wanted to win 100 percent and with all the laps," said Munoz, who joined Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud as drivers who claimed their first Indy car victory at Belle Isle. "Racing is racing, which is what happened with the weather. It was a great call with the strategy and a great result for the team with a 1-2 (finish). I had the fuel to go laps longer. I wanted to get my first win by doing all the laps, but I'm really happy for my team."

Andretti led a field-high 23 laps in the No. 27 Merchant First/Snapple Honda and secured his first top-three finish since the Indianapolis 500 last May.

"(Strategy) started very early in the race. We were running eighth and we had a bunch of strong guys in the front so it seemed like a no-brainer (to pit for Firestone primary tires on Lap 9) as long as I could keep it off the fence, which we were able to do," Andretti said. "At the end I really didn't want to come in, but we needed to get some fuel, and I knew whoever stayed out would beat me. It was good for an Andretti Autosport 1-2."

It was the second victory of the season for Honda and its first 1-2 finish of the year.

Added team owner Michael Andretti, race strategist for the No. 27 entry: "In races like this, anything can happen and I felt very confident in our guys that they would get the job done."

Pagenaud picked up his first podium finish in the No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet. Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion and pole sitter Will Power placed fourth and Scott Dixon was fifth.

"Today was all about team effort and I can't thank the No. 22 crew enough for a good strategy and a great call at any time," Pagenaud said. "It was very dicey. We never knew when the rain was going to come. We could only look at the radar, but on the racetrack it wasn't raining when they called me in so we had a few communication exchanges. We stayed out a bit longer and then made the call at the perfect time to jump to third and then get a first podium with Team Penske. I'm over the moon right now."

Power is 11 points behind Team Penske teammate Montoya, who placed 10th, heading into the second scheduled 70-lap race on Belle Isle. Qualifications are at 11:25 a.m. (ET) May 31, with the race at 3:30 p.m.

Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans Race #1

DETROIT - Results Saturday of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans Race #1 Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.35-mile Raceway at Belle Isle Park, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (20) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 47, Running
2. (9) Marco Andretti, Honda, 47, Running
3. (5) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 47, Running
4. (1) Will Power, Chevrolet, 47, Running
5. (7) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 47, Running
6. (2) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 47, Running
7. (14) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 47, Running
8. (18) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 47, Running
9. (19) Luca Filippi, Chevrolet, 47, Contact
10. (3) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 46, Running
11. (4) Takuma Sato, Honda, 46, Running
12. (10) James Jakes, Honda, 46, Running
13. (16) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 46, Running
14. (6) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 46, Running
15. (8) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 46, Running
16. (12) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 46, Running
17. (11) Tristan Vautier, Honda, 46, Running
18. (23) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 46, Running
19. (21) Conor Daly, Honda, 46, Running
20. (15) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 33, Running
21. (22) Rodolfo Gonzalez, Honda, 25, Mechanical
22. (17) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 13, Contact
23. (13) Graham Rahal, Honda, 5, Contact

Race Statistics
Winner's average speed: 75.510 mph
Time of Race: 1:27:45.7906
Margin of victory: Under caution
Cautions: 6 for 18 laps
Lead changes: 5 among 4 drivers

Lap Leaders:
Power 1-2
Sato 3-14
Andretti 15 -33
Power 34 - 35
Andretti 36 - 39
Munoz 40 - 47

Verizon IndyCar Series point standings: Montoya 292, Power 281, Dixon 241, Castroneves 234, Rahal 211, Newgarden 197, Andretti 194, Pagenaud 177, Bourdais 177, Munoz 173.
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Re: Battle of Belle Isle - in Double Vision

Postby meteorite » Sun May 31, 2015 10:06 pm

Sea-bass is back - at last. Sebastian Bourdais, who left Indy racing when it was CART for a sojourn in Europe but has returned since it merged with the IRL to form Indycar has had difficulty recovering his old, championship form. He's been showing flashes but is not with a dominating team, has a new specification of racer to deal with, and the merged talents of two top series to contend with. He's had only limited success in climbing a hill that steep - but with the Sunday half of the Dual in Detroit scrambled a significant level higher.

The weather was in most ways a repeat of Saturday's with just enough variation to complicate strategies (as in drive crew chiefs nuts). Several drivers, mosgtly new to the series, hung it on the wall. especcially in the argy-bargy following restarts (yellows breed yellows). This is why the official Indycar report (which follows) sounds complicated - it was.

Bourdais Wins Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans Race 2

DETROIT (May 31, 2015) - Sebastien Bourdais held off Takuma Sato over the final three laps of Race 2 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans to collect his 33rd career Indy car victory. The race win made Bourdais the seventh different winner in eight Verizon IndyCar Series races this season and brought him to within one win of Al Unser Jr. for seventh on the all-time Indy car victory list.

The front runners were all low on fuel when a red flag was displayed on Lap 65 of the scheduled 70-lap race as the Holmatro Safety Team cleaned up debris from an incident involving Team Penske teammates Will Power and Helio Castroneves, who made contact in Turn 2 of the 14-turn, 2.35-mile street circuit on a restart.

INDYCAR called for a timed race, and Bourdais - whose No. 11 Team Mistic E-Cigs KVSH Racing Chevrolet likely wouldn't have had enough fuel to go the originally scheduled 70 laps - had just enough Sunoco E85 to run the final 2 minutes, 50 seconds in the race.

"It was just about as nerve-racking as it gets," Bourdais said. "When we elected to stay out (instead of pitting late for fuel) I was like, 'Oh, man, it's all or nothing.' All I could hope for was the same scenario as NOLA (with) complicated conditions and one yellow after another. It was the right call again today. The difference is we obviously deserved it because the boys worked really hard and we were on the pace, we passed a bunch of cars and made the moves when it mattered. We made it stick all the way to the end."

The four-time Indy car champion, who started ninth on entrant points after a downpour cancelled the late-morning qualifications, finished 1.7644 seconds ahead of Sato in the No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda.

Graham Rahal finished third in the No. 15 Steak 'n Shake Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing for his third podium in the last five races. Tristan Vautier gave Dale Coyne Racing its best finish this season in fourth after starting 23rd and Marco Andretti, runner-up in Race 1 on May 30, finished fifth in the No. 27 Merchant First/Snapple Honda for Andretti Autosport.

Conor Daly, substituting for the injured James Hinchcliffe in the No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, led 12 laps early and finished sixth.

Pole sitter Juan Pablo Montoya, who led a field-high 35 laps, slipped to 10th on the final lap as the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet ran out of fuel. The recently-crowned Indianapolis 500 winner still maintained the championship points lead (315-294 over Power) at the halfway point of the Verizon IndyCar Series season.

"We had a really good Verizon Chevy today. It was really good in the rain as we jumped out to a big lead. It looked to be a nice day for the team," Montoya said. "We gained points on Will with a 10th-place finish so it's not a terrible day."

Bourdais inherited the lead on Lap 51 when Daly pitted under caution for fuel and a change from rain tires to Firestone alternates, and was aided in fuel conservation by four yellow flags over the duration. Sato overtook Montoya on a Lap 65 restart before the yellow flag flew for the Castroneves-Power contact, which was instigated by Power's No. 1 Verizon Team Penske car being clipped from behind.

Sato, who started 15th, earned his first podium finish since Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2013.

"It was a long race, but it was a fantastic show," Sato said. "It was difficult to overtake today with the greasy conditions, but after we made a good call and the boys did a fantastic job with the pit stops. Every restart was very exciting, especially the last few. We needed a little bit more (for the win) but it was a great day for AJ Foyt Racing."

In Race 1, Carlos Munoz earned his first Verizon IndyCar Series victory. Simon Pagenaud clinched his first podium finish as a Team Penske driver.

Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans Race #2 Results

DETROIT - Results Sunday of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.35-mile Raceway at Belle Isle Park, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (9) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 68, Running
2. (15) Takuma Sato, Honda, 68, Running
3. (5) Graham Rahal, Honda, 68, Running
4. (23) Tristan Vautier, Honda, 68, Running
5. (7) Marco Andretti, Honda, 68, Running
6. (10) Conor Daly, Honda, 68, Running
7. (19) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 68, Running
8. (14) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 68, Running
9. (18) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 68, Running
10. (1) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 68, Running
11. (12) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 68, Running
12. (20) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 68, Running
13. (13) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 68, Running
14. (8) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 68, Running
15. (16) James Jakes, Honda, 67, Running
16. (21) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 67, Running
17. (17) Luca Filippi, Chevrolet, 66, Running
18. (2) Will Power, Chevrolet, 64, Contact
19. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 64, Contact
20. (4) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 58, Contact
21. (6) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 49, Contact
22. (22) Rodolfo Gonzalez, Honda, 35, Contact
23. (11) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 5, Mechanical

Race Statistics
Winner's average speed: 79.476
Time of Race: 2:00:38.4300
Margin of victory: 1.7644
Cautions: 7 for 17 laps
Lead changes: 5 among 5 drivers

Lap Leaders:
Power 1-2
Montoya 3-21
Dixon 22
Montoya 23-38
Daly 39-50
Bourdais 51-68

Verizon IndyCar Series point standings: Montoya 315, Power 294, Dixon 252, Rahal 246, Castroneves 245, Bourdais 228, Andretti 224, Newgarden 206, Pagenaud 193, Kimball 187.
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