Pato O’Ward Takes Race 2 Win at Detroit

Pato O’Ward spoiled the day for Josef Newgarden, taking the lead in closing laps to win Race 2 at Belle Isle. (Photo Credit: Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

Following a late race caution for a brake fire on Romain Grosjean’s stalled No. 51 Honda, Pato O’Ward executed the perfect restart with seven laps to go. The young gun passed Colton Herta and Josef Newgarden en route to winning Race 2 at Belle Isle Park in Detroit.

Moreover, Pato O’Ward picks up his second career NTT IndyCar Series victory and first on a street course.

The 22-year-old Mexican driver picked up career win No. 1 last month on the oval track at Texas Motor Speedway.

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden dominated the race, leading 67 laps in the 70-lap event. Newgarden’s tires were worn out, using the Firestone reds during the final stint. The two-time IndyCar champion tried his best to defend but he was no match for a flying O’Ward.

The No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet got his tire temperatures up during the final restart and pounced to ruin Newgarden’s dominant performance. After the race, Newgarden was very disappointed, despite earning a second-place finish.

“He was coming like a freight train,” Newgarden said.

“What are you going to do? I just couldn’t do anything. I had so much wheelspin. My rear tires were just shot to death on the last 10 laps. Just trying to be aggressive, and the restarts don’t help you. None of it played into our favor, especially the first caution.”

While Pato O’Ward and Alex Palou currently run 1-2 in the championship, Josef Newgarden and Team Penske seek redemption next weekend at Road America. (Photo Credit: Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

O’Ward’s victory gives him the championship points lead heading into the next round at Road America by a single point over Alex Palou.

Team Penske Empty-Handed

Between Will Power in Race 1 and Josef Newgarden in Race 2, Team Penske led 74 percent of the Detroit doubleheader weekend. Yesterday, Power’s team called the perfect race to put the Australian in prime position to secure the victory. IndyCar’s decision to red flag the race, in an effort to finish Race 1 under green proved to be costly for the No. 12 Chevrolet.

Under the red flag, Power was leading the race. When race control gave the teams permission to re-fire the engines, Power’s motor failed to re-fire. He sat on pit road in such a helpless manner as the entire field got up to speed behind the pace car. Power’s bad luck proved to be good luck for Marcus Ericsson, who held on to win Race 1.

After a gutting 20th-place finish on Saturday, Power bounced back and had a solid points day in Race 2, bringing it across the line in sixth-place.

Will Power recovered from a frustrating defeat on Saturday. (Photo Credit: Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)

On Sunday morning, his teammate Josef Newgarden secured pole position, leading almost every single lap. A caution with under 20 laps remaining for a Jimmie Johnson spin bunched up the field for the first of two late race restarts. At that point, Newgarden was able to hold off the pack. However, the final restart did not work out in his favor.

Leading all but the final three laps has to sting for the No. 2 team. Team Penske probably should have swept the weekend in Detroit but they left the Motor City empty-handed.

Ferrucci On Fire

Santino Ferrucci made his 2021 season debut in the 105th Indianapolis 500, driving the No. 45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda. Ferrucci has three starts in the iconic 500-mile race. In all three starts, he has three top-10 finishes, including sixth-place this year.

Keeping the momentum rolling into Detroit, Ferrucci finished in the top-10 in both races. In qualifying on Sunday morning, the 23-year-old experienced a hard crash. His team had to race against the clock and prepare a backup car for the race. They made it to the pre-race grid just in time, in a car that was not designed for a street course but ovals. The team’s hard work paid off with Ferrucci finishing 10th, in his third consecutive start of the year.

Santino Ferrucci’s Sunday got off to a rough start, with a crash in qualifying. (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is expected to enter the No. 45 Honda in additional races this season as they evaluate an expansion to three full-time cars next year.

Motown Blues

In his start prior to the doubleheader weekend, Romain Grosjean won the pole and finished second at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. However, the physical and bumpy Belle Isle street circuit produced new challenges for the ex-Formula 1 driver.

For Race 1, Grosjean qualified third, with another good qualifying effort on Sunday, placing the No. 51 Honda fifth on the grid. Unfortunately, he ran into some misfortunes in both races.

To say the least, it was a character-building weekend for Romain Grosjean. (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

On Saturday, the Frenchman missed a turn and hit the wall, damaging the front wing. He finished 23rd. On Sunday, Grosjean came to a stop late in the race, after the front brake caught on fire. This resulted in a 24th-place finish.

Grosjean will have to put a frustrating Detroit weekend behind him quickly because Road America is literally right around the corner.

Next Race

Next weekend, the NTT IndyCar Series heads to the 4.048-mile road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

The NTT IndyCar Series show moves on to Road America. (Chris Owens/INDYCAR)

Coverage of the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America begins on Sunday, June 20, at 12 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Detroit Race 2 Top-10 Results: O’Ward, Newgarden, Palou, Herta, Rahal, Power, Dixon, Pagenaud, Ericsson, Ferrucci.

Kobe Lambeth

My name is Kobe Lambeth and I am a recent graduate of UNC Charlotte. I received my undergraduate degree in Communication Studies (mass media concentration), with a double minor in Journalism and American Studies. Since 2007, I have developed a strong passion for motorsports. My childhood dream is to work in the motorsports industry for a long time.

In June 2017, my journey began as a freelance journalist and social media specialist for RockinghamNow, covering high school sports and leading a Twitter project. We wanted to provide expanded coverage of high school football throughout the local community. With the use of Twitter, we had a goal of significantly increasing the number of followers on multiple accounts.

At The Podium Finish, my goal is to provide professional motorsports coverage, focusing on series such as NASCAR, IndyCar and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. I'm also the Multimedia Producer at GRID Network.

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