Verizon IndyCar Series veteran Scott Dixon took second to winner Graham Rahal in race one of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle.
Dixon overcame injuries sustained in his biggest career crash at the Indianapolis 500, with an impressive drive from sixth on the grid to second. His second place finish was made possible by a perfect pit stop strategy.
The second place finish means he sits atop the points standings, three points ahead of Helio Castroneves who finished seventh. Dixon came into the weekend fourth in the points after the crash at Indianapolis.
Earlier in the weekend the Chip Ganassi Racing Team won the IndyCar Series Pit Stop Performance Award for their speedy stops.
From the inside of the front row, it was IndyCar’s arguably unluckiest driver Rahal who led the field into turn one.
Dixon slotted into fifth after starting the race sixth, but it didn’t take long for the drama to unfold behind.
James Hinchcliffe spun at turn one, which brought out the first full-course caution on the Belle Isle circuit.
The first stanza of the race was relatively uneventful. Pit stops began to flow and Dixon pitted on lap-24 after. He cycled back out just moments before the second full-course caution after Charlie Kimball and Conor Daly came to blows.
Helio Castroneves led shortly before the halfway mark of the race and pitted to give early race leader Graham Rahal the lead. Castroneves’ pit allowed Dixon up to fifth, whilst Rahal led Takuma Sato, Alexander Rossi and early spinner Hinchcliffe.
With 20-laps to go, a few of the front runners began to complete their second round of pit stops. Dixon ran longer than the likes of Rahal and Sato, but came into the pit lane on lap-50.
Dixon leapfrogged Hinchliffe and Rossi in the pit stop sequence to sit second with 17-laps to go.
From there he maintained his position, not challenging for the lead, but just holding position and keeping third placed Hinchcliffe at arm’s reach.
Dixon sat comfortably in second some seven seconds back from race leader Graham Rahal, who cruised home to victory for his fifth career win and his first of 2017.
Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, race one (top 5):
1. Graham Rahal 70-laps
2. Scott Dixon + 6.147
3. James Hinchcliffe + 9.168
4. Josef Newgarden + 10.093
5. Alexander Rossi + 25.555