McLaren driver O’Ward wrests victory from Newgarden & Penske

( – Patricio O’Ward (McLaren-Chevrolet) has won Sunday’s race in the double header of the IndyCar series on Belle Isle in Detroit after a spectacular final offensive. The Mexican only started the race from 16th place on the grid after qualifying had not gone well. However, two late caution phases brought him into direct contact with the leading group.

Second win of the season for Patricio O’Ward (McLaren-Chevrolet)


With three laps to go, O’Ward passed long-term front runner Josef Newgarden (Penske-Chevrolet) – the decision. O’Ward is the first “repeat offender” at the eighth race of the IndyCar season in 2021, i.e. the first driver to have two wins this season. And with this second win of the season, the youngster in the service of McLaren SP has just taken over the championship lead. (Photos: IndyCar doubles in Detroit)

In return, the successful Penske team is still waiting for a win after eight races. Newgarden, who led 67 of the 70 laps, finished second after all, but is far from satisfied with that. Third place went to Alex Palou (Ganassi-Honda), who made it onto the podium, but still narrowly lost the championship lead to O’Ward.

While there were two red phases in race 1 on Saturday, race 2 on Sunday ran as planned and without major delays. There were only three caution phases – the first in the first lap and two more shortly before the end.

Turbulent first lap – Grosjean in the middle twice

After another qualifying on Sunday morning, it was Josef Newgarden who led the field of 25 from pole into the second race of the Detroit doubles. Next to him he had Colton Herta (Andretti-Honda). And so it went into the first corner, in which Herta was just able to fend off an attack by Rinus VeeKay (Carpenter-Chevrolet).

Behind him, Romain Grosjean (Coyne-Honda), who started from P6, got caught in the first corner between Scott Dixon (Ganassi-Honda) and Alexander Rossi (Andretti-Honda). Apart from a little loss of time for all three, there were no further consequences.

Yellow was shown for the first time in the course of the first round. At the exit of Turn 3 Max Chilton (Carlin-Chevrolet) ran into James Hinchcliffe (Andretti-Honda) after he had to slow down because Sebastien Bourdais (Foyt-Chevrolet) was blocked in an attack by Grosjean. Chilton lost the front wing and had to rush behind after a repair stop with a lap deficit.

IndyCar 2021: Detroit II

The highlights of race 8 of 17 of the IndyCar series 2021, race 2 at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on the Belle Isle in Detroit! More formula racing videos

At the first restart, Newgarden was ahead of Herta. Third was Alex Palou because VeeKay was one of the few who had used the first caution phase directly to change tires. In the back field, however, the Dutchman and Ganassi driver Marcus Ericsson, the winner of race 1 on Saturday, ran into each other at Turn 7 and had to go to the pits again.

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Front runner Newgarden with a tire disadvantage

On the 20th of 70 laps, Newgarden led the leading group to the first pit stop. Nothing changed in the order. The one who put off this stop the longest was Newgarden’s Penske team-mate Will Power. After a failed qualifying, the Australian only came from 20th on the grid. When he headed for the pit lane on lap 26, he was in second place. After his stop, Power took eighth place in the field.

Josef Newgarden

Josef Newgarden led from pole for a long time, but “only” finished second Zoom

While Newgarden continued to lead, the pursuers – Herta, Palou and Graham Rahal (Rahal-Honda) – made the second pit stop on lap 45, which was the last as planned. All three had the hard tires (Blacks) put on. Front runner Newgarden came one lap later, on lap 46, but had to put on the unloved soft tires (Reds). What’s more, because he didn’t have a fresh set, the Penske driver had to take the set with which he had taken pole a few hours earlier.

With this tire disadvantage, Newgarden started the last 20 laps with a three-second lead over Herta. This lead was quickly reduced by Herta. With 18 laps to go, the Andretti youngster drove directly in the slipstream of the leading Penske driver. Two laps later there was a yellow card. The reason was a spin by IndyCar rookie Jimmie Johnson (Ganassi-Honda) in Turn 1. So Newgarden had to defend himself with his tire disadvantage even after a restart.

O’Wards final offensive brings victory

Newgarden defended the lead against Herta at the restart, but only had to slow down half a lap later because there was another yellow phase (Romain Grosjean spun after braking problems). Newgarden also got the following restart confidently and defended the top against Herta. But that didn’t mean victory was within his grasp.

Because Patricio O’Ward made up two positions at the last restart by overtaking Rahal and Palou. A little later, O’Ward passed Herta on Turn 7 and was in second place directly behind front runner Newgarden. This is how it went in the last five laps of the race.

The time had come with three laps to go. At the exit of turn 6, and thus at the beginning of the curved back straight, Newgarden got into oversteer with his badly worn soft tires. O’Ward didn’t let himself be asked twice and passed – with touch – by.

The cars stopped and so Patricio O’Ward brought his second win of the season to Fort Worth. Josef Newgarden saved second place just across the line. Alex Palou came in third, followed by Herta, who in fourth not only missed out on a possible win, but even missed the podium. Graham Rahal finished fifth.

Will Power, who had delayed the second pit stop the longest, finished the race from 20th place on the grid on P6. Marcus Ericsson, who achieved his first IndyCar victory on Saturday, made it to ninth place behind Ganassi star Scott Dixon (7th) and Simon on Sunday after a problematic qualifying (starting position 22) and the early collision with Rinus VeeKay Pagenaud (Penske-Chevrolet; 8th) and before Santino Ferrucci (Rahal-Honda; 10th).

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Jimmie Johnson with the best race so far, but with a spin

Scott McLaughlin (Penske-Chevrolet) was best placed in the ranks of the three IndyCar rookies on Sunday. But this time he only achieved P20. Jimmie Johnson showed his best IndyCar race so far over long stretches. During his spin, however, which was in 19th position 16 laps before the end, he stalled his Ganassi car and lost a lot of time. Johnson crossed the finish line directly behind McLaughlin on P21.

Romain Grosjean, who was right in the middle of two hairy situations on the first lap, received a drive-through penalty shortly before half-time of the race. At Turn 6 he had sent Jack Harvey (Shank-Honda) into a spin. The Brit, who had just come out of the pits, caught a flat tire and had to drive up to his crew again. In the end it was P19 for Harvey.

Grosjean was less fortunate. Because the front brakes of his Coyne Honda flared in the final phase, the Frenchman did not cross the finish line again, as he did in Saturday’s race.

Askew will step in for Rosenqvist at short notice

Felix Rosenqvist, who had a serious accident in race 1 on Saturday, had to spend the night in the hospital but, according to information from the team, left the hospital on Sunday. The Swede did not suffer any broken bones, but he was not allowed to drive again on Sunday.

Nevertheless, the McLaren-Chevrolet with starting number 7 was also in action on Sunday. Oliver Askew, who was dismissed from McLaren SP in favor of successor Rosenqvist at the end of 2020, sat in the cockpit. Askew was not at all prepared for his one-time return to the team. He was only “by chance” in Detroit, where he primarily looked after the offspring in the Indy Lights series.

For his very short-term IndyCar comeback, Askew had to fall back on a jumpsuit by Juan Pablo Montoya and shoes by Alex Palou! Apart from that, the street circuit in Detroit was uncharted territory for him, he just had to get to know it in qualifying on Sunday morning.

Despite these various handicaps, Askew showed a serene race. With eleven laps to go, however, he had to retire with a defect and therefore finished in 25th and last place behind Romain Grosjean. It is not yet clear whether regular driver Rosenqvist will drive again next weekend. Team-mate O’Ward’s victory will certainly give him a boost.

In the IndyCar overall standings for 2021, Patricio O’Ward is in the lead after eight races of the season, just one point ahead of Alex Palou. The IndyCar calendar 2021 continues next weekend on the popular Road America natural race track in Elkhart Lake.

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