Sunday, June 3, 2018

Morning Warm-Up: Belle Isle 2018 Race Two

Can Scott Dixon make history for a second consecutive day?
Scott Dixon heads into the second race of the Belle Isle in Michael Andretti's pocket. The New Zealander tied the second-generation driver in IndyCar victories yesterday when Dixon led 39 laps on his way to his 42nd victory. While Dixon could move into sole possession of third all-time in victories today, he could equal Michael Andretti for fourth-most podium finishes in IndyCar history as Dixon sits on 99 career podium finishes. Dixon has swept a doubleheader before. He won both races at Toronto in 2013. Dixon has three consecutive podium finishes and it is the first time he has three consecutive podium finishes since he won three consecutive races in 2013 at Pocono and the Toronto doubleheader. He has not had four consecutive podium finishes since he finished on the podium in the final two races of 2011 and first two races of 2012.

While Dixon is looking to breath thinner air, Ryan Hunter-Reay has been stuck on 16 career victories for nearly three years. Since he last stood on the top step of the podium, Hunter-Reay has nine podium finishes, four on natural-terrain road courses, three on street courses and two on ovals. Yesterday was Hunter-Reay's third runner-up finish since he last won at Pocono in 2015. Hunter-Reay has led a lap in five races this season but yesterday's seven laps led were the most he has led in a race this season. Alexander Rossi made it two Andretti Autosport cars on the podium and he has taken the championship lead with 276 points. He has four podium finishes, six top five finishes and his worst finish through seven races is 11th. Rossi holds a four-point lead over Dixon heading into race two. Marco Andretti picked up his best finish of the season yesterday when he finished fourth after he started on pole position and led 19 laps. It was the first time Andretti finished in the top five after starting on pole position.

Takuma Sato finished fifth in race one and it is his second consecutive top five finish at Belle Isle and fourth consecutive top ten finish. Sato has not had consecutive top five finishes since he won at Long Beach in 2013 and finished second in the following race in São Paulo. He has finished in the top ten in three consecutive Sunday races at Belle Isle. Ed Jones was sixth on Saturday and it was his eighth career top ten finish. Five of Jones' eight top ten finishes have come on street courses. Jones jumped from 18th to 13th in the championship after yesterday's result. Will Power finished seventh after starting sixth, ending a streak of seven consecutive races starting in the top three. Power has finished in the top five of four consecutive Sunday races at Belle Isle and he has three podium finishes in that time frame. Robert Wickens picked up another top ten finish as the Canadian rookie has five top ten finishes from seven career starts.

Josef Newgarden was ninth on Saturday and he dropped to fourth in the championship but he is only 11 points out of the championship lead. Yesterday's ninth place finish was Newgarden's worst street course result since he joined Team Penske last season. If Newgarden does not finish on the podium in this race it will be his third consecutive race without a podium finish and match his longest drought since joining Team Penske. Spencer Pigot rounded out the top ten yesterday and he will be looking for consecutive top ten finishes for the first time in his career. He has three top finishes on road courses and three top ten finishes on street courses. James Hinchcliffe missed out on a top ten finish yesterday in 11th and it was the fifth time in six Belle Isle starts with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports he did not finish in the top ten. Zach Veach was 12th in his first Belle Isle start. Veach is the only rookie to be running at the finish of every race this season.

Sébastien Bourdais had led a lap in every race this season prior to yesterday when the best the Frenchman could manage was 13th. It was the third time Bourdais finished 13th this season. Prior to the 2018 season, Bourdais had finished 13th three times in his prior 171 starts. Tony Kanaan's 350th start saw him finish 14th in the #14 Chevrolet. Kanaan has finished 14th twice this season after not having finished 14th since Iowa in 2009. Matheus Leist followed up his teammate in 15th in what was the Brazilian's fifth consecutive lead lap finish and he has finished in the top fifteen in four of the last five races. Jordan King finished 16th in race one and it was King's second-best finish of his career and his second career lead lap finish. Simon Pagenaud's 17th place finish yesterday means the Frenchman has not had a top five finish in the first seven races of the season for the first time in his career and it currently matches his career longest drought without a top five finish.

Gabby Chaves has not finished better than 14th this season but he has finished every race and he has completed 877 of 882 laps. Since starting eighth at the season opener at St. Petersburg, Chaves' best starting position has been 19th. Charlie Kimball has dropped to 20th in the championship and his average starting position this season is 20th. Max Chilton finished 20th yesterday after starting tenth. It was his first top ten starting position since Pocono last year and he has not finished in the top ten since last year at Watkins Glen. René Binder finished 21st yesterday, three laps down. Santino Ferrucci and Graham Rahal will look to rebound after accidents both end their respective days early. Yesterday was the first time Rahal was classified outside the top twenty since Phoenix last year. Rahal has led a lap in three consecutive races.

Rain is forecasted for tomorrow with a 90% chance of precipitation. However, the rain is forecasted for 9:00 a.m. ET to 1:00 p.m. ET. Qualifying is scheduled for 10:45 a.m. ET and an update will be provided after that session.

ABC's coverage of race two of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit begins at 3:30 p.m. ET with green flag scheduled for 3:40 p.m. ET. The race is scheduled for 70 laps.

Qualifying Update
Alexander Rossi picked up his second pole position of the season with a lap of 93.3143 seconds in what was a wet qualifying session for the second race of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit. Rossi is the first repeat pole winner this season. He won from pole position at Long Beach in April and he led 71 of 85 laps in that race. Rossi took the championship lead yesterday with a third place finish in race one. Rossi has four podium finishes this season, matching his career total prior to the start of the 2018 season. Robert Wickens joins Rossi on the front row and it is Wickens third career front row start. Wickens has started in the top ten in seven races this season. He enters with four consecutive top ten finishes. Yesterday's race was won from second on the grid and since Belle Isle became a doubleheader in 2013 the same starting position has not produced the winner in both races.

Will Power is the top Chevrolet on grid and he will roll off from third position after qualifying 0.5152 seconds behind Rossi. Power has started in the top three in seven of eight races and he won from third on the grid in the Indianapolis 500 last week. Next to Power is Ed Jones, who will start fourth, a career-best starting position for the Emirati driver. It is only the second top ten start for Jones in his career. He started eighth at Iowa last season. Scott Dixon will have to try and sweep the weekend from fifth on the grid. Dixon has won from fifth position four times in his career. He did it at Sonoma in 2007, Nashville in 2008, the first Toronto race in 2013 and Road America in 2017. James Hinchcliffe joins Dixon on row six. Hinchcliffe has started in the top ten for every race he has qualified for this season.

Zach Veach gets his first career top ten starting position, as the Ohioan will roll off from seventh position. His previously career-best starting position was 11th at Barber. Simon Pagenaud will start next to Veach on row four. Pagenaud has never won an IndyCar race from outside the first three rows of the grid and the furthest back he has won from was sixth in the second Belle Isle race in 2013, his first career victory. Graham Rahal will start ninth, his third top ten start of the season. Rahal's first career victory came from ninth on the grid at St. Petersburg in 2008. Ryan Hunter-Reay rounds out the top ten. Hunter-Reay has won once from tenth on the grid, that was at Baltimore in 2012. Jordan King and Marco Andretti will start on row six.

Santino Ferrucci will start the second race of his IndyCar career from 13th, next to Gabby Chaves. This is only the second time Chaves has started in the top fifteen this season. Spencer Pigot and Sébastien Bourdais will be on row eight. Pigot has finished 15th in four of seven races this season. Bourdais' last four victories have come from starting positions outside the top ten. Max Chilton will start 17th with Matheus Leist in 18th.

Josef Newgarden ended up in the tire barrier and caused a red flag to end the qualifying session. He lost his fastest two laps and will be forced to start from row ten next to Takuma Sato. The furthest back a Belle Isle winner has started was 20th when Carlos Muñoz won the rain-shortened first race of the 2015 doubleheader. Charlie Kimball starts 21st. It is Kimball's sixth time starting outside the top twenty this season. Tony Kanaan caused a red flag before ever setting a lap and he will start 22nd. René Binder did not participate in his qualifying group and he will start 23rd for the second consecutive race.

ABC's coverage of race two of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit begins at 3:30 p.m. ET with green flag scheduled for 3:40 p.m. ET. The race is scheduled for 70 laps.