Castroneves emerges from Detroit Dual 1 as points leader

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Difficult days for Marco Andretti and Takuma Sato, the IZOD IndyCar Series points leaders heading into Saturday in Detroit, shuffled the deck for tomorrow’s second race of the Chevrolet Indy Dual at Detroit (grid here).

Helio Castroneves, who finished fifth, now leads the standings by three points over Ryan Hunter-Reay (182-179). Andretti (178), Sato (168) and Justin Wilson (161) are all within striking distance.

“I just saw that I’m on top of the points, but I mean really Mike Conway, great job,” said the new points leader – at least for a day. “It just proves that the series is very competitive with the teams. And now we’ve taken the points lead, which is very good.”

Castroneves also led the points after Barber and Long Beach in April, but Detroit race one marked the fourth consecutive race where the lead has changed hands. Sato led it after his runner-up finish in Brazil, and Andretti took over the top spot after the Indianapolis 500. Two-time winner James Hinchcliffe, obviously, led the points after his win to open the season in St. Petersburg.

Sunday marked Andretti’s first race this season outside the top seven. He made contact with Sebastian Saavedra and pitched the Colombian into the barriers.

Some other points notes after Saturday in Detroit:

  • The top 10: Castroneves 182, Hunter-Reay 179, Andretti 178, Sato 168, Wilson 161, Scott Dixon 154, Hinchcliffe 143, Tony Kanaan 141, Simon Pagenaud 126, Charlie Kimball 122.
  • Beyond the top 10, E.J. Viso and Simona de Silvestro (117 apiece) have just 13 points between them and Graham Rahal, who is 16th.
  • Race winner Mike Conway (58 points, 24th) is ahead of Saavedra, despite running only two races to Saavedra’s six. Conway is only two behind AJ Allmendinger, who is 23rd. Conway has the potential to take all points but one of the maximum 108 this weekend if he wins on Sunday and leads the most laps.
  • Top-10s for Will Power (eighth) and Dario Franchitti (sixth) see them now 13th and 14th in the standings, separated by three markers (113-110).
  • Dragon Racing’s teammates Saavedra and Sebastien Bourdais are the only full-season drivers not to score a top-10, and rank 25th and 21st in the points.

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.