Conway, Hunter-Reay pace Detroit Indy race 1 past halfway mark

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We’re more than halfway home in the 70-lap first race in the Chevrolet Indy Dual at Detroit. Ryan Hunter-Reay (pictured) led from Mike Conway, Dario Franchitti, Will Power and Helio Castroneves under yellow by lap 39, with the restart on lap 40. Hunter-Reay stayed out a lap longer on the first pit stop sequence and leapt to the lead ahead of Conway.

The third yellow occurred when Marco Andretti nudged Sebastian Saavedra off track at Turn 4 on lap 35. Saavedra, on the next lap, decided to flip Andretti the “double birds” – the same move as Power did to IndyCar Race Control at Loudon, New Hampshire in 2011.

Takuma Sato and AJ Allmendinger were responsible for the first two cautions. Allmendinger performed an unintentional aerobatics show on the first lap when he attempted to thread the needle between Scott Dixon and Justin Wilson going into Turn 4.

Later on, Sato stopped on track between Turns 3 and 4 on lap 25, out of fuel, and the caution was extended when Alex Tagliani crashed under yellow at Turn 3. Tagliani’s team owner, Bryan Herta, told ABC television that Tagliani’s steering locked up.

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.

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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.