DETROIT – Sebastien Bourdais got ahead of erstwhile dominant driver Juan Pablo Montoya on the final pit stop sequence, Lap 38, then managed to hold on the remainder of the race through a caution-filled second half of the second Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans en route to his first win of the Verizon IndyCar Series season.
“It was just about as nerve wracking as it gets,” Bourdais said. “When we elected to stay out, I was like ‘Oh man, it is all or nothing’ from there.
“All I could hope for was just the same scenario as NOLA. Complicated conditions and one yellow after another and it was the right call today again.
“The difference is that we obviously deserved it I think because the boys worked really hard. We were on pace; we passed a bunch of cars and made the moves when it mattered. We made it stick all the way to the end.
“When we got on the Firestone red tires, I was like ‘Boy, that is way too early’. There was half-way of a groove. Just felt like it was such a risky move. But, I knew it was the right one, just like yesterday. I just couldn’t be any happier that we made it stick.”
In an abnormal and, as of 6:30 p.m. unofficial top 10, Bourdais led Takuma Sato, Graham Rahal, Tristan Vautier, Marco Andretti, Conor Daly, Jack Hawksworth, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Gabby Chaves and Montoya.
Post-race, Montoya was visibly mad at IndyCar officials and declined comment about his race when asked by MotorSportsTalk.
Meanwhile Sage Karam, who was a passing star in the first half, had several incidents in the second, including twice contacting Hawksworth. He told MotorSportsTalk that Conor Daly blocked him at one point.
Vautier was over the moon after finishing fourth, telling MotorSportsTalk he needed to thank his Dale Coyne Racing team for their strategy calls after starting 23rd and last in the field. Additionally, rookie Gabby Chaves was happy with ninth, and said he didn’t make contact with Montoya.
Perhaps the easiest way to recap the second half of this race, after a caution-free first half, is to list the race notes from INDYCAR after Lap 35. Note the Lap 38 stops, as that proved the most crucial moment of the race.
Lap 35: Halfway – 2-Montoya leads 9-Dixon by 8.6542 seconds. 27-Andretti on pit road for four dry tires and fuel.
Lap 37: YELLOW. 18-Gonzalez makes contact with the tire barrier in Turn 4. Pits are closed. Leaders under caution are: 2-Montoya, 9-Dixon, 67-Newgarden, 11-Bourdais, 3-Castroneves.
Lap 38: Pits are open. Leaders are on pit road for four tires and fuel. 5-Daly does not stop and assumes the lead of the race followed by 28-Hunter-Reay and 1-Power. 9-Dixon wins race off pit road followed by 11-Bourdais and 2-Montoya, who nearly spun on pit exit. 20-Filippi and 83-Kimball make contact on exit.19-Vautier must give up his position to 41-Hawksworth as a penalty for blocking.
Lap 42: GREEN. 5-Daly leads field into Turn 1. YELLOW. 20-Filippi spins at the exit to Turn 2 and makes contact with the barrier. 4-Coletti makes contact with the tire barrier in Turn 3. Pits are closed.
Lap 43: Pits are open. 83-Kimball, 27-Andretti and 4-Coletti on pit road for service. 83-Kimball and 27-Andretti take fuel only.
Lap 46: GREEN. 5-Daly leads the field into Turn 1.
Lap 48: 5-Daly leads 28-Hunter-Reay by 2.6840 seconds. 28-Hunter-Reay and 3-Castroneves on pit road for four dry tires and fuel.
Lap 49: 1-Power 9-Dixon, 67-Newgarden on pit road for four dry tires and fuel.
Lap 50: YELLOW. 67-Newgarden makes heavy contact with the barrier in Turn 2. Car has significant right-side damage. Driver climbs from his car without assistance from the Holmatro Safety Team Leaders under caution are: 5-Daly, 11-Bourdais, 2-Montoya, 15-Rahal and 14-Sato.
Lap 51: Leader, 5-Daly, on pit road for four tires and fuel. New leader is 11-Bourdais. 8-Karam, 98-Chaves also pit for service.
Lap 55: GREEN. 11-Bourdais leads field into Turn 1. There is multi-car contact at the exit of Turn 3 involving 4-Coletti, 41-Hawksworth and 8-Karam. YELLOW. Leaders under caution are: 11-Bourdais, 2-Montoya, 15-Rahal, 14-Sato and 22-Pagenaud.
Lap 56: Pits are open. 41-Hawksworth 8-Karam on pit road for repoirs.
Lap 58: GREEN. 11-Bourdais leads field into Turn 1.
Lap 59: YELLOW. 83-Kimball and 9-Dixon make side-to-side contact between Turns 3 and 4. 9-Dixon makes contact with the tire barrier in Turn 4. Leaders under caution are: 11-Bourdais, 2-Montoya, 15-Rahal, 14-Sato and 22-Pagenaud. 15-Rahal must give up his position to 14-Sato as a penalty for blocking.
Lap 60: Pits are open. 5-Daly (Blocking) and 8-Karam (Avoidable Contact) have been sent to the back of the field for penalties.
Lap 62: GREEN. 11-Bourdais leads field into Turn 1. There is contact between 83-Kimball and 3-Castroneves in Turn 1. There is contact between 8-Karam, 41-Hawksworth and 4-Coletti in Turn 3. YELLOW for debris in Turns 11 and 12.
Lap 65: GREEN. 11-Bourdais leads the field into Turn 1. 14-Sato and 15-Rahal takes second from 2-Montoya spins at the exit of Turn 2 and collects 3-Castroneves. FULL COURSE YELLOW. Leaders under caution are: 11-Bourdais, 14-Sato, 15-Rahal, 2-Montoya and 10-Kanaan. RED FLAG is displayed for track cleanup. Race will be a timed race when it resumes with a restart on Lap 66.
Lap 66: GREEN. 10-Kanaan and 22-Pagenaud dive on to pit lane for fuel only
11-Bourdais leads field into Turn 1. He leads 14-Sato by 0.6081 of a second.
Lap 67: WHITE: 11-Bourdais leads 14-Sato by 1.3737 seconds.
Lap 68: CHECKERED.11-Bourdais wins Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans Race #2 by 1.7644 seconds over 14-Sato.
DETROIT – Results Sunday of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.35-mile Raceway at Belle Isle Park, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (9) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 68, Running
2. (15) Takuma Sato, Honda, 68, Running
3. (5) Graham Rahal, Honda, 68, Running
4. (23) Tristan Vautier, Honda, 68, Running
5. (7) Marco Andretti, Honda, 68, Running
6. (10) Conor Daly, Honda, 68, Running
7. (19) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 68, Running
8. (14) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 68, Running
9. (18) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 68, Running
10. (1) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 68, Running
11. (12) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 68, Running
12. (20) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 68, Running
13. (13) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 68, Running
14. (8) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 68, Running
15. (16) James Jakes, Honda, 67, Running
16. (21) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 67, Running
17. (17) Luca Filippi, Chevrolet, 66, Running
18. (2) Will Power, Chevrolet, 64, Contact
19. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 64, Contact
20. (4) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 58, Contact
21. (6) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 49, Contact
22. (22) Rodolfo Gonzalez, Honda, 35, Contact
23. (11) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 5, Mechanical
Winner’s average speed: 79.476
Time of Race: 2:00:38.4300
Margin of victory: 1.7644
Cautions: 7 for 17 laps
Lead changes: 5 among 5 drivers
Verizon IndyCar Series point standings: Montoya 315, Power 294, Dixon 252, Rahal 246, Castroneves 245, Bourdais 228, Andretti 224, Newgarden 206, Pagenaud 193, Kimball 187.