Montoya dominating first half of second race in Detroit

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DETROIT – Juan Pablo Montoya has thus far dominated the opening half of the second race in the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans, as he looks for his third win of the Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Through the opening 35 laps, the polesitter has led 32, with Will Power leading two and Scott Dixon leading one.

Power got the lead on the start through Turn 1, but Montoya passed him back on the inside into Turn 4 on Lap 3.

James Jakes gambled on a switch from Firestone’s rain tires to dry slicks, but the move backfired as he ran anywhere from eight to 15 seconds per lap slower on the slicks on a still mostly wet track.

Dixon runs second, 8.5 seconds behind, having inherited the position when Power pitted on Lap 27 to change a steering wheel. The defending series champion reported to ABC, via his race strategist Tim Cindric, that moisture came into the steering wheel, which caused shifting issues.

It has dropped Power outside the top 10, back to 13th.

Josef Newgarden, Sebastien Bourdais and Helio Castroneves complete the top five.

Sage Karam was a big mover in the first stint, moving from 20th up to 12th before his first stop.

Gabby Chaves stayed out longest on the first stint, to Lap 24, but dropped from as high as eighth to 20th after his stop. Dixon, Bourdais and Conor Daly also ran long on the first tint.

We won’t have a repeat winner in Detroit, as Carlos Munoz was first out with apparent water issues causing smoke out the back of his car six laps into the race.

In the “truth is stranger than fiction” department, Munoz mirrors Houston race one winner Carlos Huertas last year. Both were first out in the second race of a doubleheader weekend, after they got their first career win.

However, if Montoya wins, it will still be three wins in a row for Colombians.

Through the opening 35 laps, we have also run caution-free – a departure from the seven cautions on Saturday.