Among the drivers who either equaled or set their best career results in Detroit on Sunday was Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Gabby Chaves, who finished ninth in the No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb Honda for Bryan Herta Autosport.
The ninth place ended a string of consistent, but lower than hoped for results of 15th through 18th place finishes, where Chaves had finished in each of the first seven races.
Sunday in the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans race two almost produced the same result. A mid-race steering wheel change – the same issue as affected Will Power – dropped Chaves down the order, and took him out of a potential top-five finish.
Still, it marked the best result of the season for the rookie.
“Yeah, it looked like any restart was always a close call,” Chaves told MotorSportsTalk post-race. “Our car didn’t feel like we were too good on full wet conditions but as it started drying we got competitive even on the wet tires.
“On dries, the car turned on. We got a few positions on luck. We made some overtakes. Unfortunately somewhere in that point our steering wheel broke and we had to make an unscheduled stop when we were already good on fuel to make it to the end. We were on the same strategy as top four guys. We lost a few spots there.”
The result capped off a trying weekend for the team, which struggled for pace and on setup on Friday and left Chaves 23rd and last on the grid going into race one.
“Having one of the toughest weekends we’ve had so far, not really being able to figure what to do figure out with the car, it was good to at least see we made the progress in the race,” Chaves said. “We made some overtakes and got our best finish. Now we go to Texas. We should be strong on the ovals.”
The result came as Chaves’ team owner, Herta, and spotter Mike Burrell were in Fort Lauderdale for the Red Bull Global Rallycross opener. Patrik Sandell and Austin Dyne raced the two GRC Supercars with Colette Davis in the team’s GRC Lites car for Bryan Herta Rallysport.