DETROIT (AP) — Helio Castroneves easily won the second Detroit Grand Prix race of the weekend Sunday, finishing 1.6836 seconds ahead of Penske Racing teammate Will Power.
Castroneves’ lead was so large that when he made his final pit stop on Lap 49 he still was ahead when he got back on the track.
The competition got closer after cautions led to restarts with seven and three laps left, but Castroneves could not be caught.
The Brazilian has 29 IndyCar victories, tying Rick Mears for 11th on the career. Castroneves finished 0.060 seconds behind Ryan Hunter-Reay last week in the Indianapolis 500 in his bid to join Mears as a four-time winner in open-wheel racing’s signature event.
Power won Saturday and played a big part in a sloppy start Sunday.
He was penalized for avoidable contact on the opening lap, failing to turn right and causing Josef Newgarden to hit him from behind to trigger a three-car crash. That led to the first of two cautions within the first ten laps after a false start briefly delayed the race beginning.
Despite a drive-through penalty, Power was able to pull into contention later in the race with aggressive moves.
No one, though, was faster than Castroneves.
Hunter-Reay, meanwhile, had a poor ending to a rough weekend after the biggest win of his career.
He started 21st in the 22-car field on Saturday and Sunday because of crashes. Hunter-Reay ended the first race by crashing on the final lap and the second one did not last as long due to an electrical problem knocking him out after 61 laps.
Castroneves raced to the first of his 29 victories in 2000 at Belle Isle, when he showed off what has become his signature celebration by climbing a fence alongside the track. After his latest victory, Castroneves encouraged his team members to join him on the fence and many of them did.
Team owner and unofficial race promoter Roger Penske was not a part of that celebration, but he had to be one of the happiest guys in the Motor City because Castroneves and Power finished first and second and Charlie Kimball, who was also driving a Chevrolet-powered car, was third.
Honda had dominated the Detroit Grand Prix the previous two years – in the shadow of Chevy’s world headquarters – and had the fastest car last week at the Indy 500.
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