2022 IndyCar Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix: Will Power holds off Alexander Rossi by one second for victory

USA Today

Coming to the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, Will Power had been the lone Team Penske driver to have not driven his car into Victory Lane this season.

That changed on Sunday in IndyCar's final event at the 2.35-mile temporary street circuit on Belle Isle Park as the Australian used a three-stop strategy that saw him run the primary Firestone Black tires in his opening two stints before putting on the softer alternate Reds and hanging on at the finish to hold off Alexander Rossi.

Rossi was also on a three-stop strategy, but started the race on alternates before switching to the harder-compound Black tires with the idea of having more tire at the finish to make a charge.

And it almost worked. Power came out after his final pit stop with a 16-second lead that, with 14 laps remaining, was down to 12, and with nine laps left it was down to 11.5 seconds as Rossi kept pressing. 

With seven laps remaining, Power was a second-a-lap slower and the lead was under 10 seconds as the Team Penske driver was also dealing with lap traffic ahead, saving tires and fuel. Rossi had none of those restrictions as he marched on, trying to chase Power down.

But Rossi simply didn't have enough race left at the end, drawing within a second of Power at the line and finishing second.

"I knew if I could keep a reasonable gap until the end, we'd be OK," Power said to IndyCar.com after the race, which surprisingly went green flag all the way to the final lap, when Rinus VeeKay crashed just as Power and Rossi were taking the checkered flag.

"One more lap would have been really interesting," Rossi said. "But you've got to give credit to the [No.] 12 guys and Will. That's hard to do at the end, to hang on."

Unofficial top 10

  1. Will Power, Team Penske, Chevrolet
  2. Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport, Honda
  3. Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing, Honda
  4. Josef Newgarden, Team Penske, Chevrolet
  5. Pato O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP, Chevrolet
  6. Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing, Honda
  7. Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing, Honda
  8. Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport, Honda
  9. Simon Pagenaud, Meyer Shank Racing, Honda
  10. Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren SP, Chevrolet

What we learned

Many view the Detroit Grand Prix as when the chase for the IndyCar season title really gets going, and if that's the case then Will Power may be in the catbird seat. Throw out his 15th-place finish at the Indianapolis 500 and Power has gone third in the opener at St. Pete, fourth at Texas, fourth at Long Beach, fourth at Birmingham, third on the Indianapolis road course and Victory Lane at Belle Isle Park.

That consistency is what has him atop the championship points standings as the series turns to Road America in Wisconsin, next weekend. Many are pointing to Power being more in control of his temperament as being a key this season, because it certainly isn't because he has lost any of his drive to win and dominate, and that this season he doesn't seem to be holding on to bad results as much as he has in the past. That's a possibility, but he has really had only one bad result so far, so let's see how the march of the season goes before we proclaim this to be the new Will Power.

Let's also not say this is the new Alexander Rossi, who didn't lose any of his skill or drive but only seemed to be plagued by some bad luck and maybe bad strategy. Certainly, things at Andretti Autosport had soured. Certainly, signing a contract with Arrow McLaren SP for 2023 has helped his mood. Still, it wasn't the Arrow McLaren guys in his pit at Belle Isle on Sunday, and it shows that when everything does comes together in the right way, Rossi can turn wheels with the best of them out there, because he is still one of the best of them out there.

Rossi now stands seventh in the title chase. He will need more weekends like Detroit to close that gap and challenge for the championship.

Any of the drivers between Power and Rossi in the standings -- Marcus Ericsson, Pato O'Ward, Alex Palou, Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon -- have a shot at climbing above Power by the end of the season. Three of them (Palou, Newgarden and Dixon) know what it takes to win a title having already done so. 

The question is -- are there any drivers deeper in the table who can get it done?

Sitting in the 10th spot, Scott McLaughlin started the season off with a win and a second place but has failed to find much luck since with only one finish in the top 10 after Texas. As a teammate of Power and Newgarden at Team Penske, McLaughlin is in the right spot. He just needs to keep things simple again.

Perhaps Colton Herta, currently 11th in the standings, has a shot if he can stay out of trouble and have consistent podium finishes.

There's that word again -- "consistent". That's been Power's, err, power this season. And it might be what brings him to the series title once more.

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Power wins it, followed by Rossi who was within one second at the line!

Dixon, Newgarden and O'Ward are the unofficial top five.


One lap to go, Power holds a 2.5-second lead and Rossi is now within eyesight of Power. Rossi is down to eight seconds of push-to-pass and Power has 41. 

Lead down to 1.6 seconds!


Two laps to go, a lead down to five seconds and Power is able to get around Ferrucci as Rossi may be running out of race at this point.


Power's lead is down to 6.4 seconds with Rossi now lapping two seconds faster than the Team Penske driver!


Rossi had his own issues with a back marker but was able to make it around Jimmie Johnson with little trouble.


Five to go and Power's lead is down to 8.3 seconds as Rossi just keeps charging. Power is now caught behind Jack Harvey, who is on the lead lap and doesn't have to move over for Power, making Power have to work that much harder in Harvey's dirty air.


With 10 laps to go, Power holds a 12-second lead on Rossi with Dixon, Newgarden, O'Ward, Palou, Pagenaud, Ericsson, Herta and VeeKay making up the top 10.


Another issue now is that the partly cloudy skies have cleared up and it is bright out now. The track is heating up, which will make Power's softer Reds break down just that much faster than Rossi's harder Blacks.


With 14 laps to go, Power has a 13-second lead on Rossi. He also holds 41 seconds of "push-to-pass" compared to Rossi's 27 seconds.

@detroitgp via Twitter
June 5, 2022, 8:57 PM

Power has pitted from the lead. Can he get back out before the field comes around? And it looks like he has, but is now on Reds and with a lead of 16 seconds on Rossi.


He hits the fence on a tank slapper. Kirkwood's fine race is over and he is in the pits. That looked like a top 10 for sure for A.J. Foyt Enterprises, maybe even a top five.


Kirkwood is pushing and his tires are not yet up to temperature, giving his team some anxious moments as he swerves and wiggles around the track.


Kirkwood pitting from the second spot and will have to put on the alternate Reds. That moves Rossi up to second with some 22 laps left to run.


With 23 laps left, Power will look to stretch it out for another five laps. Behind him now is Kirkwood followed by VeeKay, Rossi, Dixon and Newgarden.


Rossi pits from the second spot. It will be another set of Blacks and a splash of fuel for Rossi, who is back out on the track. 


Dixon comes out in the sixth spot, followed by Rosenqvist, Newgarden, O'Ward and Ericsson.


Newgarden also in the pits and comes back out in the 10th spot. 

Lap 46 and we are coming up on the final pit window, barring rain. Power is still the leader with Rossi, Kirkwood, VeeKay and Malukas in the top five.


Rossi is past Dixon into second as Dixon pits. His crew takes the Reds off and slips on the primary Blacks. O'Ward also pitting.


Dixon, who is on the Reds, is trying to hang on and hold off Rossi, but the gap is down to 3 seconds and is dropping lap after lap. Dixon's pit crew has radioed him to hang on for another 3 laps or so.


Newgarden went 19 laps on the Reds, so with 29 laps to go Power will be looking to ride his Blacks as long as he can to get inside of 19 laps remaining.

Power's lead is now up to 16 seconds.


If you are wondering, Rossi's last win came at Road American in 2019, some 43 races ago. That's an eternity for a driver.


Rossi makes his move in Turn 3 on Palou and has taken the third spot. Next up in Rossi's crosshairs will be Dixon. But well ahead at the lead is Power, some 13 seconds ahead of Dixon.

@detroitgp via Twitter
June 5, 2022, 8:33 PM

Just a few raindrops here and there, as it seems the rain will skirt past Belle Isle Park right now.

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