It was a “Penske Perfect” weekend of IndyCar Series racing in the annual Detroit Grand Prix on the Belle Isle street circuit. Team Penske drivers Will Power and 2014 Indy 500 runner-up Helio Castroneves each won one of the weekend’s “Detroit Duals” to complete the sweep for Detroit race promoter, team owner, and businessman Roger Penske.
Will Power won Saturday’s first “Dual” by holding off a late race challenge from Graham Rahal.
Power commented on Saturday’s win, which was his 23rd IndyCar Series career victory.
“To come from 16th and win was unexpected...but the team put me in a position to win...that was fun!” he exclaimed.
Three-time Indy 500 winner Castroneves, who had led much of Saturday’s “Dual”, was determined not to let Sunday’s second “Dual” get away. Castroneves dominated Sunday’s Belle Isle event in his Penske machine. He beat Penske teammate and Saturday’s winner Will Power by five car lengths to claim his 29th IndyCar Series victory. Ironically, it was in Detroit in 2000 where the 39-year-old Brazilian earned his first Series win. After that 2000 season first win, Castroneves promptly and unexpectedly exited his racer and climbed the safety fence. This fence climbing antic became a regular signature, post-race move of the popular Indy 500 champion.
Castroneves once again scaled the Belle Isle safety fence after Sunday’s win, but noticeably at a slower more careful pace than in past wins.
Castroneves commented on his 29th IndyCar career win in Sunday’s “Detroit Dual”.
“I was able to hold my emotions better (this time). I guess I’m getting older!” he exclaimed.
When told Sunday’s 29th IndyCar win tied him with four-time Indy 500 winner Rick Mears, a happy, but grateful Castroneves said: “Wow! What an honor!”
If the weekend’s Detroit Grand Prix was a “Perfect Penske” sweep for Power and Castroneves; it was a disaster for last weekend’s Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay. After edging Castroneves in the second closet Indianapolis 500 finish in history earning the biggest win of his racing career, Hunter -Reay crashed on the final lap of Saturday’s first “Dual”, and had an electrical failure that knocked him out of Sunday’s final “Dual”.