Detroit Grand Prix Race Review No. 2: Graham ‘n Sham Edition


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Ragin’ Graham Rahal did the undoable – a Detroit dual double – driving a danged ol’ Honda right through Chevy’s front yard. Twice. Meanwhile Hoosier hot head Conor Daly called the only potentially exciting element of the race, the red flag stoppage with three to go, “such a sham” and “all for show.”


The angry A.J. Foyt driver continued, Tweeting “to get driven into the wall with one to go after our best race is just sad.”  It’s unclear who made contact with him and ABC certainly didn’t bother to show it, but the young legacy finished twelfth behind Helio, TK and Munoz.


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Once pole sitter Sato got out of the way about twenty two laps in, it was a battle between Saturday’s winner and newcomer Josef Newgarden. After the track cleanup, Rahal raced ahead of him to the line by over a second. Frankly, while the contrived red flag saved the audience from a yellow finish, it failed to create much drama as Rahal’s lead was never in doubt.

Ryan Hunter-Reay with the hyphen here to stay tangled with Helio in the early going, resulting in a new nose for the former and a flat tire for the latter. Both of their days were effectively ruined.


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Merely one caution flew all afternoon as the sorely needed rain failed to materialize. The yellow appeared on lap 66, initially for James Hinchcliffe whose Honda stopped on course and then Spencer Pigot whose Chevrolet blew up spewing smoke and oil, finally bringing out the red flag. Rookie phenom Ed Jones had already suffered a problem and was soon joined by Hinch and Pigot in the pits. Oriol Servia – Rahal’s erstwhile teammate – soldiered on to a 19th place finish in possibly the last race of the Spaniard’s career. Strangely, Servia mania failed to materialize in the Motor City.


There were only three leaders – and that’s counting Sato – and obviously no eighth different winner after eight races. It was Honda’s fifth win of the season and Rahal’s sixth of his career. Race control called five penalties – all coming in the pits for speeding, hitting equipment or improper exit – except for a rare blocking call on 500 winner Alexander Rossi.

Like Saturday’s Grand Prix, the racing wasn’t very entertaining. Heck, there weren’t even any furry rodents on course and precious little passing was possible again on the sorry street circuit. Other than Graham’s repeat performance – the first since Dixon did it in 2013 at Toronto – it simply wasn’t very interesting. We say the entire Detroit show’s a sham. Thank goodness for red flags and angry Tweets. Oh, and Texas Motor Speedway.


4 thoughts on “Detroit Grand Prix Race Review No. 2: Graham ‘n Sham Edition

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