Rain A Key Player At Belle Isle Grand Prix

Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 11 Team Mistic E-Cigs - KVSH Racing Chevrolet running in the IndyCar competition at the 2015 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on 2015-05-29. Copyright 2015 Ian Shalapata. All rights reserved.

Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 11 Team Mistic E-Cigs – KVSH Racing Chevrolet running in the IndyCar competition at the 2015 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on 2015-05-29.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Header-image-Shalapata-2By Ian Shalapata

(DETROIT, MI) – Twenty-three year-old Carlos Munoz was in front of the pack when Race 1 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit was called on account of the weather on Saturday. Munoz, driving the No. 26 Honda, picked up the lead on lap 40 and built a 26 second buffer over team mate Marco Andretti before the red flag ended the race after just 47 of 70 scheduled laps.

“It feels OK. I wanted to win 100 per cent and with all the laps,” Munoz said after the race. “Racing is racing, which is what happened with the weather. We knew before the race it would be a hard race because of the weather.”

Carlos Munoz in the No. 26 Andretti TV Cinsay Honda running in the IndyCar competition at the 2015 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on 2015-05-29. Copyright 2015 Ian Shalapata. All rights reserved.

Carlos Munoz in the No. 26 Andretti TV Cinsay Honda running in the IndyCar competition at the 2015 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on 2015-05-29.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Andretti, in the No. 27 Honda and who gave up the lead by heading to the pits, secured second place and his first podium finish in a year. In third place was Simon Pagenaud in the No. 22 Chevrolet.

“It was very dicey,” Pagenaud said. “We never knew when the rain was going to come. We stayed out a bit longer and then made the call at the perfect time to jump to third and then get a first podium with Team Penske. I’m over the moon right now.”

Graham Rahal in the No. 15 Steak 'n Shake Honda at a presser after practice for the 2015 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on 29 5 2015. Copyright Ian Shalapata. 2015. All rights reserved.

Graham Rahal in the No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda at a presser after practice for the 2015 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on 29 5 2015.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

On Sunday, the weather again played a major role in determining the race victor. This time Sebastien Bourdais, in the No. 10 Chevrolet, outlasted Takuma Sato after IndyCar decided to time the race and called it in the 65th lap.

“It was just about as nerve-racking as it gets,” Bourdais explained. “When we elected to stay out I was like, ‘Oh, man, it’s all or nothing.’ All I could hope for was the same scenario as NOLA (with) complicated conditions and one yellow after another.”

Simon Pagenaud in the No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet running in the IndyCar competition at the 2015 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on 2015-05-29. Copyright 2015 Ian Shalapata. All rights reserved.

Simon Pagenaud in the No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet running in the IndyCar competition at the 2015 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on 2015-05-29.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

The win was the first for Bourdais this season, and equalled him on the all-time list with Al Unser Jr in 7th spot.

The rain also cancelled the morning qualifying runs forcing the grid to form by the over-all points standing. As a result, Sato started from the 9th spot in the No. 14 Honda.

“It was a long race, but it was a fantastic show,” enthused Sato. “It was difficult to overtake today with the greasy conditions, but after we made a good call and the boys did a fantastic job with the pit stops. How may restarts did we do? I can’t remember.”

Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 11 Team Mistic E-Cigs - KVSH Racing Chevrolet running in the IndyCar competition at the 2015 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on 2015-05-29. Copyright 2015 Ian Shalapata. All rights reserved.

Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 11 Team Mistic E-Cigs – KVSH Racing Chevrolet running in the IndyCar competition at the 2015 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on 2015-05-29.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Finishing in 3rd was Graham Rahal, driving the No. 15 Honda. It was a good result for Rahal after wrecking early on the previous day. It was his third podium finish in the last five races.

“(Today’s result) helped a lot. Yesterday was brutal,” said Rahal. “That’s the nice thing about this doubleheader. We reversed our roles from last year. Last year we had a good first day and a bad second day. At least this year I’m leaving here getting on the airplane on a good note.

The 3rd place finish by Rahal vaults him over Helio Castroneves in the points standings. He now has 246, just a single point over Castroneves, and sits in 4th place. The top spot belongs to Juan Pablo Montoya with 315 points, and is followed by Will Power and Scott Dixon.

IndyCar now moves the show to the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth on June 6 for a 600 mile race on an oval course.

Marco Andretti in the No. 27 Merchant First/Snapple Honda running in the IndyCar competition at the 2015 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on 2015-05-29. Copyright 2015 Ian Shalapata. All rights reserved.

Marco Andretti in the No. 27 Merchant First/Snapple Honda running in the IndyCar competition at the 2015 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on 2015-05-29.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata

Ian writes for and provides imagery to Square Media Group as well as accepting freelance photographic assignments. In addition, he has contributed to media organizations, sporting groups, and individuals across North America including the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Chatham-Kent Sports Network, the Golf Association of Michigan, League 1 Ontario, as well as numerous colleges and universities in Canada and the United States.
Email Ian Shalapata

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