Bourdais wins wet and wild IndyCar Race 2 in Detroit

Sebastien Bourdais scored his 33rd career win in a wet-to-dry race on the streets of Belle Isle on Sunday, May 30, 2015.

Scott R LePage

DETROIT – Sebastien Bourdais found the speed midway through the race to vault to the front of the field and was able to survive a barrage of late-race cautions to win Sunday’s Chevrolet Dual at Detroit Race No. 2 at the Raceway at Belle Isle.

It was the 33rd career victory for Bourdais and his second in the Verizon IndyCar Series. He won a double-header race at Toronto in 2014. Bourdais is eighth all-time on the wins list and just one victory behind Al Unser, Jr.

Bourdais’ Chevrolet finished 1.7644 seconds ahead of Takuma Sato’s Honda. Graham Rahal was third in another Honda, with Honda in fact rounding out positions 2nd-9th.

Bourdais ran his fastest lap of the race on the final lap and led the last 18 laps.

Juan Pablo Montoya, who won his second Indianapolis 500 last Sunday, ran out of fuel on the final lap and finished 10th. He walked back to pit lane while Bourdais celebrated, Bourdais becoming the seventh different winner in the last eight races.

“It’s a heck of a feeling after we couldn’t get it more wrong yesterday,” Bourdais said. “We did everything wrong yesterday and everything right today.”

For the fans that braved the rain, cold and windy conditions they were treated to an intense battle at the end that saw some of the big names in the race crash out.

On Lap 59 Chip Ganassi Racing’s Charlie Kimball punted his teammate Scott Dixon into the tire barrier when Kimball was unaware that Dixon was beside him. Dixon was running 10th at the time and entered the race third in the championship. On a Lap 61 restart, Bourdais was in front of Montoya, Sato and Rahal, while further back in the field Jack Hawksworth spun and the race was slowed for another caution for debris in Turn 11.

Munoz earns first IndyCar win in rain-shortened Detroit Race 1

Four laps later the green flag waved and Sato and Rahal blew past Montoya. But Will Power crashed into the wall, slid across the track and hit Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves exiting Turn 2. That crash brought out the Red Flag to stop the race.

“It was pretty mixed up there on the start so for me to say what happened I don’t know,” team owner Roger Penske said. “What a race for the fans here. They have waited all day here in Detroit. They are going to see something exciting. I think they are all right on fuel and they will make it without a problem now.”

INDYCAR officials told the teams when the cars were released from pit road it would become a timed race.

The Red Flag period lasted 10 minutes and 18 seconds and Bourdais was in front of Sato, Montoya and Rahal. The green flag waved with 3 minutes 24 seconds left in the race and Bourdais sailed into Turn 1 with the lead. Sato, who had six push-to-pass opportunities left, closed on the four-time Champ Car Series champion but Bourdais was able to keep a healthy lead over Sato’s Honda.

This is the only double-header on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule. Carlos Munoz scored his first career IndyCar win in Saturday’s rain-shortened race that ended after 47 laps.

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