Graham Rahal wins 1st of 2 Detroit Grand Prix IndyCar races
DETROIT (AP) Graham Rahal won the first of two Detroit Grand Prix races, easily holding off Scott Dixon on Saturday.
Rahal won the pole earlier in the day with his Honda-powered car and became the seventh IndyCar driver to win the first seven races of the year. He raced to his fifth career victory and fourth in two-plus years for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
Rahal made a last-lap pass of James Hinchcliffe for his previous win last year, when he beat Hinchcliffe by eight-thousandths of a second in the closest finish for an IndyCar race at Texas.
His victory in Detroit was less dramatic, finishing six-plus seconds ahead of Dixon for Chip Ganassi Racing and leading a career-high 55 laps of the 70-lap race.
Hinchcliffe was third for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, giving Honda the top three places in the race in the shadows of General Motors' world headquarters.
Josef Newgarden, driving for Team Penske, was fourth in the only car with a Chevy engine among the top seven in the 22-car field.
Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato was eighth with his Honda-powered car for Andretti Autosport.
IndyCar will conclude its only doubleheader of races Sunday on Belle Isle.
THE DROUGHT: Helio Castroneves trailed only Rahal with 11 laps led, but finished seventh to extend his winless streak to 51 races since winning his third Detroit Grand Prix in 2014.
BOUNCING BACK: Hinchcliffe spun out on the opening lap and was fortunate his fellow drivers avoided hitting him, leaving his car unscathed. He was one of five drivers to lead at least one lap and had his best finish since winning at Long Beach in April.
IndyCar completes its only doubleheader of the season, racing again at Detroit on Sunday. Following that race, the series will shift to Texas Motor Speedway for a race under the lights on June 10.
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