Graham Rahal Takes Pole for Dual in Detroit Race #1

Posted June 04, 2017

Graham Rahal will start Race 1 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix from pole position around the Raceway at Belle Isle Park, after a confusing conclusion to the qualifying session.

Rahal ended an eight-year pole drought earlier in the day before retaining his lead at the start despite coming under pressure from Penske's Helio Castroneves, with the Brazilian eager to pick up his first victory in three years.

He raced to his fifth career victory and fourth in two-plus years for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

But Saturday it was all about the 28-year-old second-generation driver who joined his father, Bob, as a Detroit victor (the elder Rahal won in 1992).

Scott Dixon finished second and James Hinchciffe finished third, followed by Josef Newgarden in a Chevy and Alexander Rossi in fifth. The IndyCar series leader will start outside of Rahal this afternoon while Indianapolis 500 victor Takuma Sato jumped into the 3rd spot on the grid. The parity could continue Sunday when the season's only two-race event runs its second half at 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC).

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The 22nd Indy auto race at Belle Isle tied a record for fewest full-course cautions (two) and set a new standard for fewest caution laps (six).

Dixon persevered to finish second despite a painful left ankle, the result of his spectacular crash during the May 28 running of the Indianapolis 500.

Castroneves had turned a lap of 1:13.8901.

It is also the first street-course victory by the Rahal team since co-owner Bobby Rahal won the inaugural Belle Isle race 25 years ago.

Mikhail Aleshin, of Russian Federation, drives through the second turn during the first race of the IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix auto racing doubleheader, Saturday, June 3, 2017, in Detroit.

"Then we got that yellow at the right time right after our (Lap 25 pit) stop".

IndyCar will conclude its only doubleheader of races Sunday on Belle Isle.