Rahal races to weekend sweep at Belle Isle

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DETROIT – Graham Rahal completed a near-perfect Verizon IndyCar Series weekend, racing to a sweep of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear doubleheader with a dominating performance for the second straight day.

Rahal, in the No. 15 SoldierStrong / TurnsforTroops.com Honda, survived a two-lap dash to the checkered flag, holding off Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden by 1.1772 seconds to back up his victory Saturday on the Raceway at Belle Isle Park’s temporary street course. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver becomes the first driver to sweep a Verizon IndyCar Series doubleheader weekend since Scott Dixon won both races on the streets of Toronto in 2013.

CHEVROLET DETROIT GRAND PRIX: Race 2 unofficial results

With the two wins, Rahal vaulted nine spots in the championship standings, to sixth place after eight of 17 races. The 28-year-old Ohioan is the first driver to win two races this season.

Rahal led 41 of the 70 laps on the 2.35-mile, 14-turn circuit that has hosted 24 Indy car races since 1992. The race ran caution-free until James Hinchcliffe’s No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda stopped on course on Lap 66. As the cars packed up behind the pace car, Spencer Pigot’s No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet pulled off with smoke trailing from the rear of the car.

INDYCAR officials decided to red-flag the race, bringing all cars into the pits at the conclusion of Lap 67, to give track workers time to clean up both incidents. The green flag waved at the end of Lap 68 and Rahal pulled away from Newgarden in the No. 2 hum by Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. Will Power finished third in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

Pole sitter and reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato led 22 laps but finished fourth in the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda. Scott Dixon finished sixth in the No. 9 Camping World Honda and the four-time series champion retained the points lead he grabbed Saturday. Dixon unofficially has 303 points, eight more than Helio Castroneves and 11 more than Sato.

The Verizon IndyCar Series returns to Texas Motor Speedway for the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 on June 10, where Rahal is the defending champion. Live coverage starts on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network at 8 p.m. ET.

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