• Last-lap move for a podium finish comes up short
• Honda drivers lock out front row in qualifying
In a race that in many ways resembled Saturday’s “Dual 1” opening race of the Detroit Grand Prix Verizon IndyCar Series doubleheader, poorly-timed caution flags and varying pit strategies left many Honda-powered contenders unable to challenge for victory in Sunday’s second race, despite an all-Honda front row in qualifying and a late-lap charge from James Hinchcliffe.
As in yesterday’s race, early yellows from on-track incidents sent many in the field to the pits as early as Lap 3, once again leading to a continuously shifting race order throughout the 70-lap contest. At the end of the day, those on a “three-stop strategy” and pitting for the first time on Lap 11 had the advantage, led by Helio Castroneves, as the Team Penske driver scored his first win of 2014.
Of the Honda-powered contingent, pole qualifier Takuma Sato’s A.J. Foyt team chose the right strategy, but Sato’s chances for victory evaporated when he was hit and spun on Lap 35 by Ryan Briscoe; and further contact from Marco Andretti in the closing laps resulted in an unrepresentative 18th-place finish.
For the second day in a row, Hinchcliffe started on the outside of the front row, second, but his team’s “two stop” strategy was nullified by the timing of the race’s four cautions. On the final lap, an attempt to pass Charlie Kimball for the third and final step on the podium came up short, and Hinchcliffe slipped to fifth behind Scott Dixon.
On a similar pit stop strategy, Honda-powered Schmidt Peterson Motorsport teammates Simon Pagenaud took the checkers in sixth, while his rookie teammate, Mikhail Aleshin, finished seventh.