Race Weekend Central

Will Power Beats Alexander Rossi in Nail-Biting 2022 Detroit Grand Prix

The final 70 laps to be raced around Detroit’s historic Belle Isle circuit ended with Will Power beating a hard-charging Alexander Rossi to the flag by just one second.

Power now leads the NTT IndyCar Series points standings for the second time this year, becoming the final Team Penske driver to win in 2022 in the process. Power leads Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson by three points, 255 to 252.

“It’s just redemption from last year,” Power said in victory lane, referencing his heartbreaking loss at last year’s Detroit doubleheader.

“Very, very good performance mentally from me. I always judge my performances, and I really left nothing on the table and I got right in that sweet spot of the zone.”

Tire strategy pushed both Power and Rossi to the limit of their composure, with Rossi lighting up the time charts and Power hanging on desperately to a set of tires that were rapidly deteriorating.

Power was among a trio of cars which blitzed the front end of the field after starting on black tires. Followed by Scott Dixon and Alex Palou, Power surged to the lead on lap 15 as polesitter Josef Newgarden’s red-walled tires fell off the cliff.

Power and Rossi both started deep in the field (16th and 11th, respectively), with Power starting on the harder, more durable black-walled Firestones and Rossi on the softer red tires. Rossi opted for an unorthodox strategy early on, pitting for the preferred black tires on the race’s fourth lap, committing to a three-stop strategy and planning to run the black tires to the checkered flag.

By starting on reds and pitting so early, Rossi’s strategy placed the No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda on the most ideal footing, not having to worry about fulfilling IndyCar’s stipulation that every car run both red and black tires throughout the race.

Power, on the other hand, started on blacks, pitted for blacks on lap 26 and ran those tires out until lap 51, trying to minimize his time on the quickly degrading red tires.

Rossi emerged from his final stop (lap 47) a whopping 44 seconds behind Power. By the time Power rejoined from his final stop, Rossi sat 16 seconds behind the 2014 champion.

The two furiously fought against backmarkers and lapped traffic, with Rossi closing in every lap. Power’s advantage sat at 12.6 seconds with 15 to go, then 10.5 seconds with eight to go. At the three-to-go point, Power’s tires hit the wall. Five seconds became four, then three, then two seconds at the drop of the white flag.

With Power stuck behind Jack Harvey, Rossi was within grasp of his first win since Road America 2019 when the checkered flag flew, but Power and his sizable reserve of push to pass held on for the 41st win of his career.

Dixon came home in third, a welcome result after last week’s disappointment in Indianapolis. Newgarden ended the day in fourth with Pato O’Ward in fifth.

Rookie Kyle Kirkwood, fresh off announcing his move to Rossi’s seat for 2023, looked set to pick up a career best finish of third place after the final round of pit stops cycled through. Kirkwood, like Power, saved his red tires until the final stint and was aiming to hang on to whatever track position he had gained on black tires in spite of the inevitable decay the reds would undergo.

Come lap 50, Kirkwood, on cold tires, slid wide in turn 3 and smacked his left rear against the wall, breaking a toe link in the process. In that split second, a career day turned into a slow and bumpy ride back to pit road for Kirkwood’s third retirement of the 2022 season.

Helio Castroneves and Graham Rahal join the rookie in the DNF column. Rahal likewise broke a toe link after getting loose on corner exit (lap 2), while Castroneves experienced an unusual electrical problem that interfered with both his dashboard and gearbox. The 2021 Indy 500 winner retired after a steering wheel replacement failed to rectify the problem.

Up next for the NTT IndyCar Series is the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America on June 12. Coverage will begin at 12:30 pm ET on NBC.

The finishing order for the 2022 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix is:

1. Power
2. Rossi
3. Dixon
4. Newgarden
5. O’Ward
6. Palou
7. Ericsson
8. Colton Herta
9. Simon Pagenaud
10. Felix Rosenqvist
11. David Malukas
12. Conor Daly
13. Takuma Sato
14. Christian Lundgaard
15. Jack Harvey
16. Rinus VeeKay
17. Romain Grosjean
18. Devlin DeFrancesco
19. Scott McLaughlin
20. Dalton Kellett
21. Santino Ferrucci
22. Jimmie Johnson
23. Tatiana Calderon
24. Kirkwood
25. Castroneves
26. Rahal

About the author

Alex joined Frontstretch in March of 2021 and currently serves as the IndyCar editor, as well as contributing to Formula 1 coverage.

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