There was only one constant during the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, the IZOD IndyCar Series' first race on the parkland street course since 2008.
That was the speed, efficiency and determination of Scott Dixon, who led from green flag to checkered flags of the shortened event.
What was originally intended to be 90 laps over the 2.07-mile, 14-turn bumpfest that abuts the Detroit River turned into 60 laps after just shy of two hours worth of a red flag to repair three specific areas on the (mostly) concrete circuit where patches were coming up and causing accidents.
After finishing second in the Indianapolis 500 last week to teammate Dario Franchitti, it was the Kiwi's turn to shine. The margin of victory was an unrepresentative 1.9628 seconds as Dixon had the field totally covered, no matter what. Franchitti finished second after his heroic drive from 14th on the 25-car grid.
After finishing second four times this year, it was Dixon's turn--finally. Earning his 28th career victory, the Kiwi passed Johnny Rutherford on the all-time win list.
"It was a fun day. Pretty crazy," Dixon said. "It's no doubt that the last two weekends have been a big jump for us in the championship; we try our best and we try to achieve the maximum that we can. I'll continue on and hopefully we can ride a bit of a wave."
This was the first back-to-back Team Target one-two result and the second win in a row for Honda--on Chevrolet's home turf. For Franchitti, who'd been suffering from a bout of the flu all weekend, it was a great result. After breaking his front wing early in the going, the reigning champion simply soldiered on.
"With our car breaking the front wing, the more the run went on the more understeer it got. I thought in the first couple of laps (of the final run to the checkers) that I had a chance but I couldn't; he was too quick," Franchitti said.
Dixon barreled away from pole position at the green flags and had second-starter Will Power in hand from the get-go, with EJ Viso holding up the train behind third-placed Simon Pagenaud. The rookie Frenchman was elated to give Honda its first 1-2-3 result for the year.
"Tremendous day for Honda," Pagenaud said. "The guys have done such a great job providing us with a super good powerplant and I've got to thank my team. It's amazing to be a one-car team and fighting against Penske and Ganassi. I've found it's living the dream. So we're very happy today."
Viso managed to keep position for quite a while, spurning impatience behind him that resulted in a few broken wings - he even spun and still no one could get by. Viso would finish 18th, the penultimate car still running and a lap down. It was just the nature of this track.
As usual the bumpy track had its way with everyone, taking out 2008 winner Justin Wilson early in the going when he slapped the wall. Wilson would continue to finish 22nd after his Dale Coyne Racing crew made repairs, but finally succumbed later in the race. Third-starter Alex Tagliani had to pit when electronics failed before the green flag--he would persevere to finish 10th.
It was a crazy day all around, one that failed to see a caution until the track began to fall apart, as seam sealers that had been in place began to chunk, all due to the massive amounts of downforce generated by the Indy cars' Dallara DW12 chassis. James Hinchcliffe, who had finished every lap of every race coming into this contest went into the tires at the seventh turn when he went over such debris, forcing INDYCAR to throw caution on lap 42 and then red--for just under two hours.