Josef Newgarden got a break and took full advantage of it.
Newgarden was fortunate that a yellow flag came out when his race strategist called for a pit stop, helping the Team Penske driver take a lead he kept Saturday in the first of two Detroit Grand Prix races.
The second race is Sunday.
“Tim Cindric made the call of the race in my opinion,” Newgarden said. “He got us the win again. We had to execute, but getting that call from Tim was perfect.”
Newgarden finished nearly a second in front of Alexander Rossi on the rain-slicked course to take the IndyCar points lead. Rossi also was second in the Indianapolis 500.
Rossi came up just short after earning the pole and leading the first 18 of 43 laps in the race. The Andretti Autosport driver lost the lead when he went in for a pit stop just before Ed Jones hit a wall, bringing out a yellow flag while Newgarden was making his pit stop.
“He just got lucky with the yellow,” Rossi said.
Rossi acknowledged Newgarden had more than good fortune on his side as he failed to catch him on the 2.35-mile road course on the banks of the Detroit River.
Photo: Carlos Osorio / Associated Press
Image 1 1
“I tried to push him into a mistake, but he’s a great driver,” Rossi said. “We were kind of just stuck.”
Takuma Sato finished third on Belle Isle, followed by rookie Felix Rosenqvist and Ryan Hunter-Reay, who closed strong after spinning out and dropping to 15th early in the race. Simon Pagenaud, who entered the race leading the series in points, was sixth after beginning 13th during a single-file start.
NASCAR: At Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., William Byron turned a lap of 173.494 mph to win the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race.
Byron won his second straight pole in the No. 24 Chevrolet, following up his first-place start last week at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Byron opened the season with a pole in the Daytona 500 but has yet to win a Cup race in 49 career starts. Kyle Busch joins Byron in the front row in the No. 18 Toyota. Clint Bowyer starts third, followed by Erik Jones and Brad Keselowski.
• Cole Custer slipped past Tyler Reddick in the final turn and held in to win the Xfinty Series race in overtime at Pocono. Custer won his third race of the year for Stewart-Haas Racing.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Josef-Newgarden-wins-first-of-two-Detroit-Grand-13916452.php.