Pato O’Ward snatched victory away from Josef Newgarden in the final laps of the second Detroit Grand Prix to take the lead in the IndyCar Championship by just one point over Alex Palou.
Despite starting 16th on the grid, O’Ward was able to charge his way through the field to claim his second win of the season, becoming the first multiple winner of the 2021 NTT IndyCar season.
O’Ward seized his opportunity on the final restart from fifth place with seven laps remaining, the pass on Newgarden for the lead came with three laps to go and included the pair banging wheels on the way to Turn 7.
Newgarden had led the entire race until he was passed by the Mexican on lap 68. His strategy of running on the softer red Firestone tyres for the final stint left him vulnerable to attack.
Despite his tyres having fallen off the cliff in the closing laps, the two-time series champion was able to fend off a train of cars behind to cross the line in second place.
Alex Palou turned around his fortunes in the second race of the weekend to keep himself in the championship fight as the Spaniard the final spot on the podium for Chip Ganassi Racing.
Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta appeared to be the challenger to Newgarden as the final stint unfolded but came under pressure in the final laps forcing the 21-year old to settle for fourth place.
Graham Rahal would pick up fifth place ahead of a resurgent Will Power who was able to make his way through the field from 20th on the grid.
Six-time champion Scott Dixon lacked pace throughout the race after a lap 1 clash with Romain Grosjean and Alexander Rossi, the team has not confirmed if damage was the cause.
Simon Pagenaud crossed the line in eighth ahead of race one winner Marcus Ericsson with the Swede able to keep his car in the race after a clash with Rinus Veekay and the Turn 7 wall on lap 15.
Santino Ferrucci was able to move up from 12th to finish 10th after his RLL team spent the time between qualifying and the race preparing an ill-prepared back-up car thanks to a heavy crash in qualifying.
Round nine of the season will see IndyCar head to the Wisconsin countryside for the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America on June 19-20.