DETROIT -- With the eyes of corporate Detroit watching and General Motors CEO Mary Barra on his timing stand, Roger Penske delivered on Sunday.
Penske, the driving force behind the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, saw his drivers Helio Castroneves and Will Power score a 1-2 finish in Race 2 of the Dual in Detroit. Team Penske swept the Detroit weekend, as Power won the opening race on Saturday afternoon.
Penske, who was a key figure when Detroit hosted the Super Bowl a few years ago, is one of the city's most important corporate figures. His guests on Sunday included Barra and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
Nick Laham/Getty ImagesHelio Castroneves was untouchable Sunday at Belle Isle.
Penske Corporation, based in suburban Detroit, revived the Belle Isle race in 2007 and has grown it ever since. Blessed by spectacular sunny weather, the IndyCar twin bill (which also included the Pirelli World Challenge and the TUDOR United Sports Car Championship) drew healthy crowds each day.
"We had three great days and there's no question right now that people see what we have here at Belle Isle," Penske said. "At a race like this, people can come and bring their kids. Seeing all the kids here was the most important thing for me.
"From a racing standpoint, you dream of these kind of weekends -- we won both races and sat on the pole," he added. "I better get out of here in a hurry!"
Pit stop strategy wasn't as critical in Sunday's race as it was on Saturday, the biggest mover being Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon, who finished fourth after starting from the back row.
Like most of the leaders, Castroneves pitted under yellow on Lap 11. Mike Conway seized the lead at that point, but Ed Carpenter Racing's strategy of making Conway the only driver to start the race on standard tires backfired as he dropped through the field during his stint on the alternate tires.
Castroneves seized control of the event by half distance, but he had to make two perfect restarts late in the race to hold off Power and third-place finisher Charlie Kimball.
"That was a great race for several reasons," Castroneves said. "One, we were racing hard to the very end. My car was so fast and I could do whatever I wanted. It's very rare you have that scenario.
"To be honest, fifth place [Saturday] was great points, but I was very disappointed because we had a dominant car. Today Roger had the strategy to put me in front. I don't want to sound cocky, but I was really confident. I knew exactly what my car was doing, and when you have a car like that, you just have to deliver."
Power found himself embroiled in controversy again after being involved in a first-lap incident that ended with Josef Newgarden and Graham Rahal in the Turn 3 wall. Power looked to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, but INDYCAR called him in for a drive-through penalty on Lap 7 for instigating avoidable contact.
The Australian once again had one of the fastest cars and he was able to work his way back up to another podium finish.
"It was a bit of a surprise to end up second," Power said. "Fantastic weekend for Roger and for Chevy. I have a feeling we would have won without that penalty, but we've been on the right and wrong end of those calls.
"I wasn't going to attack [Helio] at the end," Power added. "A 1-2 for Roger is better than two cars in the wall. Second is good points instead."
Power was the big winner on the Detroit weekend, moving back into the championship lead with a 19-point advantage over teammate Castroneves.
Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay had a miserable weekend in Detroit, failing to finish either race. Hunter-Reay is now third in the standings, 27 points behind Power after arriving in Detroit with a 40-point cushion.