2018 Dual in Detroit preview

DETROIT, MI - JUNE 03: James Hinchcliffe (5) during the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Race 1 on June 3, 2017, on the streets of Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - JUNE 03: James Hinchcliffe (5) during the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Race 1 on June 3, 2017, on the streets of Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

IndyCar’s Dual in Detroit is the 2018 IndyCar season’s only doubleheader weekend. Here’s what to watch for in IndyCar from Belle Isle.

The Verizon IndyCar Series doesn’t give its teams room to breathe after the Indy 500. Just six days after the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, IndyCar comes to Detroit to run not one but two events at The Raceway at Belle Isle.

The Dual in Detroit is IndyCar’s last remaining doubleheader after the Honda Indy Toronto was cut down to a single race; there’s something special about that, because two races is double the fun for fans. But it’s also double the work for race teams, and especially on a shortened schedule, it’s a real challenge.

So the 2018 Dual in Detroit isn’t just about who wins these two races on Saturday and Sunday. It’s about survival, and how these teams perform when they’re already pretty worn down and could all use a break. Who can keep their momentum going, and who might run out of gas? How are we almost to the halfway point of the 2018 IndyCar season?

Let’s break the race down in our Dual in Detroit preview.


  • Fatigue: Teams will be in the middle of running four races in two weeks (counting next weekend’s trip to Texas). That is a very demanding workload, and it’s the hardest part of the season. That could lead to some very understandable mistakes. Or, for those who hit their stride in the Month of May, maybe they’re in a groove and they’ll be able to carry over some of that momentum. But it’d be foolish to think the compressed time frame won’t have an effect somehow.
  • Seeing double: The Dual in Detroit is the sole doubleheader left on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the series does away with doubleheaders altogether at some point in the near future. But that also changes the approach, because teams don’t have a lot of time to adapt between Saturday’s Race 1 and Sunday’s Race 2, plus there’s modified qualifying. How will that play out on the track?
  • Home field performance: Detroit is the backyard of Chevrolet, so the Chevrolet drivers (particularly Team Penske’s drivers) are expected to do well here. But for the first time in a while, Honda has been giving Chevy a fight for that manufacturer’s championship. Will Chevy be able to do well in front of its home crowd, or will Honda continue to upend the status quo in 2018?


  • Will Power: It’s a given to put the newly minted Indianapolis 500 winner on our short list this week. Power is on a two-race win streak, so he has to be the favorite coming in. But he had an up and down effort in the 2017 Dual in Detroit — he placed third in the second race, but 18th in the first. So which Will Power are we going to see this weekend?
  • James Hinchcliffe: Make no mistake about it, Hinchcliffe needs points at Detroit, and as many of them as he can get. His absence from the Indy 500 didn’t impact his place in the 2018 IndyCar standings as much as we feared, but he’s still just inside the Top 10. If he wants to be a championship contender, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t be based on his performance so far, he needs to get on the podium at least once in the next 48 hours.
  • Graham Rahal: Last year, Graham Rahal blew our minds when he swept the Dual in Detroit. Last time out, he impressed us by taking a terrible Indy 500 qualifying and getting a 10th place finish out of it. So what’s he going to do for an encore? Rahal is sitting sixth in the IndyCar championship hunt, and is the only IndyCar driver who hasn’t finished outside the Top 10 in any race this season. Another good run at Belle Isle could push him even closer to his first title.

Next: Updated 2018 IndyCar standings before Detroit

The 2018 Dual in Detroit is Saturday, June 2 and Sunday, June 3 both at 3:30 p.m. ET. For full coverage of the 2018 IndyCar season, follow the Motor Sports category at FanSided.