Ryan Hunter-Reay won his first Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, but that doesn't mean he's the favorite to win the Dual in Detroit on May 31-June 1.
The tough street course is a different and more arduous racing experience than the Indy 500, says Hunter Reay.
Speaking to Autoweek in 2013, Hunter-Reay said this about the two-day IndyCar portion of the event:
It's very physical.
The biggest beating you get, right now [after one race], later on I'll still have a headache just from the constant pounding. All your joints in the morning hurt from street courses.
We could do a double [race] at Indianapolis and be fresh as a rose the next morning. Here it's a different deal.
That doesn't sound like a man looking forward to the experience in Detroit. It could be assumed that Hunter-Reay may be more resigned to a finish lower than first even more after his big win at the Brickyard.
With the win, Hunter-Reay extended his lead in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings to 40 points over Will Power.
It was a pulse-pounding win over three-time winner Helio Castroneves. One of the two men led for all but one of the final 26 laps. Hunter-Reay took the lead for good during lap 197 and held off Castroneves by a mere .0605 seconds.
Even with the season Hunter-Reay has had and his big win on Sunday, he's a bad bet to win in Detroit. He's right, it is a tough event to handle. It'll be made even tougher after a week of media attention and such following his win in Indy.
There's a reason no driver has won Indy and in Detroit since the event was put into its current IndyCar format.
Who Might Emerge as a Favorite
Ever so close to his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory on Sunday, it had to hurt to miss out on more glory at the Brickyard.
Chris Jenkins of USA Today thinks Castroneves may have a great poker face. Jenkins wrote:
"If Helio Castroneves was disappointed by coming so close to a fourth Indianapolis 500 victory, he hid it pretty well afterward."
Radio and TV personality Phillip B Wilson quoted the gracious Castroneves in this tweet:
Even after such a close defeat, Castroneves still has to feel good about his performance, and his current third-place spot in the IndyCar Series standings.
He has won in Detroit during the CART series in 2000 and 2001. In fact, he also won the Indy 500 in 2001.
He should be hungry to win and gain ground on Hunter-Reay in Detroit.
Pagenaud won in Detroit last year, and he won the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 10.
His 12th-place finish at the Indy 500 was surely a little disappointing, but a win in Detroit would almost make up for it.
Having already experienced success on the course, no one should be surprised to see Pagenaud win again in Detroit.