He won the pole earlier in the day with his Honda-powered auto and led a career-high 55 laps of the 70-lap race. The win was the fifth of Rahal's IndyCar career and the fourth since 2015.
Rahal led 41 of 70 laps in a race that ran without a caution until Canadian James Hinchcliffe's Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda stopped on the course on lap 66. James Hinchcliffe, a native of Oakville, Ont., overcame a spinout on the first lap of the race and finished third.
On a three-stop strategy, Josef Newgarden pushed early to get up to fifth place in the No. 2 hum by Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, and then leap-frogged past polesitter Takuma Sato, Will Power and Simon Pagenaud on his final stop to get up to second on track. Indianapolis 500 victor Takuma Sato, who started on the pole, finished fourth.
Graham Rahal completed a sweep of IndyCar's Detroit double-header on Sunday winning his second race in as many days with another dominant performance.
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Scott Dixon of New Zealand, who won in Detroit in 2012, finished second. Castroneves' lap of 1 minute, 15.1511 seconds (112.573 mph) in the second practice put the driver of the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet atop the combined speed chart for the day. Dixon's vehicle broken up into pieces amid sparks and flames.
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Qualifying for Race 2 at Belle Isle starts at 10:45 a.m. ET Sunday and streams live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com.
"All things considered, everybody's pretty happy", Dixon said.
Rahal's wife, NHRA drag racer Courtney Force, had her auto engulfed in flames Friday night.
"For me, I think it's the greatest racing on four wheels on the planet", Hinchcliffe said. "But she seems to be OK". Dixon leads Castroneves by two points heading into the race. "It's hard. Obviously when you have it, you don't want to miss opportunities, but hopefully the weather holds up and we can do it again". He was one of five drivers to lead at least one lap and had his best finish since winning at Long Beach in April.
"I think it's awesome", Barber victor James Hinchcliffe said about the recent run of parity.
The open-wheel series shifts to Texas Motor Speedway, where Rahal is the defending champion, for a race under the lights Saturday night.