Justin satisfied with 5th in Edmonton
Justin and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing scored their first top-5 of the season as the IZOD IndyCar Series got a taste of the new track layout at Edmonton City Centre Airport. For the first time this season Justin had a trouble-free race, enjoying the strong pace of the No. 22 Z-Line Designs car as he moved steadily through the field from 15th at the start. Will Power led home a 1-2 for Team Penske, with Helio Castroneves the runner up and Dario Franchitti (Chip Ganassi Racing) rounding out the podium. Justin’s team-mate Ana Beatriz was 13th in the No. 24 Ipiranga car.
Justin started the race on the harder Firestone compound, saving the alternate red-sidewalled tyres for his second stint. He moved up to 14th on the opening lap and, after an initial yellow caution period, had a great restart on Lap 5, moving up three further spots to 11th. By Lap 8 he was 10th, before he and the rest of the front-runners settled into fuel-saving mode for the remainder of the opening stint.
The first pit-stop came slightly earlier than expected after another full course caution was called on Lap 25. Taking on the softer Firestone tyres at his first stop on Lap 26, Justin was immediately on the pace as the race got underway again on Lap 29, moving up to 9th when another car spun at Turn 1, before making short work of overtaking Dario Franchitti (Chip Ganassi Racing) and Sebastien Bourdais (Dale Coyne Racing) to move up to 7th by Lap 32. Justin was up to 6th after Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport) was given a drive-through penalty on Lap 41 and, as other cars ahead pitted, he finished the stint in 2nd - coming out on top of a lap-long battle with Dario Franchitti - as he pitted for the second and final time on Lap 54.
Back in 6th again after the pit-stops cycled through, it took a while to get the harder black Firestones up to temperature, but Justin stayed in touch with fourth-placed Ryan Briscoe (Team Penske) and fifth-placed Tony Kanaan (KV Racing) throughout the final stint. When Briscoe, who had made his second pitstop earlier than the other cars, was forced to make a late-race stop for fuel, Justin moved up to 5th, but there wasn’t enough time to get past Tony Kanaan before the chequered flag flew.
“The Z-Line Designs car was pretty good in the race today," said Justin. "We were able to dive down on the inside of a few people. I had a good battle with Tony Kanaan and Dario Franchitti, so I was quite pleased with that. We managed to stay out of trouble and no one hit my car for a change, so that’s a bonus. I think we were finally able to show what we should have been showing all year. It wasn’t our strongest performance, but it was our best result, so it feels good. The guys did a fantastic job and we can head into Mid-Ohio with our heads held high.”