Justin scored his best result of the 2012 IndyCar season so far in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, coming from 21st on the grid to finish 7th in a thrilling race, the hottest in Indy 500 history. The #18 Sonny’s Bar-B-Q Honda was especially quick on long runs and Justin was running comfortably in 3rd before losing out in some frenetic late-race restarts. Dario Franchitti took his third Indy 500 victory under yellow ahead of his Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate Scott Dixon with Tony Kanaan (KV Racing) third. Justin’s Dale Coyne Racing team-mate James Jakes finished 15th.
Justin made a scintillating start and drove round the outside of the field on the opening lap to make up 9 spots. But the Sonny’s car then struggled with understeer and Justin was unable to move above 13th until tyre pressure adjustments during his third pit-stop on Lap 76 brought the car back to life. After that Justin was on the move again, easily picking his way through the field and up to 4th before a problem on his fourth pit-stop on Lap 119 dropped him back to 12th. Undeterred, Justin clawed his way back up to 3rd by Lap 177 and looked like he might be able to stay with the Ganassi cars all the way to the finish. But three late-race cautions interrupted the momentum and the Sonny’s car struggled to get up to speed on the restarts. With the race finishing under yellow there was no time to race back into podium contention.
“The Sonny’s Bar-B-Q Honda was fantastic and the whole Dale Coyne Racing team did a great job,” said Justin. “I really enjoyed driving it and had a lot of fun out there today. We had a great start and the car was running really well on the long runs. I was hoping it was going to go green for longer as we seemed much better on the long runs, but it was nice to be mixing it in the biggest race of the year.”