"We knew the fuel window was going to be tight, but we just had to go for it"
Houston, Texas (5 October 2013) – Despite suffering from a flat tire early in the race, Justin Wilson charged from a seventh row starting spot to take a third place finish for Dale Coyne Racing with the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda in Saturday’s Grand Prix of Houston.
The run to third backs up Wilson’s fourth place finish in the most recent IndyCar round at Baltimore as well as his podium finish in GRAND-AM competition for Michael Shank Racing last weekend at Lime Rock Park.
Returning to the Houston street circuit with the advantage of some previous experience at the track in Champ Car competition, Wilson led the time sheets in the final practice session on Friday.
A red-flag truncated qualifying session on Saturday morning kept Wilson from converting that early speed into a strong grid spot, as the Honda-powered pilot had just one flying lap to lodge a fast lap time as he was only able to score 14th on the grid.
But with a strong Dale Coyne Racing machine underneath him on the bumpy Houston street circuit, a shrewd strategy call from engineer Bill Pappas to adapt to the flat tire setback, and a healthy bit of speed all day long from Wilson, the team was able to open the hot Houston weekend with Wilson on the podium.
“It was not a bad day today, the Boy Scouts of America car was great,” said Wilson. “We tried to move up at the start, but about 15 laps in, I felt the tire going down, and we had to come in a bit early. We knew the fuel window was going to be tight, but we just had to go for it. We had to conserve fuel a little bit, but I was just pushing, the whole way. Hopefully we can be a little stronger in qualifying and have no problems and have a better chance to win one of these!”
The affable Briton will have another chance at victory on Sunday as the IndyCar Series stages the second 90-lap race of the double-header weekend.
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