TORONTO (13 July 2013) – Justin Wilson had been hoping to return to the Toronto podium as IndyCar staged Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Saturday, but the Dale Coyne Racing pilot instead had to fight from the back of the pack to score a 10th place finish with the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda.
Wilson was poised to open the 85-lap race through the streets of Toronto from eighth on the grid, but was forced to start from the rear of the field when his car stalled as he exited pit lane for the pace laps.
IndyCar was set to make its first standing start in series history, but the start was aborted due to a stalled car on course. Per IndyCar rules, the race began under yellow and a running start was implemented when the green flag flew on Lap 5.
Wilson started from the 23rd position and worked his way into 20th within the first seven laps. Wilson managed his black Firestone tires perfectly throughout his opening stint, running longer than most before bringing the No. 19 Honda machine to pit lane while running fourth on Lap 31.
He once again made great use of his tires to stretch his pit window and Dale Coyne Racing called him to pit road with 22 laps remaining. With a set of fresh Firestone red tires, Wilson was ready to make a charge forward. But as he returned to the track, side to side contact with the No. 83 entry was deemed avoidable and Wilson lost much of the ground he had gained with his strong start as he was forced to serve a drive through penalty.
“Things were going well and I went to pass him and I was alongside before the brake zone and when I hit the brakes I thought it was going to be an easy pass,” said Wilson of the incident. “But I didn’t realize that he was taking a short cut across the inside of the corner and he started turning. That was a bit frustrating.”
Wilson remained on the lead lap but lost valuable track position – dropping to 17th in line. He had made his way back up to 14th when the race’s final full course caution was displayed with just four laps to go. That set up a one-lap dash to the checkered flag and Wilson maneuvered his way forward to take 11th at the finish, which then translated into a tenth place result following post-race penalty disbursement to another entry by IndyCar race control.
“It was a difficult day,” said Wilson. “After the stall on the pre-grid, I had to start at the back of the grid which seemed a little harsh but that’s the rules. We just had to make our way through. The car was working well. We had a good car, we were quick and we were coming through. I really wanted to get a good result for the Boy Scouts of America guys but obviously we’ll concentrate on tomorrow now. We’re going to try to tweak it just a little bit overnight so we can find a little bit more speed and I think we have a good chance tomorrow.”
Wilson and his Dale Coyne Racing team will now focus on tomorrow’s second race of the doubleheader weekend. After experiencing electrical issues during Saturday’s 30-minute qualifying session for Race 2, Wilson will start the second 85-lap event through the streets of Toronto Sunday afternoon from 14th on the grid.
The provisional points standings have Wilson eighth in the championship standings for Dale Coyne Racing.
Justin Wilson Racing