Fuel misjudgement costs Justin a probable podium at Mid-Ohio An apparent misjudgement on strategy took the ...
Fuel misjudgement costs Justin a probable podium at Mid-Ohio
An apparent misjudgement on strategy took the #18 Z-Line Designs car out of contention for a win at Mid-Ohio, and an almost certain podium finish.
Starting from the front row, Justin went past pole-sitter Ryan Briscoe (Team Penske) on lap six at Turn 11, and built a commanding lead. At that point it was looking good for a repeat of the hard-fought victory at Watkins Glen. At the first pit stop, Justin's 7s lead was reduced to 4s as Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi) made up some time, leapfrogged Briscoe, and moved into second place.
Justin had started on the softer alternate tyres and clearly the car was not as quick on the primary tyres taken at the stop. Dixon quickly closed the gap and as he chased Justin on Lap 37, the lapped car of Milka Duno (Dreyer and Reinbold) acted like a roadblock in Turn 5, and Dixon went past as Justin found himself boxed in behind the slower car.
Justin kept up the pressure and was looking good for a podium if not a race win when the window opened for the final round of pit stops. Incredibly, the team left Justin out a lap too long. When the car spluttered down pit lane at 25 mph on Lap 62 with an empty tank, the fuel-starved engine inevitably died along with Justin's hopes of victory. With the mess sorted out, Justin rejoined in 15th place and could only gain two places in the remaining laps, finishing 13th.
The record books will show that the Honda Indy 200 was won by Dixon, with Briscoe second and Dario Franchitti (Target Chip Ganassi) in third. Justin led 28 of the 85 laps and scored 17 championship points. It should have been so different.
Drivers and teams now take a break until the next event, the Infineon Indy Grand Prix at Somona, California, on 23 August.