HOLE IN THE WALL CAMPS DRIVER RAHAL FINISHED NINTH IN THE NIKON INDY 300; McDONALD'S DRIVER WILSON CAME FROM THE BACK AFTER GEAR PROBLEMS ON THE PACE LAP BUT ULTIMATELY FINISHED 12TH
- McDonald's driver Justin Wilson qualified ninth for the 60-lap Nikon Indy 300 but experienced gear-related problems on the opening lap and had to pit to reset the gearbox control unit and was forced to start from the back of the field in 24th. On the opening he moved up five spots and by Lap 8 he was in 13th place. He pitted for fuel only on the first caution from Laps 8-9 for the spun car of Mario Moraes and returned to the track in 21st place after a slow stop. He began another charge through the field and was in 18th place when he was called into the pits on Lap 17 for a full stop. He returned to the track in 19th place and as others cycled through their stops he moved up to 9th by Lap 25. On Lap 32 he made contact after trying to pass Bruno Junqueira and had to pit for a new front wing and also took on tires and fuel while in the pits. He was in 17th place and moved up to 15th by Lap 35. The team decided to switch strategies and called him in on Lap 37 for a fuel-only pit stop and he returned to the track in 16th place. He was in 14th by Lap 50 when he set his fastest lap of the race and was in 11th place by Lap 54 when he had to stop for a splash of fuel to make it to the end of the race. He returned to the track in 14th and was up to 12th by the end of the event.
Following are Wilson's post race comments:
"It was a disappointing day for the McDonald's team," said Wilson. "If I wasn't laughing I'd be crying. About half way around the first warm-up lap the car stopped shifting. We tried to reset and change the ECU but it didn't fix it so we had to stop in the pits and managed to fix it but that meant we started last. From there I worked my way back up from 24th and was around 12th after eight or nine laps and was back in the game. On our first pit stop we had trouble flowing fuel so that meant I was last again and had to work my way back up. To be honest so much happened in the race it hard to remember it all. Bruno blocked Oriol going down into Turn 3 but Oriol still got by but it meant they both were very compromised in three so I got a run into Turn 4 so I was inside of Bruno. He was outside and braked later than I did so I was on the dirtier side of the track and he won the corner but didn't give me time to back out before the corner so he just turned straight in and went for the apex and was hard on the brakes. He just crossed in front of me and broke my front wing which was very disappointing. Even with everything that happened we still had a shot at that point and it really came at the wrong time. It was very difficult to recover from there on. Later in the race we came in to fill up to make it to the end of the race and didn't get all of it in. We did the calculations but we couldn't make it to the end because there was quite a bit of fuel we didn't get in. I had to run flat out and try to open up a gap. I passed a bunch of cars which was the same group I had passed about three times already at this stage so I passed them again and came in for a splash of fuel, went back out and tried to pass them again. It was a long day."
- Hole in the Wall Camps driver Graham Rahal drove to a ninth place finish in the 60-lap Nikon Indy 300 on the 2.795 mile, 12 turn street course after he started 13th. He moved into 10th on the opening lap after ninth place starter Justin Wilson had to pit on the first pace lap and Vitor Meira and Mario Moraes dropped back. He took the opportunity to pit out of sequence on the first caution from Laps 8-9 for Moraes who spun. He moved up in the order from 18th and was in 11th place on Lap 21 when he clipped Ed Carpenter whom he was trying to pass and dropped to 18th while stopped on track. He pitted on Lap 23 and later climbed to sixth on Lap 40 as others cycled through their next stops before his next stop on Lap 44. He returned to the track in 10th place and on Lap 52 he took over ninth place from Meira which was also his fastest lap. He took the checkered flag in ninth place.
Following are his post race comments:
"I can't say I am too disappointed with the race outcome based on everything that happened today," said Rahal. "I had hoped we could have a better result but the car was pretty good. We passed a heck of a lot more cars than I thought we were going to so I am happy about that. The start was kind of chaotic as I expected. Moraes crashed in front of me. Other than my incident with Ed it was a straightforward race. I was faster than Ed (Carpenter) and when I went to try to pass him I got a little confused as to what he was trying to do. He was so much slower than me but at the same time he was blocking me. I had a killer run and went into Turn 8 and I went to the left of him and he kind of blocked me initially so I gave up and then he went wide so I got a release of the pedal. At the very last minute he turned so I was hard on the brakes but couldn't stop fast enough. It's a shame because we lost a lot of ground."