Sonoma: Dale Coyne Racing race report

Justin Wilson Runs Incredible Race Sonoma, California (August 23, 2009) - Justin Wilson and the entire Dale Coyne Racing team worked together to execute a unique strategy that allowed Wilson to start in 22nd position and rocket forward to finish...

Justin Wilson Runs Incredible Race

Sonoma, California (August 23, 2009) - Justin Wilson and the entire Dale Coyne Racing team worked together to execute a unique strategy that allowed Wilson to start in 22nd position and rocket forward to finish seventh in the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.

Justin had his worst road course qualifying of the year on Saturday when a rear suspension folded under heavy braking. The #18 Z-Line Designs car was slated for a 19th starting position for today's race. After some successful changes in the morning warm-up, the team decided to try a different strategy for today's race. After failing to advance in Saturday's qualifying, Justin still had three new sets of the softer red compound tires for today's race. A gamble was made to go for a three pit stop race strategy. The team changed its tire declaration from starting on alternates to starting on primaries, thus opening the door for a forward thinking race strategy. By IndyCar Series rules if you change designation you go to the back of the grid. The team thought it was worth the three position loss as a possible game changer.

"We knew that everyone would do this race on two stops," commented experienced team owner Dale Coyne. "It was certainly a gamble to do this and commit to three stops so early in the race, but we knew Justin had the speed so we pitted on lap 6 to get the primary Firestones out of the way and then let Justin run on a clean track to make up the difference."

Justin would go on to have a magnificent run. Sonoma is a track where passing is very difficult, yet Justin was able to close the gap and then carve his way through the field as he knew he had to make the difference of an extra stop.

"The race today was long and tough but the unique strategy we used allowed me to move up 15 positions," said Justin. "The Z-Line Designs car was very fast today, the pit stops were quick and everyone worked hard to get the most of our starting position."

Justin improved steadily as the race wore on. His Z-Line Designs in-car camera would be the highlight of the race as Justin passed cars all the way up to the end. The #18 car would finally come home in 7th position. Justin Wilson, along with two other drivers, is nominated for the Firestone "Tire-ific" Move of the Race for relying on three sets of new alternate tires to move from 22nd to 7th position. Fans can vote through Wednesday at www.indycar.com to determine the winner.

-credit: dcr

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Dale Coyne
Teams Dale Coyne Racing