Justin satisfied with 6th in Sonoma 22-August-2010 - Justin and Dreyer & Reinbold enjoyed a strong run to 6th place in the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway. The No. 22 Z-Line Designs car was the leading non-Penske or Ganassi...
Justin satisfied with 6th in Sonoma
22-August-2010 - Justin and Dreyer & Reinbold enjoyed a strong run to 6th place in the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway. The No. 22 Z-Line Designs car was the leading non-Penske or Ganassi machine for the majority of the race and Justin particularly enjoyed mixing it up with the Penske cars of Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves early in the race. Will Power put the ghosts of his 2009 accident behind him to take his fifth IZOD IndyCar Series victory of the season as well as receiving the inaugural Mario Andretti Road Championship Trophy. Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti (Chip Ganassi Racing) rounded out the podium. Justin's DRR team-mate, JR Hildebrand, retired with suspension damage after contact with Marco Andretti on Lap 38 and was classified 24th.
With a 75 lap event and a fuel capacity of approximately 25 laps, the race was always going to get off to a cagey, fuel-saving start, so it was no surprise that the leading runners held station for the first 15 laps. Justin was running comfortably where he started in 7th, but the softer, red-sidewalled Firestones started going off about 10 laps before the pit window. FAZZT Racing's Alex Tagliani was the first to suffer chronic lack of grip and Justin, also on reds, took full advantage of the roadblock behind Tag to move forward. He passed the Canadian on Lap 16 before hunting down Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe, passing the Australian through Turn 7 on Lap 21. Two laps later he pulled a classy move on Helio Castroneves, slipping around outside of the Penske through Turn 10. Justin headed into his first pit-stop on Lap 26 in 4th place, but unfortunately the two Penskes leapfrogged back ahead and Justin found himself back in 6th after the first stops cycled through.
After that Justin stuck with the leading pack of three Penske and two Ganassi cars. At three quarter distance he was still running comfortably in 6th, but in spite of being able to run flat out to the finish after the final stops on Lap 53, the No. 22 Z-Line Designs car didn't have quite enough pace to move forward.
"We had a pretty good race today," said Justin. "The Z-Line Designs car felt good and the first stint was a lot of fun. We were able to pass Helio and Ryan, but unfortunately they got us back at the first stops. Overall it was nice to be out there pushing the Ganassi and Penske cars the whole race. We gave it everything we could today, but we've got to keep working on trying to catch these guys. I'm looking forward to getting back on the ovals again and hopefully we can carry this level of performance through to the last four races."
The result moves Justin back up to 8th in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series driver standings as the series heads into its concluding phase of 1.5 mile oval events. First up is the PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway next Saturday (28th August).