Justin finishes 19th after tough night in Texas
Justin finished a disappointed 19th in a hot, slick Firestone 550k under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night after severe understeer saw him go a lap down during the opening stages. An early pitstop allowed the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team to improve the balance of the No. 22 Charter Communications car, but it was still a handful in traffic and Justin finished the race 3 laps down. Ryan Briscoe won the race for Team Penske, with Andretti Autosport team-mates Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti runner-up and third respectively. Tomas Scheckter had better fortune in the No. 24 Roll Coater car, finishing 13th.
Less than a week after Justin's strong run at Indianapolis, the lack of grip in the No. 22 car during the opening laps at Texas was painful to watch. Starting from 12th, Justin fell steadily through the field as he fought to get the car to turn in. He went a lap down on Lap 36 and on Lap 40 there was no option but to bring the No. 22 Charter car in early to add more front wing. Having pitted under green, more bad luck was on the way when a caution came out for debris on the track on Lap 46, giving the rest of the field the advantage of pitting under yellow. Justin and the team never gave up and in total Justin made eight pit-stops to most others' six as he and DRR went off-sequence, trying various ways of clawing their way back into contention, but the race just didn't play out in their favour.
"It was a tough day," said Justin. "We had bags and bags of understeer and had to add a couple of turns of wing. The car was better on its own, but in traffic there was still a lot of understeer. It was a struggle to keep up and the car was tough to drive. All in all, it was just a frustrating day, but hopefully we can come back stronger at the next one. The guys are pretty optimistic about Iowa, so I'm looking forward to that."
The Iowa Corn Indy 250 on June 20th will be the last in the current stretch of ovals before the IZOD IndyCar Series switches to road and street courses for most of July and August. As they gear up for that, Justin and DRR will be testing with a number of other teams at Watkins Glen on Wednesday, June 9th.