Gearbox woes force Watkins Glen retirement for Justin Justin was unable to capitalise on his impressive front row qualifying performance at Watkins Glen after gearbox problems struck the No. 02 McDonald's car soon after the start. Although the...
Gearbox woes force Watkins Glen retirement for Justin
Justin was unable to capitalise on his impressive front row qualifying performance at Watkins Glen after gearbox problems struck the No. 02 McDonald's car soon after the start. Although the McDonald's crew attempted to keep Justin out on track to pick up a few valuable championship points, the problem proved terminal and he was forced to retire the car on Lap 22. Ryan Hunter-Reay took an unexpected victory for Rahal Letterman Racing, with Darren Manning (AJ Foyt Racing) and Tony Kanaan (Andretti Green Racing) rounding out the top three. Justin's Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team-mate Graham Rahal finished 8th.
The start of the race was messy and Justin found himself immediately on the back foot after Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) jumped the start and sandwiched himself unexpectedly between the McDonald's car and the Team Penske Dallara of pole-sitter Ryan Briscoe. Forced to take the widest possible line through Turn 1, Justin fell prey to the following pack and the loss of momentum dropped him back to P7 by the end of the opening lap.
Justin immediately reported that the handling of the car was not good, so the team began plotting how to improve it during the first pit-stop. But as he pitted out of sequence under yellow on Lap 7 to try and re-gain an advantage, an Indy Racing League pit technician noticed what turned out to be gearbox oil leaking from the car and wouldn't let the No. 02 car back on track until the problem was inspected. When the problem appeared to be temporarily fixed, the McDonald's crew sent Justin back on track, three laps down to the leaders. The telemetry showed that there was low oil pressure in the gearbox so he was brought back in on the following lap to fill up the reservoir to see if that would solve the problem. He was now running six laps down to the leaders when he returned to the track, but retired on Lap 22 in 25th place.
"It's a very disappointing finish for the McDonald's team," said Justin. "We were happy to be back on a road course because we thought we could capitalise on some points and have a competitive run. We struggled in the first few laps, but after our first pit stop we sorted out the handling and are not sure why the car wasn't better initially. I'm just disappointed to be out of the race. The McDonald's car has been so fast all weekend and we felt that we finally had a chance to do well. The season is too busy to look back; you can only look forward. We'll be back on the oval in Nashville next weekend and then after that we're back on a road course at Mid-Ohio. We just need to try and make the most of the next opportunity."