Justin Wilson, Sonny's BBQ Dale Coyne Racing Honda
Justin Wilson, Sonny's BBQ Dale Coyne Racing Honda

Photo by: Jeff Davidson

Sonoma, California – Racing on one of the toughest courses to pass on, Justin Wilson and James Jakes took control of the raceway in Sonoma to become some of the highest position-gaining drivers throughout the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma.

Wilson, driver of the No. 18 Sonny’s Bar-B-Q Honda, moved up nine positions to an 11th place finish, while Jakes, driver of the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda, climbed 12 positions to his 12th place finish.

After qualifying into 10th position yesterday, Wilson, started today’s race in 20th position due to a penalty from his unscheduled engine change. Throughout the 85-lap race, Wilson fought hard to bring the No. 18 Sonny’s Bar-B-Q Honda back to the front of the field, where it belonged.

“The track was very slick today,” said Wilson. “The car was sliding all over the track, but everyone else had to deal with it as well. Overall, it was a good day for the No. 18 Sonny’s Bar-B-Q Honda. I am very happy with an 11th place finish after having to start 20th today.

We got robbed at the start on the first lap and lost a lot of positions on the track. The caution helped us at the end of the race on gas mileage. We got behind a couple of cars that slowed down when the first yellow came out just as the leader was coming out of the pits, and that put us a lap down. If that hadn’t have happened, we would have had a top-ten finish today, no question.”

A tough qualifying run yesterday put Jakes and his No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda towards the back of the field for the start of the race. However, James returned to the track today ready to prove qualifying does not have to define the race at Sonoma. At the drop of the green flag, Jakes began to pick off cars one by one and steadily climbed towards the top-ten.

“It was a pretty good day for the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda,” said Jakes. “We picked up 12 positions in the race. We started the race with a really good car, but when we pitted for the first time, we put some scuffed red tires on the car and it ended up costing us positions on the track.

All I could do was try not to lose too many positions. After our second stop, we started gaining some positions back. I thought the car was great on restarts today. The team did an outstanding job giving me a great race car today. Hopefully we can carry this momentum into Baltimore next week.”

Source: Dale Coyne Racing