Fort Worth, Texas – Justin Wilson returned to IZOD IndyCar Series action on Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway for Round 8 of the championship just one week after scoring a podium finish of third in Detroit. The defending winner of the Firestone 550 drove the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda as high as second before finishing 15th in a race that ran at a furious pace.
Due to the setup issues, Wilson had completed just 14 laps of practice ahead of qualifying on Friday which saw him already on the back foot as he took to the track for his two-lap qualifying run. Still struggling to dial in the right setup, Wilson’s qualifying effort saw him start from 20th on the grid.
Though the team lacked practice time, the overnight change proved successful through the first half of the race. Just as Wilson did on his way to Texas victory lane last year, the setup of the car combined with his skilled tire management saw him come back strongly at the end of each stint – moving the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda machine through the field to run second prior to the third and final caution period of the race which was displayed just before the half-way point.
Dale Coyne Racing took advantage of the yellow and brought Wilson to pit lane for tires, fuel and a half-turn of wing with Wilson having reported that the car was not handling as well as it had been through the early running.
Great pit work by the Dale Coyne Racing crew members saw Wilson return to the banked 1.5-mile oval third in line for the restart. Unfortunately the handling was still not to Wilson’s liking as he fought among the top-10 during the third stint.
When no more cautions were displayed, Wilson was forced to pit for his final stop of the race under green flag conditions and returned to the field deep in the order. And without another caution to slow the fast-paced race - which saw just five cars finish on the lead lap – Wilson took 15th at the finish.
“That second to last stint cost us a good finish tonight,” said Wilson. “It’s disappointing because the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda was running in the top-five up to that point and we had a very good chance at repeating as race winners. The team did an incredible job giving me a really competitive race car tonight.”
Wilson will return to IZOD IndyCar Series competition next week for the Milwaukee IndyFest at the Milwaukee Mile. NBCSports will carry live coverage beginning at 4:00 PM (ET) on Saturday, June 15.