Justin earns first IndyCar podium with 3rd place at Edmonton What a difference a day makes! Friday finished in frustration when Justin was forced to miss the shoot-out for pole after making contact with the tyre wall. Saturday ended in...
Justin earns first IndyCar podium with 3rd place at Edmonton
What a difference a day makes! Friday finished in frustration when Justin was forced to miss the shoot-out for pole after making contact with the tyre wall. Saturday ended in celebration with a well-deserved podium as he took third place in the Rexall Edmonton Indy for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. And sandwiching those events, Justin was presented with a cheque for $10,000 for his "Firestone Tire-ific" overtaking manoeuvre last weekend at Mid-Ohio that saw him take the lead in the wet.
Starting from sixth on the grid today, Justin held position until Lap 6 when Will Power (KV Racing Technology) pitted with a problem allowing the 02 McDonald's car to move up one place. Communication was proving difficult as the radio hadn't worked properly since the green flag. Justin wasn't hearing the request to go to "oil position 2" and similar instructions, and this was to prove an intermittent nuisance factor throughout the race.
Most cars pitted on Lap 21 when a yellow flag was caused by a spinning Vitor Meira (Panther Racing). Justin came out in eighth, but a net fifth as three drivers had stayed on track. They came in on Lap 39, and Justin was P5 again. This remained the order until Lap 51 when Townsend Bell (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing) hit the tyre wall and caused a yellow flag. Justin had a quick stop and emerged in ninth place, but four of those ahead of him had not stopped.
After a couple of cars eventually pitted Justin found himself in seventh, ahead of veteran Paul Tracy (Subway/Vision Racing) who had secured a one-off drive in his home country. PT got past on Lap 61 before another yellow flag came out when Justin's team-mate Graham Rahal (Rexall-Oilers) was hit by E.J. Viso (HVM Racing). Oriol Servia (KV Racing Technology) went past and other cars took their pit stops, putting Justin in sixth. On Lap 76 he returned the compliment to Tracy and advanced one position, but with everyone's stops completed it now seemed that fifth might be the likely final outcome. However, there was unplanned assistance from Servia who ran into third place Dan Wheldon (Target Chip Ganassi) and a grateful Justin was able to slip ahead of them both and take third as the contest entered its final stages.
The race was scheduled for 95 laps but was timed out after 91 when the limit of an hour and 50 minutes was reached. Scott Dixon won his fifth victory of the season for Target Chip Ganassi, ahead of Team Penske's Helio Castroneves.
Speaking after the podium celebrations, Justin said: "Under the circumstances, I am very happy with today, and it's great to put the McDonald's car in the top three. We've had the capability of doing that on many occasions but something has always gone wrong. Today's race was very eventful, but we were able to stay clean out there. We knew when to back off and we knew when to push, and that's why we're here."
In the four races at Edmonton starting with 2005, Justin has finished 4th, 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively. His finish today has earned 35 points and elevates him to 16th place in the IndyCar Series point standings with a total of 237.
Today's event concludes a sequence of six successive race weekends. Next up is the Meier Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway in two weeks. The intervening period is not exactly a time of rest as testing is scheduled at Kentucky on Thursday, Justin's 30th birthday!