Justin 11th after tough race in Kentucky Justin and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing narrowly missed out on a top-10 finish in Saturday night's Kentucky Indy 300. Although the No. 22 Z-Line Designs car didn't quite have the outright pace to fight with...
Justin 11th after tough race in Kentucky
Justin and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing narrowly missed out on a top-10 finish in Saturday night's Kentucky Indy 300. Although the No. 22 Z-Line Designs car didn't quite have the outright pace to fight with the lead pack, Justin drove a determined race, staying out of trouble to take the chequered flag in 11th. Helio Castroneves took victory for Team Penske with a fuel-saving gamble prompted by an earlier pit-stop problem, allowing him to stay out while the leaders were forced to make a late pitstop. Ed Carpenter and Dan Wheldon were 2nd and 3rd respectively for Panther Racing. Justin's team-mate Paul Tracy was 12th in the No. 24 Motegi Racing Wheels entry.
Starting from 16th, Justin gained several places at the start before a Lap 1 yellow, but struggled with understeer following the restart. After dropping back to 20th he worked back up to 17th by the first pitstops on Lap 54. Further progress was made during the next stint, with Justin passing cars as well as benefiting from a three-car shunt involving cars in front of him on Lap 79. On Lap 84 he pitted under caution in 12th with the rest of the field, but the telemetry picked up signs of a puncture shortly afterwards and he returned to the pits again on Lap 91, with the race still under yellow, emerging in 17th.
With the car's handling improved, the No. 22 car was able to move forward again and Justin was back up to 14th prior to his penultimate stop on Lap 144. For the last quarter of the race he was locked in battle with Paul Tracy and Conquest Racing's Bertrand Baguette. In the end, Justin was able to leapfrog PT for 11th by running a lap longer than his team-mate into the final fuel stop on Lap 194, but Baguette benefited by pitting a lap later than Justin and the chequered flag flew before he could make a pass on the Belgian for 10th.
"It was a long, tough race," said Justin. "It was flat out - we were in top gear the whole time and we were just trying to keep up with the pack ahead. The Z-Line Designs car was pretty nice and we had some good pit stops. The guys did well and we are fairly happy with that. Now, we just need to go away and work out how to make the car quicker. I think we're getting there."
The next race is the fly-away trip for the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi on September 18th.