Justin 2nd in eventful Long Beach race 18-April-2010 - Justin and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing made a remarkable comeback drive at Long Beach to take runner-up spot in the No. 22 Z-Line Designs car after being forced to make an early final pit-stop...
Justin 2nd in eventful Long Beach race
18-April-2010 - Justin and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing made a remarkable comeback drive at Long Beach to take runner-up spot in the No. 22 Z-Line Designs car after being forced to make an early final pit-stop for a new nose following contact with a recalcitrant back-marker. Ryan Hunter-Reay took victory for Andretti Autosport while IZOD IndyCar Series points leader Will Power (Team Penske) was 3rd after being passed by Justin with 18 laps to go. Justin's Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team-mate Mike Conway finished 10th in the No. 24 TranSystems car.
After a clean start from 3rd on the grid, Justin settled into an early rhythm behind pole-sitter Power and Hunter-Reay. When the No. 12 Penske suffered a momentary drop in power on Lap 17, Hunter-Reay and Justin took advantage to take P1 and P2 respectively and they held those positions into and through Justin's first pit-stop on Lap 27. As they managed fuel during the second stint, lapped traffic became an increasing issue and on Lap 53 Justin's chances of a podium almost evaporated. He and Hunter-Reay got stuck behind a back-marker who refused to yield despite several laps of waved blue flags. In the end, Hunter-Reay got past Alex Lloyd (Dale Coyne Racing), but before Justin could squeeze past he closed the door, breaking the No. 22 car's front wing.
"The Z-Line Designs car was fantastic today, so I was pretty livid at that point," explained Justin. "Ryan got past and I tried to follow, but I just got the door slammed in my face. Some guys out there have no respect -- they don't give you any racing room, even if it's a few feet at the apex to back out of it. They nearly took Ryan out of the lead and they took me out of second place at that point."
Justin was forced to pit three laps earlier than planned for a new nose, but he, Hunter-Reay and Power had built up a substantial gap to the rest of the field, and with great service by the Z-Line Designs crew Justin hustled back out in 3rd place. A lucky full course caution on Lap 60 then allowed him to close back up on race-leader Hunter-Reay and Power. After the restart, with the bit between his teeth, Justin caught and passed Power in a great move into Turn 1 on Lap 67 to regain 2nd place. After that, it was a question of balancing the natural instinct of chasing down the lead with the need to eke out his fuel until the chequered flag. Fuel mileage won out in the end. The No. 22 car finally ran dry on the cooling down lap, but with P2 in the bag it didn't matter.
"I knew I had to be a bit careful in the final stint as I didn't want to run out of fuel," said Justin. "The team did a fantastic job to change the nose and come out still in third and give us a chance of getting on the podium. I've got to thank everyone on the Z-Line Designs team for all their effort. We keep saying how much potential this team has. We've had a couple of podiums now -- we're right there and it's looking good as we head to the ovals."
Justin still lies 4th in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series championship. He the team now have a two week break before the first oval event of the year at Kansas Speedway on May 1st.