HOLE IN THE WALL CAMPS DRIVER RAHAL AND McDONALD'S DRIVER WILSON FINISHED EIGHTH AND NINTH RESPECTIVELY IN THE PEAK ANTIFREEZE & MOTOR OIL INDY GRAND PRIX - McDonald's driver Justin Wilson drove to a ninth place finish in the Peak Antifreeze...
HOLE IN THE WALL CAMPS DRIVER RAHAL AND McDONALD'S DRIVER WILSON FINISHED EIGHTH AND NINTH RESPECTIVELY IN THE PEAK ANTIFREEZE & MOTOR OIL INDY GRAND PRIX
- McDonald's driver Justin Wilson drove to a ninth place finish in the Peak Antifreeze Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County today despite being competitive enough for a much higher result in an 80-lap race that saw multiple fuel strategies. After starting seventh, he took sixth place from Oriol Servia on the opening lap and held his position and attempted to conserve fuel until the first and only full course caution came out on Laps 16-17 for Marty Roth who spun. Seven cars had already pitted on various laps prior to the caution and many of those who had not, chose to come in while seven cars elected to stay out and gain track position, the highest of which were previous second place runner Ryan Briscoe, fourth place Tony Kanaan and ninth place Danica Patrick who took over first through third place. Prior to the restart Wilson was running behind Ryan Hunter-Reay, who made a mistake and drove off track so Wilson moved up in order. To the team's dismay, Hunter-Reay regained his position and Indy Racing League officials allowed him to retake the spot. After the restart on Lap 21, Wilson drove inside Hunter-Reay into a corner and the two touched slightly and Hunter-Reay spun around. Wilson was running fourth of those who pit on the same lap and after the next cycle of pit stops began, he moved up to fourth place by Lap 36 before he made his next stop on Lap 44. He returned to the track in 17th place but track position and backmarker traffic limited him to only move up to seventh place before he returned to the pits for his final stop on Lap 58 of 80. He was held up behind Mario Moraes for many laps but was finally able to get by him as well as Buddy Rice for 9th place by Lap 73. He was able to close the six second gap to eighth place Graham Rahal to four and took the checkered flag in ninth place. He earned 22 points to retain his 16th place rank in the IndyCar Series point standings with a total of 271 and is only 39 points away from 10th place with two points-paying races left this season. Helio Castroneves earned his first win of the season.
Following are Wilson's post race comments: "The McDonald's team was running strong but once that yellow happened it really mixed everything up and we had to decide which strategy to go on," said Wilson. "Helio was on our same strategy and he won the race but he was able to get by people. A couple of guys between me and him weren't able to overtake the backmarkers and it allowed the people on the other strategy to capitalize. It's disappointing because I thought the McDonald's car was good and we had a strong day but we couldn't get a result out of it. We did everything we could so we just have to move on to the next one."
- Hole in the Wall Camps driver Graham Rahal drove to an eighth place finish after starting 15th in the 80-lap Peak Antifreeze Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County today with a fuel strategy that paid off. He dropped to 16th on the opening lap when 16th place starter Dan Wheldon passed him. Rahal held the position and conserved fuel until the first and only full course caution came out on Laps 16-17 for Marty Roth, who spun. Seven cars had already pitted on various laps prior to the caution and many of those who had not, chose to come in while seven cars, including Rahal, elected to stay out and gain track position. The highest of those who stayed out were previous second place runner Ryan Briscoe, fourth place Tony Kanaan, ninth place Danica Patrick and 12th place Rahal who took over first through fourth place. He gave up fourth place on Lap 26 when he made his first of two stops. He steadily moved up through the field on his next stint and was in eighth place before his second stop on Lap 53. He moved into eighth place on Lap 71 of 80 when Bruno Junqueira made his final stop and Rahal held the position until the checkered flag. He earned 24 points but dropped from his 17th place rank in the IndyCar Series point standings to 18th with 259 after Round 15 of 18.
Following are his post race comments: "We had a good pit strategy and we had picked it from the very beginning," said Rahal. "We decided we wanted to go two stops and we saved as much fuel as we could. We knew it wasn't going to be easy and we would have to save a lot more fuel than most did but at the end of the day it worked out for us. The car was the best I have had it all weekend. I was definitely pretty happy with it. It certainly gave me something to race with."