Most Laps Lead, Fastest Lap, Fastest Car, Rewarded with Third St. Petersburg, FL (April 5, 2009) -- If a podium finish of third can ever be bitter sweet, then today's showing by Dale Coyne Racing and its new driver Justin Wilson was that day.
Most Laps Lead, Fastest Lap, Fastest Car, Rewarded with Third
St. Petersburg, FL (April 5, 2009) -- If a podium finish of third can ever be bitter sweet, then today's showing by Dale Coyne Racing and its new driver Justin Wilson was that day. After starting in the front row, grabbing the lead at the start and leading the field at a blistering pace, the Sonny's Bar-B-Q car nearly dominated the entire race.
But the fortunes of racing had a very mixed day of events. On lap 32 several teams pitted and had the good fortune of a full course yellow on lap 33 which would relegate Wilson back to ninth. But the seasoned team strategy forged ahead running at a pace necessary to keep in touch with the leaders.
Justin battled his way back to third when Briscoe and Wheldon, the first and second place runners, pitted and Wilson had three more laps to go before his stop. The talented Englishman gave it everything he had after the team performed a blistering pit stop. That enabled Justin to squeeze past, gain those two coveted positions back and into the lead.
Things were looking good as Justin again began to pull away from the field with a clean run to the end of the race. A caution came out with 15 laps to go and it was that yellow restart that was to be the undoing of what could have been the team's first win in IndyCar.
"Everything was perfect all weekend," commented Wilson. "Qualifying, the race, the pit stops were all perfect. That last restart the two cars behind got a very good run off turn 14 and I didn't, allowing a couple cars to pass going into turn one. I can't say enough about Dale and the guys. This is a great place for me after long, tough winter."
"I never thought I would be disappointed with a podium finish," reported team owner Dale Coyne. "But we truly had the best car of the weekend and certainly had a well deserved win in our sights. The team is coming together very nicely and we certainly look forward to the next IndyCar® Series race in Long Beach."
"I'm very pleased with our first showing working together with Dale Coyne Racing," said Wilson. "We've been quick all weekend and I actually think we could have had pole, but unfortunately we were held up and that ruined our best two laps."
The team now prepares for the 35th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach being held on April 19th.