Justin Wilson Qualifies on the Front Row at Watkins Glen Watkins Glen, NY (July 4, 2009) -- Dale Coyne Racing driver Justin Wilson performed his road course magic today qualifying the ...
Justin Wilson Qualifies on the Front Row at Watkins Glen
Watkins Glen, NY (July 4, 2009) -- Dale Coyne Racing driver Justin Wilson performed his road course magic today qualifying the #18 Z-Line Designs/Sixth Avenue Electronics IndyCar on the front row while not even using new tires. The first session was a telltale sign that the car was performing extremely well when the team took a big gamble running two sets of primary tires. Every other team working to get to the top 12 and advance to the next stage of qualifying ran one set of Firestone primary and one set of the softer, faster, "alternate" tires. Wilson was the fastest car in the first qualifying session on the Firestone "primary" tires posting a lap time of 89.76 seconds.
The excitement of qualifying was multiplied today in the three sessions that make up the Firestone Fast Six and pole position for tomorrow's Camping World Grand Prix at Watkins Glen.
"It was a gamble that paid off, but it was close," commented team owner Dale Coyne. "Justin did a great job of squeezing the last couple of tenths out of that second set of primaries keeping us in the last transfer position of 12th."
The number 18 car would go on to the second stage of qualifying and run one set of primaries and one set of alternate and place third amongst the 12 cars, easily transferring into the final stage of six cars.
The final Firestone Fast Six would have high drama. Justin's Dale Coyne Racing car was the only car in the pit to have one new set of option tires ready for the final qualifying giving them a strong advantage for the pole position. The experienced team decided to only run two timed laps on the old set of options and placed second in that first three minutes of qualifying. As the team put on their new alternate red tires for the final seven minutes, Dario Franchitti hit the wall in turn 11 and brought out a lengthy caution flag. As time was short after the caution period, the team had no choice but to keep the used tires, as there would not be enough laps to get the new tires hot. Everyone only got one lap at the end on their warm tires to improve, which would not be enough and all of the earlier times held. Justin's time of 88.82 seconds on an earlier lap on used tires placed him second overall. This is Justin's second front row start of the year.
Wilson will have the advantage of having two sets of the alternate Firestone tires for the race tomorrow and the team is optimistic about their chances.
"The Z-Line Designs/Sixth Avenue Electronics car was really fast today, and the whole Dale Coyne Racing team did a great job," exclaimed Wilson. "Obviously, staying on the Firestone primary black tires during the first session was the right thing to do and the car felt good. I think we had a great shot at the pole today but the full course caution put a bit of a damper on that. I'm really looking forward to the race and I think the car is performing extremely well."
The IndyCar® Series will be televised live on ABC-TV and coverage will begin for the Camping World Grand Prix at the Glen on Sunday, July 5th at 1:00 p.m. (EDT).