Wilson surprise winner in Texas IndyCar race|
Fort Worth, TX (Sports Network) - Justin Wilson benefited from Graham Rahal's
encounter with the wall in the closing laps to win Saturday night's IZOD
IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Rahal led the way in the late stages of the Firestone 500 but made contact
with the wall with just two laps remaining. That allowed second-place runner
Wilson to catch him and take the lead for good on the backstretch.
Wilson, who started 17th in the 25-car field, claimed his seventh career
IndyCar win but his first on an oval. His most recent victory in the series
came in the July 2009 road-course race at Watkins Glen, NY (44 races ago).
Wilson gave Dale Coyne Racing its maiden win in the series at Watkins Glen.
Following the 2009 season, he drove for Dreyer and Reinbold Racing the next
two years before returning Coyne's team in 2012.
"It's just fantastic," said Wilson, who led a total of 11 laps in the 228-lap
race. "(Team owner) Dale (Coyne) has put so much into making us competitive. I
just can't believe we managed to pull this off. The car was fantastic, and on
the long runs, it just got better and better. I saw people sliding around, and
I knew I just had to hit my marks."
Rahal grabbed the lead from Ryan Briscoe with 29 laps remaining and then
pulled away from the field in hopes of capturing his second IndyCar win. His
first victory came in 2008 at St. Petersburg, FL. Rahal was 19 years old at
When Rahal scraped the wall coming out of turn four, he managed to complete
lap 226 as the leader. But he lost momentum from there, as Wilson made the
winning pass on him.
"I saw him sliding more and more every lap, and I didn't think there was much
of a chance," Wilson said. "But when I saw him hit the wall, I thought, 'Okay,
now it's time to go'."
Rahal, who drives for Chip Ganassi Racing, finished 3.9 seconds behind Wilson
in the runner-up spot.
"I just made a mistake," a disappointed Rahal said. "This will haunt me until
Rahal's teammate, Scott Dixon, put on a dominating performance for most of the
event by leading 133 laps, but Dixon spun out and backed it into the outside
wall on lap 173. He ended up finishing 18th.
"I just got loose," Dixon said. "For the last 10 laps, I was really fighting
to hold on...The rear just started to slide, and then it kind of dipped down
onto the apron and shot around."
Last Sunday, Dixon led all 60 laps to win the shortened race on Detroit's
Belle Isle. The street-circuit event was cut 30 laps short due to track
Will Power took the lead from Dixon just prior to Dixon's accident, but after
a late-race restart, Power received a drive-through penalty for blocking Tony
Kanaan while Kanaan was battling him for the lead.
"I had Briscoe on the outside of me, and Tony took me by surprise," Power
said. "I feel bad, because I ruined his day."
Kanaan, who sustained a damaged front wing after he made contact with Power's
tire, ended up finishing one lap behind in 11th. After the race, Kanaan and
Power peacefully discussed their on-track incident.
"We talk about safety all the time," Kanaan said. "But that move was
unacceptable to me."
Texas was the first IndyCar race held on a 1.5-mile track since eight months
ago at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and
former series champion Dan Wheldon lost his life during a horrifying 15-car
crash. Texas and Las Vegas are very similar with its high banking in the
Earlier this year, IndyCar established an aerodynamic baseline for the new
2012 Dallara car to be used in this race. The series conducted a one-day test
session here one month ago to confirm the race package. But many drivers,
particularly four-time series champion Dario Franchitti, expressed their
concerns about safety in this event.
"All the drivers put their heads together in this race," said Briscoe, who
finished third. "We knew it was going to be hard. I thought it was a good
Franchitti, who won the Indy 500 two weeks ago and then finished second to
teammate Dixon in Detroit, dealt with an ill-handling car throughout the race.
Franchitti finished three laps down in 14th.
James Hinchcliffe placed fourth, while J.R. Hildebrand bounced back from a
23rd-starting position to finish fifth.
Power's penalty resulted in an eighth-place run, but the Team Penske driver
widened his points lead to 36 over Dixon. Hinchcliffe is third in the
standings (-48). Franchitti fell to sixth in points (-64).
Rookie Simon Pagenaud finished seventh, and Helio Castroneves was eighth. Alex
Tagliani, the pole sitter, and James Jakes completed the top-10.
06/10 01:03:59 ET