Justin Wilson Dominates Field on Way to Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen Victory
Gives Owner Dale Coyne First Open-Wheel Victory of his Career
By: WGI Staff on 7/5/2009
Justin Wilson (center) claimed his first WGI victory by pulling away from second and third place finishers Ryan Briscoe (left) and Scott Dixon following a late caution.
Justin Wilson won the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen giving his team owner Dale Coyne his first open-wheel victory in 558 tries as a driver, driver-owner or owner. Wilson said, “The option tires were working so well we could run them two full stints, no problem.” The Z-Lines Designs/Dale Coyne Racing driver went on, “I was able to open a nice gap and make my life easier over the last 5 laps.” Wilson lead 3 times for 49 of the 60 laps, including the final 18 circuits.
Coyne commented, “How many? That didn’t take long did it!” The long time open-wheel racer and owner continued, “It’s funny; You think back to the things you do, driving here, racing there. You have a passion for this and you keep fighting, It just makes you try harder. I wasn’t nervous all day. We were so close years ago, but this time we got it done.”
Pole sitter Ryan Briscoe finished 2nd in the #6 Team Penske racer after being passed by Wilson on lap 4. Briscoe would go on to lead briefly two more times as the cars cycled through pit stops later in the race. He had to overcome an early extra pit stop when he entered the pit lane just as the yellow flag waved, closing the pits. He was only allowed to take a splash of fuel to keep going until the pits opened officially.
Championship leader Dario Franchitti lost the point lead when he spun into the gravel trap on lap 23. Ed Carpenter (#20 Menards/Vision Racing) and Mario Moraes (#5 KV Racing Technologies/Votorantim) banged wheels entering the inner loop and Franchitti, who was following them, lost control of his #10 Polaroid Target Chip Ganassi Racing machine. He would eventually finish one lap down to the leaders after getting pulled out of the gravel. He is now tied for second in the championship battle with Ryan Briscoe at 294 points.
Finishing a battling third was three-time Watkins Glen International winner Scott Dixon. Dixon also took over the points lead with a total 313. Dixon said, “I struggled on my first set of option tires because I had so many laps on them.” He had used that same set the day before during qualifying.
Helio Castroneves (#3 Team Penske) finished 4th, having moved up 9 spots from his 13th place starting position. He also led lap 41 as cars cycled through their pit stops under green flag conditions.
Marco Andretti (#26 Team Venom Energy) passed rookie Mike Conway (#24 Dad’s Root Beer/Dreyer & Reinbold) on the final lap to claim 5th place. Marco had some bad luck early in the race, cutting a tire and losing a lap after making a pit stop on lap 5.
Wilson won the race by 4.9906 seconds, averaging 111.915 mph over the 60 lap distance. Ryan Briscoe turned the fastest lap of the race, a 1:31.1760 (133.061 mph) on lap 18.
There were 4 caution periods during the race. Richard Antinucci (#98 Novicomm LED Lighting Technology) spun in turn one on lap 19 bringing out the first yellow. The Franchitti incident was the second. Paul Tracy (#15 GEICO/KV Racing Technology) and Hideki Mutoh (#27 Formula Dream) both spun exiting turn 7 on laps 30 and 52 respectively, bringing out the final two caution periods of the day. Both drivers damaged their cars sufficiently to take them out of the race.
Justin Wilson set the pace in the 30-minute morning warm-up and was the only driver to break the 1:30 barrier with a lap of 1:29.9611. The session came to a close after Milka Duno (#23 CITGO/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing) spun exiting the “Toe” of the “Boot” and made contact with the inside tire barrier. Her car sustained damage to the left rear suspension and front and rear wings. Second fastest was E.J. Viso (# 13 PDVSA HVM Racing) at 1:30.0852, followed by Graham Rahal (McDonald’s Racing Team) at 1:30.9982. Pole sitter Ryan Briscoe turned the 8th fastest time for the warm-up at 1:31.1690.
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