Reaction: Justin Wilson wins in wild finish

June, 9, 2012
6/09/12
10:00
PM CT
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Justin Wilson took the lead with two laps to go and held on for his first victory since 2009, winning Saturday's Firestone 550. Graham Rahal appeared in control, taking the lead with 29 laps left, but he grazed the wall with three laps remaining and Wilson was able to take the lead at that point.

It was a tough break for Rahal, who was close to getting his first win since 2008 as his father, Bobby Rahal, watched from Chip Ganassi Racing's pit box.

"I just messed up, honestly," Rahal said on the TV broadcast just after the race. "It just washed out a little bit and it's my fault. There's not much else I can say. I'm certainly disappointed because we had that one. This one will haunt me forever, that's for sure."

What it means: Wilson wins his seventh career race, his first since 2009. Before Saturday, his best finish was seventh in the Indy 500.

Notes on the leader: Wilson's previous best finish at TMS was 15th in 2009. ... It's the second IndyCar victory for Dale Coyne with Wilson's victory at Watkins Glen in 2009 as the only other one.

Late lead changes: The race, which for portions was a follow-the-leader event, got pretty exciting with 50 laps to go as several drivers couldn't hold the lead for too long. Scott Dixon was the first to go (hit the wall), followed by Will Power (penalty) and Ryan Briscoe (who gave up lead to hard-charging Graham Rahal) and finally Wilson.

Penalty for Power: With the lead in hand, Power was given a drive-through penalty for blocking Tony Kanaan with about 40 laps. Power gave up the lead because of the penalty, which ended up damaging the front wing of Kanaan's car. It was clear that Power was reacting to Kanaan trying to get around him, leaving IndyCar officials little choice but to penalize him.

Dixon loses lead, then car: Dixon, who led the most laps and for much of the race had the dominant car, started to fall off on lap times a bit with less than 60 to go and gave up the lead to Power. Shortly after dropping to second, Dixon wiggled into Turn 4, spun out and hit the wall. Dixon came into the race 26 points behind leader Power in the standings and leaves losing more ground. "We just got loose," Dixon said on the race broadcast after exiting the race. "I feel bad for the guys. We had a really good car and had a good chance to win tonight."

Delayed start because of injury: A worker at TMS, Richard Huggins, was taken out on a stretcher after part of the stage used for driver introductions fell on him. Huggins was treated and released from the Infield Care Cente, but it took extra time to get him there, making the race a few minutes late.

Not working: Rubens Barrichello's Chevrolet and Simona de Silvestro's Lotus engines didn't fire on pit road when the command was given and they did not start the race when the green flag dropped. Neither driver ended up starting the race.

Cautions: Charlie Kimball brought out the first caution flag on Lap 29 as he spun in Turn 4 and into the wall, ending up in the grass near the entrance of pit road. ... Takuma Sato spun on the backstretch and went into the wall on Lap 64. ... Ryan Hunter-Reay lost power, ending his race before 70 laps were complete. ... Josef Newgarden was given a drive-through penalty in the pits for entering the wrong pit box. Newgarden missed his box, causing issues for others, including Helio Castroneves, who was delayed because he couldn't get in his box.

Up and down day: Kanaan came into the pits and had trouble because a rear air jack failed during the first set of stops (Lap 36). The team tried to use a different jack and damaged the front wing and had to put a new one on. He came back to the pits to have additional work done, falling close to the rear of the field. ... Kanaan did manage to keep tracking toward the front and got himself back in the race and was running third with about 40 laps left until he touched the back of Power's car when Power moved down to block him. That damaged his front wing and forced him to the pits and back to the middle of the pack. ... Kanaan ended up 11th.

Franchitti handling issues: Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti wasn't happy with his handling and he spent extra time in the pits so the crew could make some substantial changes to the car. He went to the rear of the field during the first caution and tried to work his way back up. He finished 14th.

Tidbits: A.J. Foyt gave the command to start the engines before the race, saying: "Boys and girls, start your engines." ... This is third straight race at TMS that Alex Tagliani led. He led 33 laps in 2010, one lap in the first race in 2011 and the first 20 laps of Saturday's race. ... Dixon led on Saturday, meaning he's led in six of seven races this season. The only race he hasn't led was Long Beach. ... Dixon clinched the two bonus points for most laps led on Lap 130.

Up next: The IndyCar Series heads to Milwaukee next weekend for the Milwaukee IndyFest 225. Franchitti is the defending champion.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

NASCAR CHATS