Wiley Wilson Wins in Texas
A “never-give-up” performance from Justin Wilson saw the popular veteran come from behind to win Saturday night’s Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway, the third consecutive IZOD IndyCar Series race victory and 1-2 finish for Honda in 2012.
Wilson, whose Honda-powered Dale Coyne Racing IndyCar ran faster and faster as the night wore on, was closing the gap to race leader Graham Rahal in the final laps of the 228-lap contest, then took the lead for the second and final time when Rahal brushed the wall exiting Turn 4 with just two laps remaining. Wilson powered by for his eighth career IndyCar victory and first oval track win.
After contact, Rahal was able to continue and nurse his damaged Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing Honda to a second-place finish, for Honda’s third consecutive 1-2 result this season. Honda drivers finished first and second (Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon) at the Indianapolis 500 two weeks ago, and 1-2-3 (Dixon, Franchitti and Simon Pagenaud) at last Sunday’s Belle Isle Detroit Grand Prix.
Dixon dominated the first two thirds of tonight’s race, leading 133 of the first 170 laps. But the Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver lost control while running in traffic on Lap 174, spinning and crashing without injury. Making his first start at Texas, Simon Pagenaud solidified his lead in the series Rookie of the Year standings and moved to fifth in the overall championship with a solid sixth-place finish tonight; while pole qualifier Alex Tagliani battled handling issues throughout the second half of the race to persevere for a ninth-place finish. In the second Dale Coyne entry, James Jakes rounded out the top-10 finishers,
posting his best result of the season.