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'Fastest man' Wilson thwarted by late Indy 500 caution

Justin Wilson was having a fairly nondescript time of it at Indianapolis on Sunday - until the moment came for action and the English driver answered the call in double quick time.
For most of the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500, Dale Coyne Racing driver Justin Wilson was rather anonymous. Putting in the laps, getting the miles under his belt with no significant drama in the mid-field, he looked a safe pair of hands - but not, perhaps, a very likely winner.

That all changed in the final portion of the race,when the Englishman lit the blue touch paper and exploded into action, setting the fastest time of the entire race (226.940mph) on lap 185 as he moved up from what had been 14th place on the grid to fifth position by the finish.

“I was surprised at how quickly we went backwards," admitted team owner Dale Coyne after early setbacks. "And just as happily surprised at how quickly we went forwards!"

If those final laps hadn't been interrupted by two late cautions, (for Graham Rahal crashing on lap 193 and then Dario Franchitti hitting the wall at the restart on lap 197 which meant the race finished under yellow) then who knows where that sort of momentum might have taken the 34-year-old from Sheffield?

"I think we had a legitimate shot if the thing would have stayed green, agreed Coyne. "We're real pleased with the end result. It was fantastic. It was amazing to watch, all day long."

“The #19 Boy Scouts of America car was fantastic," agreed Wilson, reflecting on his day's work at surely the most spectacular 'office' in the world. "Early on we were moving forward then with the second or third set of tyres we had a blistering issue, so we had no grip and lost 10 mph a lap.

"We just hung on until the next pit stop. The guys gave me great pit stops and we just kept working away at it to get a top-five. It was a great day," he said, paying particular thanks to his experienced race engineer Bill Pappas.

“He drove a hell of a race," beamed Pappas, very proud of his driver's efforts in the race. "He is so smart, with that one set of tyres not working - a lot of people would have crashed the car or parked it. But he just hung on and we just tried to keep telling him there was a long way to go, a lot of stops left. His general pace was very competitive, he just kept hanging on. He's just one of a kind, without a doubt."

"We had a chance. The car was working great and I'm really pleased with fifth," picked up Wilson. "It's strange finishing under yellow [but] we knew it was going to happen. There were so many marbles out there. The road was blocked three wide [on the restart] and I just had to pick a line through there trying to attack but also trying not to lose anything – it's tough."




Related Pictures

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Justin Wilson on track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Eric McCombs for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson ready for action. (Photo Credit: Forrest Mellott for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson pit lane photo shoot after qualifying for the 2013 Indianapolis 500. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson in action on track at Indianapolis otor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Walter Kuhn for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson talks to IMS after the race. (Photo Credit: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates with his team after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates with his team owner Roger Penske after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates with his wife Liz after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Team Chevy sweeps the podium as Tony Kanaan (center), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Saturday, August 30, 2014, during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Teammate Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes second, and Ed Carpenter, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes third. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg EllmanLAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, makes a quick pit stop while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Brian Cleary/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by posing with the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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