After Friday finished in frustration for Justin Wilson, when he was forced to miss the shoot-out for pole position after making contact with the Edmonton tyre wall, Saturday ended in celebration with a well-deserved podium.
Buoyed by a $10,000 cheque for his 'Firestone Tire-ific' overtaking move at the previous weekend's Mid-Ohio event, which saw him take the lead in the wet, and still starting from inside the top six despite his mishap, Wilson held position until Will Power pitted with a problem, moving the #02 McDonald's car up one place.
Communication was proving difficult for the Briton, however, as his radio hadn't worked properly since the green flag, and Wilson wasn't hearing the request to go to 'oil position two' and similar instructions, and this was to prove an intermittent nuisance factor throughout the race.
In spite of that, tee #02 remained a factor in the top five throughout the two pit-stop windows, its position only wavering due to the strategies of others, and enjoyed a spirited exchange of places with former Champ Car rival Paul Tracy before heading into the closing stages looking a sure candidate for fifth place. However, there was some unplanned assistance ahead, as Oriol Servia ran into third-placed Dan Wheldon after both were baulked by Marco Andretti, and Wilson gratefully accepted the chance to slip ahead of both and take third spot.
“Under the circumstances, I am very happy with today, and it's great to put the McDonald's car in the top three," the Briton admitted, "We've had the capability of doing that on many occasions, but something has always gone wrong. Today's race was very eventful, but we were able to stay clean out there. We knew when to back off and we knew when to push, and that's why we're here."
In the four races held at Edmonton since 2005, Wilson has now finished fourth, first, second and third respectively, and the 35 points he earned for the latest podium elevates him to 16th place in the overall standings.
“It's great to finally get the McDonald's car in the top-three and especially here at the Rexall Indy,” he said, “We've now finished in every position in the top four, but it would be nice to get a couple more firsts. I was behind Wheldon, waiting for an opportunity to pass, and lost some ground to the cars in front of me. That hurt us in terms of fighting for another position today..."