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Wilson claims maiden oval win at Texas

Everyone took the chance to come in for service during the yellow, and the pit road was a busy and eventful place: Tony Kanaan's air jack failed, costing him a bunch of positions; Simon Pagenaud misjudged his entry into his box and ended up hitting the tyres laid out for him, netting him a drive-thru penalty and also delaying Justin Wilson in the pit stall ahead; and Will Power was also frustrated after his right rear wheel wasn't fitted properly and he had to make a second stop, meaning he dropped all the way back from third before the caution to 20th afterwards.

But that hadn't affected the control of the race by Dixon and Rahal who resumed as a Ganassi 1-2 ahead of James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti at the restart on lap 40. However, in a demonstration of how quickly the new DW12 car could fall out of the "sweet spot" on a track like Texas, Rahal found his handling rapidly deteriorating as the sun set and the night-time took over, and by lap 63 he was 4mph off Dixon's lap times and in danger of losing touch.

The second caution of the night came to his aid and allowed him to make a much-needed pit stop. The yellow was a consequence of Takuma Sato spinning on the backstretch, an odd place to lose the car so far beyond the exit of turn 2: "I don't know what happened in the end. I just lost it in turn 2 when the back end just suddenly slid," said the Japanese driver.

"It was really a shame because up until then we were running strong after starting at the back of the grid and moving up with good strategy," he added. "We had a good pit stop and a good restart and everything seemed to be okay. I was a little loose after the pit stop and I just suddenly lost the rear end."

There were also retirements shortly afterwards for Ryan Hunter-Reay and Oriol Servia, both with technical problems that dropped them well off the pace and forced them to park for the night.

"Injector problem, I don't know - just lost power. We slowly but surely were losing power," explained Hunter-Reay. "We had a really good start to the season going, really good in points. Now with three straight mechanical issues it's so unfortunate."

"We started to have a fuel pressure alarm on the wheel and every lap was just all of a sudden getting worse," said Servia for his part. "I was running full throttle and it just wouldn't carry any speed. We think we have an injector problem or something, which is rare, but it happened today."

For everyone else it was time to get back to racing on lap 72, and this seemed to be Justin Wilson's moment. Having been caught up in Pagenaud's pit stop mishap earlier in the race, the Englishman was really flying now and he was quickly up into the top six. Will Power also looked to be back in the game after his earlier double stop for a loose tyre, and was now back in the top ten and moving forward with a steely resolve.

At the front, the race still seemed like a lock for Scott Dixon. However, he'd lost his team mate wing man: Graham Rahal was still out of the optimal zone he'd enjoyed in the earlier laps and had been overtaken for second by James Hinchcliffe, the GoDaddy.com lime green car now sparkling under Texas Motor Speedway's dazzling floodlights.

A round of green flag pit stops started around lap 112 just shy of the midway point of the race, and Marco Andretti was one of the early takers. However there was a mishap with the refuelling and as he pulled out of the pit box, the back of the #26 was on fire. Literally. Marco hustled the car round a lap, pulled back in and jumped out of the car - only to find that that the fire had by now gone out and had fortunately been limited to a surface layer of fuel on the chassis that had done no significant damage. In fact the bigger problem was strapping Marco back into the cockpit, and by the time he was underway again he was several laps off the lead and out of contention.




Related Pictures

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Graham Rahal is stalked by Justin Wilson during the Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, USA. June 9 2012. (c) 2012, Phil Abbott LAT Photo USA (Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Justin Wilson burnout after winning the Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, USA. June 9 2012. (c) 2012, Phil Abbott LAT Photo USA (Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Winner Justin Wilson celebrates in victory lane with guns after winning the Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, USA. June 9 2012. (c) 2012, Michael L. Levitt LAT Photo USA (Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
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)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by hoisting 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)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by kissing 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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just observing - Unregistered

June 11, 2012 7:59 AM

Congrats to Justin... he deserves it but now that Honda has won 3 races in a row I wonder if there will be any rule changes on the CHev side of things... after all it was one of the supporting arguments when Honda wanted a change



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