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Wilson claims maiden oval win at Texas

It certainly cost him his shot of what had looked like a very real chance of a rare oval victory: "I do have to say, that's the best racing I've ever had on an oval. The car was moving around. And that's the sort of racing we need at places like this," he said. "Feel like we could have won the race."

That drive-thru handed the lead to Briscoe with the third Penske driver Castroneves alongside him in second. But Briscoe's time in front was short-lived, because by now Graham Rahal had resolved his mid-race handling issues and was back on it, breezing past both Penske cars to take the lead on lap 199. He was the last Ganassi man left standing (excepting Franchitti trudging around at the back of the field) and had to pick up Dixon's fallen standard and carry the team colours to the finish line.

Briscoe tried to stay with Rahal, but behind him it was clear that Castroneves had a problem as he lost places to Justin Wilson and James Hinchcliffe in rapid succession.

"Unfortunately we had a lot of vibration and lost a lot of rear wheel grip towards the end, we just couldn't hold the top three and finished seventh," he said afterwards. "It's upsetting because when you have a set up like that because it really gives you a great opportunity."

However, Castroneves was still walking away from Texas with a solid sense of satisfaction in the weekend's work. "We passed a lot of cars and were able to drive through the field," he said. "I will take seventh with a big smile on my face because I've crashed many times out there and so I'm happy we were able to finish in the top ten."

With a dozen laps remaining, Rahal was still in front and Briscoe trying to close the gap, but then he found himself overtaken by a charging Justin Wilson. Even so, it seemed that the Englishman could do nothing to charge down the race leader 2s down the road and would have to settle for second place.

Rahal's car had looked a handful earlier in this final run but had seemed to settle down again into a drivable groove. At least, right up to lap 225, three laps from the chequered flag, at which point Rahal's car decided it could no longer resist the attraction of smacking the wall out of the exit of turn 4.

"I just made a mistake," admitted Rahal. "I mean the car was pushing through the centre of 3 and 4 pretty well the last stint, and it would kind of grip up for me late in the corner and I kind of stayed with it because they told me Justin was coming. So I was trying to pick up the pace a little bit, and honestly it just never gripped up, and I didn't give myself enough of a margin for error."

"I saw him sliding more and more every lap," said the man with the best seat in the house of Rahal's accident, Justin Wilson. "I didn't think there was no chance, but when I saw him hit the wall, I thought "'Okay, now it's time to go.'"

Miraculously the car wasn't fatally damaged by the rough kiss and Rahal was able to gather up his wits and keep on running, but it was the opening Wilson needed to blast past and take the lead. The lanky Brit needed no further invitations and held the top spot until the chequered flag came out less than two minutes later.




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 and Carlos Munoz flank winner Mike Conway during their victory lap (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon rolls out of pitlane during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Munoz, Mike Conway and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Munoz, Mike Conway and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates pole position in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay leads Sebastien Bourdais during the early stages of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay leads James Hinchcliffe during the early stages of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway (centre), driver of the #20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory with champagne Sunday, April 13, 2014 after winning the IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, California. Will Power (right), driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, finished second. (Photo Credit: Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Josef Newgarden at work at Long Beach. (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchliffe (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power on track (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay around the fountain turn during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay on course during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay on course during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)

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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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