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Wilson claims maiden oval win at Texas

"It's just fantastic," said Wilson, once he'd been given directions to victory lane - an unfamiliar location to him at an oval track. "I just can't believe we managed to pull this off. The car was fantastic. And on the long runs, it just got better and better. I saw people sliding around and knew I just had to hit my marks.

"It was four-wheel drifting all the way into turn 3 and all the way out of turn 4," he added. "You were having to hang on out there." And no one did it better than Wilson, to claim his first IndyCar win since Watkins Glen in 2009 and Dale Coyne Racing's second series victory, Wilson having previously driven them to victory lane at Detroit in 2008.

Ryan Briscoe was unable to capitalise on the wounded Ganassi car in time and had to settle for third place - but he wasn't unhappy about that.

"I had the lead, I just didn't have the car to bring it home and stay in front. It's disappointing but I had a huge moment out there at one point tonight and I'll take third," he said. "Man you just had to hang on. It was hard work. My car, the last two sets of tyres just went off really badly in the back, so I was battling a loose car, which is hard work. I'm glad the race is over!"

James Hinchcliffe held on to fourth place ahead of JR Hildebrand, who had survived a spectacular slide in the opening laps but after that had settled down to a strong run that just somehow lacked that final killer edge to make a play for the outright race win.

"Starting from 23rd or 24th or wherever we started, I'm definitely happy to come home with a top five," said the Californian. "The last few stints it was super loose, but we're able to keep the speed up enough to not lose a lot of laps or positions, and when the car was good we could just hammer on it and catch it all back up. We would have liked for the car to be a little more competitive at the end of the runs, but shoot man, we'll take it."

Simon Pagenaud recovered from his early drive-thru penalty and going a lap down to finish in sixth place ahead of Castroneves. For a sportscar road course specialist, the Frenchman had not only proved surprisingly adept at the oval challenge, he'd enjoyed it too - as physical as it had proved.

"Man, I enjoyed it actually - I didn't think I would that much," he admitted. "I love the high side when it works. It's cool. I was very comfortable in turn 1 ... Once I got the hang of it, I had a really, really good race car. It was blindingly fast. I kept adjusting all race long."

If it hadn't been for that early mistake in pit lane, Pagenaud fancied that a win hadn't been too far out of reach: "Unfortunately, I made a big mistake in the pits early, which cost us a lot," he said. "Otherwise, maybe, we could fight for the win. The car was that good. But, I'm catching on. I learned a lot tonight, I made some good passes. Hats off to the guys."

But the night truly belonged to the Brit firing off the handguns in victory lane. You couldn't miss him: not only was he sporting a massive great Stetson, he was also wearing the broadest grin in Texas on Saturday night - and deservedly so.

Full race results available.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
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)
Scott Dixon [credit: IndyCar Series]
Scott Dixon Indy 500 qualifying
James Davison
Ryan Hunter-Reay Indy 500 practice 2017
Will Power Indy 500 practice
Josef Newgarden, Penske, IndyCar, Barber Motorsports Park
Stefan Wilson, 2016 Indy 500
James Hinchcliffe, Long Beach, IndyCar
Will Power - Team Penske
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to victory at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to pole at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Graham Rahal celebrates victory in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway   (image credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens)
Scott Dixon leads the Indycar field   [pic credit: Indycar media/Bret Kelley]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]

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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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