Justin Wilson provided Dale Coyne Racing with its first-ever IndyCar Series victory - in the 25-year old team's 558th open-wheel start - in the Camping World Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, fending off the attentions of three of the series' 'big four' in the process.

The Briton, whose only previous top ten finish this year came with third place in the season-opener at St Petersburg, became the first driver outside of the Target Chip Ganassi Racing-Team Penske quartet to win since he last tasted victory, with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing at Belle Isle last August.

Facing a lap 54 restart with the #6 and #9 cars of Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon chasing, Wilson claimed that he was having to hold off 'two goliaths', but superior pace on the red-walled Firestone tyres ensured that 'David' was able to pull away and win comfortably, breaking Coyne's long drought.

"It feels fantastic," said the Briton, who started on the outside of the front row and led a race-high 49 laps, "This is the most important win in my career. Winning with Dale and showing what we can do, it's a fantastic feeling."

Wilson used Firestone's 'alternate' tyres on the final restart to pull away and beat Briscoe to the chequered flag by 4.9906secs, with Dixon, who took over the championship points lead, finishing third. Penske's Helio Castroneves advanced nine positions to finish fourth, while Marco Andretti overcame going a lap down following contact with EJ Viso on lap five to battle back through the field and overtake Mike Conway on the final lap for fifth.

"We've just worked at this all year, and we've put a lot of effort into the road courses so to dominate like we did is fantastic," Wilson noted after bettering the second place finish achieved by Coyne and Bruno Junqueira in the 2007 Champ Car race at Zolder, "I've got to thank Dale for putting me into the car - I didn't think I would be driving this season, and here we are in Victory Lane. It feels great. I was grinning from ear to ear on the last lap. It just felt so good to do that for Dale. We've been trying to build this team up, and we're coming."

Wilson inherited the lead on lap 45 when Andretti made his final stop for fuel and tyres and, while Briscoe closed to 0.4743secs with ten laps left - before a full-course caution period for Hideki Mutoh's contact with the turn seven barrier on lap 52 - Wilson's ability to call on two sets of the Firehawk 'reds' for the race proved to be the key.

"It took too long," said Coyne, who is competing in his 25th year of open-wheel racing as a driver and owner, "We knew Justin was a strong road racer. We almost showed it at St Pete, and we showed it here."

Briscoe, running on the regular compound tyres for the final stint, took runner-up honours for the fourth time this season, and is now tied for second in the standings with Dario Franchitti after the Scot's Polaroid-branded Ganassi entry spun into the gravel in the Inner Loop on lap 23. Franchitti, who held a slender one-point advantage entering the race, returned to the fray, but finished 15th and a lap down. He and Briscoe now sit 19 points behind Dixon at the halfway point of the season.

Briscoe had been looking a good bet to wrest the early lead back from Wilson, but his bid was scuppered when the caution flags flew just as he was making his run to the pits. Unable to take on a full complement of fuel and tyres under the regulations, the Australian had to make a second stop, which dropped him down the order.

"Big congrats to Dale Coyne, the whole team and Justin," polesitter Briscoe said magnanimously, "We went a lap further than him in the first stint, and that was going to get us the lead back, but unfortunately the yellow came and we had to make two pit-stops.

"That put us back and we had to work hard to come through the field. We had some great pit-stops and it was pretty exciting at the end with everybody on the softer compound. I had my hands full defending them."

Briscoe's result ensured that the pole winner has still to win the IndyCar race at The Glen in five visits, the Australian feeling the pain more than once. Previous race winner Dixon, meanwhile, admitted that third was the best that he could do in the lead Ganassi car.

"It was definitely pretty tough," the Kiwi admitted, "We lost a spot at the start when I didn't shift down enough gears and [Mario] Moraes got by us, so it was a tough first stint. We had about eight to ten laps on the tyres from qualifying, and they wore out pretty quick. We got caught out on strategy, and we didn't have enough. Congratulations to Justin - he drove a fantastic race and was unstoppable today but, thanks to the Target boys, we still had a good day."

Leading rookie Conway ran strongly all day, challenging Wilson for the lead mid-race before being shuffled back during the later pit-stops as the more experienced Ganassi and Penske crews pushed their men to the fore. Sixth, however, was still the Dreyer & Reinbold driver's best showing of the season.

"It was a great result for everybody," the Briton confirmed, "It was a shame that we couldn't quite get the result in the end. It was a case of me coming out of the box, and I lost a couple of seconds. That gave me the gap to Wilson, and everyone came in between us. We were running top five and saving fuel, but I struggled with the balance in the end."

Viso's seventh place was a season high for the #13 PDVSA HVM Racing team, finally giving the Venezuelan and Keith Wiggins' outfit some reward for the endeavours.

"We had a pretty good race, forgetting the first few laps [when] I broke my front wing [in the contact with Andretti]," Viso reported, "Other than that, we had a good car and we had very, very good pit-stops. I am very proud of being able to work very hard throughout the championship to achieve, little by little, better results."

Tony Kanaan, Robert Doornbos - who started 17th in the #06 Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing entry before equalling his best result of the season - and Dan Wheldon rounded out the top ten, with Danica Patrick eleventh. Paul Tracy's return ended in the Turn Seven barriers after an error from the veteran, while Ryan-Hunter Reay's spell as successor to the Canadian in the AJ Foyt entry ended on the opening tour.