FORT WORTH, Texas (June 11, 2012) - The victory by Justin Wilson for Dale Coyne Racing in Saturday night's IZOD IndyCar Series Firestone 550 ended a dominant run by Penske Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing in this annual June event at Texas Motor Speedway.
The two IZOD IndyCar Series organizational powerhouses had a stranglehold on Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway, with the duo combining to win every race at the venue since 2006. The run spanned seven races, including the twin-race format last season where fittingly Ganassi and Penske each won with Dario Franchitti taking the opener and Will Power winning in the second race, respectively. Penske had five of the wins during that stretch and owns an IZOD IndyCar Series record seven overall at Texas Motor Speedway.
Both were once again in prime position Saturday night to extend that streak as their drivers combined to lead 189 of the 228 laps in the Firestone 550 and Ganassi driver Graham Rahal (No. 38 Service Central Honda) was two laps away from locking up the win before brushing the wall in Turn 4 and giving Wilson (No. 18 Sonny's BBQ Honda) the victory.
The victory by Dale Coyne Racing and Wilson was the first by a driver other than one with Penske or Ganassi since 2005 when Tomas Scheckter won the Bombardier Learjet 500k for owner John Barnes and Panther Racing. It was the second IZOD IndyCar Series career victory for Dale Coyne Racing; the other came in 2009 at Watkins Glen with Wilson.
"Well, someone had to replace those names so we're working toward that," Coyne said afterward. "It was pretty special with the new car. We all started from square one, and I think it has showed we've been pretty competitive with that. We struggled a little bit the first few races, but we figured it out quickly and we ran strong at Indy, had a legitimate shot at Indy and had a legitimate shot here, and we finished the deal tonight so we're very pleased with that.
"I don't know how many years we went with nobody but Penske and Ganassi winning in the oval races. I think it was like a three-year stint there where no one else could win on an oval. I think we were close at Indy, obviously we did it here, so it's a great accomplishment."
Wilson definitely was a long shot to win the Firestone 550 considering his deep starting position as well as his struggles on the high-banked, 1.5-mile oval. In his five starts prior to Saturday's victory, his best starting position was 12th, best finish was 15th and he had never led a lap.
It was Wilson's third career IZOD IndyCar Series win since joining the series in 2008 from Champ Car, but first ever on an oval in Indy-car competition. He was particularly pleased that it came at Texas Motor Speedway, especially considering his lack of past success.
"(It was special to win at Texas) because this is considered more of a traditional mile-and-a-half oval and typically we've run flat out here, and the quickest car usually wins as far as straight-line speed not necessarily balance and handling (like tonight)," said Wilson, a 33-year-old Brit. "For me, this was a track I seemed to have struggled on the most over the last few years so I wanted to put that to rest. To have the car to do it with is a great feeling. I'm just really happy to get my first win on an oval. It's a big relief and it's great to get another win for this man (Coyne)."