Texas Motor Speedway Race Report

Circuit: Texas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval) Fort Worth, TX
2011 Winners: Will Power (Team Penske Honda) 206.639 mph average [Race 2]
Dario Franchitti (Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) 181.649 mph average [Race 1]

Weather: Clear, warm, 88 degrees F

Top 10 Race Results:

Fn. St. Driver Team Engine Chassis Laps Average Speed/Notes
1. 17. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dallara 228 157.217 mph avg.; led 11 laps
2. 3. Graham Rahal Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dallara 228 -3.9020 seconds; led 27 laps
3. 10. Ryan Briscoe Team Penske Chevrolet Dallara 228 -5.8619 seconds; led 5 laps
4. 6. James Hinchcliffe Andretti Autosport Chevrolet Dallara 228 -10.4511 seconds; led 8 laps
5. 23. JR Hildebrand Panther Racing Chevrolet Dallara 228 -18.7749 seconds
6. 9. Simon Pagenaud-R Schmidt Hamilton Racing Honda Dallara 228 -21.3883 seconds
7. 15. Helio Castroneves Team Penske Chevrolet Dallara 227 Running
8. 5. Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet Dallara 227 Running; led 24 laps
9. 1. Alex Tagliani Bryan Herta Autosport Honda Dallara 227 Running; led 20 laps
10. 21. James Jakes Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dallara 227 Running

Other Honda-powered Results:

13. 25. Josef Newgarden-R Sarah Fisher Hartman Honda Dallara 226 Running
14. 2. Dario Franchitti Target Chip Ganassi Honda Dallara 225 Running
16. 17. Mike Conway A.J. Foyt Racing Honda Dallara 224 Running
18. 4. Scott Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Honda Dallara 173 DNF - contact; led 133 laps
22. 20. Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda Dallara 63 Did not finish - contact
23. 16. Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dallara 29 Did not finish - contact

R - IndyCar Series Rookie

Wiley Wilson Wins in Texas

A "never-give-up" performance from Justin Wilson saw the popular veteran come from behind to win Saturday night's Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway, the third consecutive IZOD IndyCar Series race victory and 1-2 finish for Honda in 2012.

Wilson, whose Honda-powered Dale Coyne Racing IndyCar ran faster and faster as the night wore on, was closing the gap to race leader Graham Rahal in the final laps of the 228-lap contest, then took the lead for the second and final time when Rahal brushed the wall exiting Turn 4 with just two laps remaining. Wilson powered by for his eighth career IndyCar victory and first oval track win.

After contact, Rahal was able to continue and nurse his damaged Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing Honda to a second-place finish, for Honda's third consecutive 1-2 result this season. Honda drivers finished first and second (Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon) at the Indianapolis 500 two weeks ago, and 1-2-3 (Dixon, Franchitti and Simon Pagenaud) at last Sunday's Belle Isle Detroit Grand Prix.

Dixon dominated the first two thirds of tonight's race, leading 133 of the first 170 laps. But the Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver lost control while running in traffic on Lap 174, spinning and crashing without injury. Making his first start at Texas, Simon Pagenaud solidified his lead in the series Rookie of the Year standings and moved to fifth in the overall championship with a solid sixth-place finish tonight; while pole qualifier Alex Tagliani battled handling issues throughout the second half of the race to persevere for a ninth-place finish. In the second Dale Coyne entry, James Jakes rounded out the top-10 finishers, posting his best result of the season.

The June run of consecutive IZOD IndyCar Series races continues next week, with the first short-oval race of 2012, the June 16 IndyFest at The Milwaukee Mile in the Milwaukee suburb of West Allis, Wis.

IZOD IndyCar Series Drivers' Championship (after 7 of 16 races):
1. Will Power 256 points (3 wins) 6. Dario Franchitti 192 (1 win)
2. Scott Dixon 222 (1 win) 7. Ryan Hunter-Reay 181
3. James Hinchcliffe 208 8. Ryan Briscoe 177
4. Helio Castroneves 203 9. Tony Kanaan 160
5. Simon Pagenaud 199 10. Justin Wilson 156 (1 win)

Manufacturers' Championship: Rookie of the Year:
1. Chevrolet 54 1. Simon Pagenaud 199
2. Honda 51 2. Josef Newgarden 104
3. Lotus 28 3. Katherine Legge 76

Justin Wilson (#18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda) started 17th, finished 1st, 1st win of 2012, 8th career victory, 1st oval track win; 3rd consecutive IndyCar win and 1-2 finish for Honda in 2012: "This is just fantastic. I have to thank [engineer] Bill [Pappas] and everyone at Dale Coyne Racing. They work so many long hours, and everyone on the team made this possible. Honda gave us a great engine once again, and great [fuel] mileage. I'm just so pleased to be aligned with them. I had a blast out there tonight. Our car just got better and better as the race went on. I knew I was catching Graham [Rahal] and I could see him sliding more and more. So I said 'it's time to go' and drove flat out, the car was four-wheel drifting all the way through Turns 3 and 4. Once he [Rahal] touched the wall and I got the lead, my car was still sliding a lot but I wasn't about to lift until I saw the checkers."

Graham Rahal (#38 Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) started 3rd, finished 2nd, led 27 laps before wall contact on Lap 226: "Honestly, I just messed up. There's not much more I can say. We were chasing the car all night, but worked really hard to put ourselves in a position to win, and we were there. The car was understeering, but the same amount every lap. Then, it just washed out and slid into the wall. We'll win one here, but it should have been tonight. This one may haunt me for a long time."

Scott Dixon (#9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) started 4th, finished 18th, led 133 laps before crashing without injury on Lap 174: "We'd been getting loose at the end of each stint, and we were nearing the end of this one. I came up on some [lapped] traffic, and the cars in front of me slowed down more than I thought. My car got loose, I touched the apron and the back end snapped around. It was my fault. The team gave me a great car tonight, I'm just gutted for everyone."

Roger Griffiths (Technical Director, Honda Performance Development) on tonight's third consecutive IndyCar race win and 1-2 finish for Honda: "This is a track where, even on a small team, a smart driver and engineer can combine to upset bigger teams – and that's what we saw tonight. Credit to Justin, [engineer] Bill Pappas and the Dale Coyne team for pulling it off. Scott Dixon dominated the race until the car got away from him, and Graham Rahal did a superior job of positioning himself for the victory, but Justin appeared to have the strongest car when it mattered the most. Texas is a track where Honda has had a fair bit of success, and we're extremely pleased to continue that tradition. It shows that the hard work and dedication of everyone at HPD now is earning results."

For photogaphs from tonight's race, go to:

http://www.sportssystems.com/hosting/display.cfm?key=101626

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