SAINT PETERSBURG, Florida (March 24, 2013) – In less of a blink of an eye. That was how close Justin Wilson’s No. 19 Sonny’s Bar-B-Q/Boy Scouts of America Honda came to advancing to the Firestone Fast 12 during qualifying for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Saturday afternoon.
Wilson ran very strong during the 10-minute qualifying session on a cloudy and humid day in St. Petersburg. With less than two minutes remaining, Marco Andretti mange to overtake Wilson for the sixth and final spot to advance to the Firestone Fast 12 over Wilson by a mere .0217 of second. Wilson will start in the 13th spot for Sunday’ race on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn circuit on streets of downtown St. Petersburg.
"I’ve got to thank everyone at Dale Coyne Racing for working so hard this weekend,” said Wilson. “We’ve not been quick enough, but we’ve kept plugging away today, trying to figure out how to make the No. 19 Sonny’s Bar-B-Q/Boy Scouts of America Honda work with the new Firestone tire. We’re mid-pack right now, but hopefully we can keep making improvements. Our focus now is on having a strong race tomorrow."
In her first race in an IndyCar since May 2012, driver Ana Beatriz just couldn’t find the right setup for the car and her No. 18 Ipiranga Honda will start 25th for Sunday’s race.
"It was a learning process today for me today,” said Beatriz. “I have been trying to get back up to speed being in the car after not racing much of last year. So it is a learning process, but I am confident that I have shaken off the rust. My goal tomorrow is get into a good rhythm and make up some ground in the race. Hopefully that will translate into a good finish for the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Ipiranga Honda."
Beatriz competed in only two IZOD IndyCar events last year (Sao Paulo and Indianapolis) driving for Andretti Autosport.
The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg can be seen live on NBC Sports TV starting at 12:00 p.m. (EDT) on Sunday, March 24 with the green flag flying at 12:40 PM (EDT).
Dale Coyne Racing
Chris Gallas, Director of Public Relations