HOUSTON, Texas – With a heat index of 108 degrees in Houston on Saturday, Justin Wilson and Mike Conway ran as hot as they could together and rewarded the team with another podium finish.
Wilson started 12th, had a punctured tire that caused an early green lap pit stop and still was able to charge through the pact to finish third in the Shell/Pennzoil Houston Grand Prix.
“Wow what a race,” expired Wilson. “With the heat and the tire puncture and having to save fuel, I still wanted to keep racing at the end for more position. Our No. 19 Boy Scouts of America team gave me a great car with some great pit stops and strategy that paid off with a podium finish for Dale Coyne Racing.”
Justin was running strong in the beginning, but had a flat tire that caused him to pit on lap 24. This would create a close window on fuel for the rest of the day, but it all worked to his favor.
Mike Conway, who started 11th in his No. 18 Sonny’s Bar-B-Q IndyCar, had some brake problems early and yet continued to move through the field. His teammate Wilson would pass him and after that the two drivers were like fighter jets in formation. Pass after pass that Wilson would make, Conway was able to get pulled through and make the same pass. The two kept moving toward the front in formation.
After their last pit stops they were running 5th and 6th, and knowing that a couple of cars in front still had to make their last stop it looked like a double podium finish for Dale Coyne Racing may be in the cards.
Unfortunately, there was yellow to retrieve a stalled car a car blocking safety truck caused a tight exit of turn 4. Justin arrived at it and just barely missed hitting the truck, but Conway was right up Justin’s gearbox and by the time he saw the truck he had to veer right into the run off stalling the car and ending his hopes at a podium step along his teammate.
“It was difficult today, the brakes were long and track rough,” commented Conway. “By the time I saw the safety truck it was hit him full on or turn into the run off. Luckily it did not turn out as bad as it could have. I have to thank Dale and all the guys for giving me a car that could get to the front and we look forward to tomorrow’s race.”
Today was the first race of the doubleheader weekend here in Houston. The IndyCar Series go at it again tomorrow in race two on NBC Sports Network at Noon (EDT) with a 1:30 PM Green Flag.
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