2009 IRL Team Reports: Dale Coyne Racing

IRL Team reports for the 2009 IRL season

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Postby mlittle » Tue Jul 07, 2009 8:07 pm

Justin takes Dale Coyne's first win at Watkins Glen

Justin took Dale Coyne Racing to an historic first victory after a commanding performance in Sunday's Camping World Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International. He took the race lead from Lap 5 and, after controlling the pace during the first of two fuel-saving stints, was unleashed after the final yellow to pull out a five second gap by the chequered flag. Ryan Briscoe was 2nd for Team Penske, while Scott Dixon took 3rd place for Chip Ganassi Racing. The achievement moves Justin into 10th in the championship standings.

"It feels great," said an exhilarated Justin. "I was grinning from ear to ear on the last lap. I've got to thank Dale for giving me the opportunity this year. The whole Z-Line Designs team has worked so hard to get to this point. I said we'd win a race this year and we have, but to do it by dominating like we did today is just fantastic. This is the most important win of my career - it's a fantastic feeling to win with Dale and show what we can do on a track as great as this one."

Starting from the outside of the front row, Justin attacked Briscoe as soon as the race went green and was all over the back of the Australian for the first few laps before getting ahead through the Bus Stop on Lap 4. With a two-stop strategy just achievable with fuel saving, Justin had to control the pace by making sure he was fast where he needed to be in order to keep a comfortable margin over the cars behind.

He pitted for the first time on Lap 18 and shortly after found himself the beneficiary of a full course caution on Lap 20. Briscoe was forced to pit under yellow and dropped back through the field. This left Justin to defend his lead against rookie Mike Conway (Dreyer & Reinbold) and Hideki Mutoh (Andretti Green) for all of the second stint. Once again, he was able to control the pace and save sufficient fuel to make it to the end of the race without stopping a third time.

Meanwhile Briscoe and Dixon moved steadily back through the field, leapfrogging positions by running longer to their final pitstops. After quick in and out laps for his last stop on Lap 41, Justin once again emerged in the lead. When the track went green following a final full course caution on Lap 52, enough fuel had been saved for a full out blast to the finish. Justin needed no extra encouragement and put the hammer down for the last five laps of the race, pulling out an impressive second-a -lap lead by the finish.

After much celebration with the team, family and friends Justin will head across the border to Toronto for next weekend's street race, the scene of his maiden Champ Car victory in 2005.

Justin's dominating performance has earned him a nomination for the Firestone Tire-ific move of the race. Cast your vote for Justin now at www.indycar.com.


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Postby mlittle » Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:13 am

Toronto: Justin Wilson preview


Justin raring to go in Toronto

After his popular victory at Watkins Glen last Sunday Justin has been on the go all week, fulfilling many and varied media commitments as the IndyCar Series heads to Canada for the next two events. First up is this weekend's Honda Indy Toronto around the streets of Exhibition Place.

"It's exciting to be back here in Toronto," said Justin. "There's a great atmosphere here, the fans are really into open wheel racing and it's a fun event for the drivers. As street tracks go, there's an interesting mix of high and low speed corners, some elevation changes and a mix of surfaces which adds to the challenge."

Justin goes into this weekend buoyed up by his Watkins Glen win and by the early season form the team showed at St Petersburg and Long Beach. His familiarity with the 1.75 mile Toronto street circuit should also play to his advantage this weekend. Justin took his maiden Champ Car victory here in 2005, started from pole position in 2006 and charged back from an early spin to take 3rd in 2007. He's hoping to draw on that deep well of experience this weekend.

"Everyone's on a high after Watkins Glen, but we're completely focused on getting the job done here," added Justin. "We've gone well on the other street courses this year and we're looking to carry all that momentum forward this weekend. We know what it takes to win at this track and if we have a trouble-free weekend there's no reason why we can't be out at the front again on Sunday."

Practice starts on Friday with qualifying on Saturday. Sunday's race starts at 1pm EDT (6pm BST) with live TV coverage on ABC in the US and on Sky Sports Xtra in the UK. A full event schedule, live timing and scoring, radio coverage and video streaming are available at www.indycar.com.

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Postby mlittle » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:29 am

Justin Wilson Qualifies Number Four in Toronto

Toronto, ON (July 11, 2009) -- Dale Coyne Racing driver Justin Wilson backed up his win last week at Watkins Glen by qualifying a strong Number Four for the Honda Indy Toronto race tomorrow. Wilson will start in the second row in the #18 Z-Line Designs/Leon's IndyCar.

Justin and the Number 18 car raced into the Firestone Fast Six and the car performed well. Rear grip was an issue in the narrow circuit around the streets of Toronto, but the adjustments between the second session and the Fast Six laps were in the right direction. The team used its two sets of Firestone alternate tires in the second session and Fast Six session. Wilson's overall time was just a bit short at 61.516 seconds.

"We had a reasonable day today," said Justin. "We struggled with the rear grip but the adjustments made to the car really helped. I was pleased with the lap on the reds but it just wasn't fast enough for the pole. Tomorrow should be a very interesting race."

The IndyCar® Series will be televised live on ABC-TV and coverage will begin for the Honda Indy Toronto on Sunday, July 12th at 1:00 p.m. (EDT).
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Postby mlittle » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:30 am

Justin to start on second row at Honda Indy Toronto

Coming here on the back of a famous victory at Watkins Glen last weekend, Justin continued his fine qualifying form on road and street circuits. In the #18 Z-Line Designs car, he posted the fourth fastest time in today's final qualifying session for the Honda Indy Toronto. His time of 1:01.5157s (102.705 mph) in the Firestone Fast Six shoot-out leaves the Dale Coyne Racing entry alongside former Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team-mate Graham Rahal on the second row.

Dario Franchitti (Target Chip Ganassi) secured pole position with a time of 1:01.0249, ahead of Will Power (Penske Racing).

Having reached the Firestone Fast Six each time this season, Justin is used to the tactical decisions involving tyre choice. Unlike last weekend, he had to use the faster, softer "red" alternate tyres to progress into shoot-out. His Fast Six effort was split into two runs, the first on used reds and then on new primary tyres.

Justin reflected: "After struggling for lateral rear grip early on, I set my fastest time on the used reds in my first stint of final qualifying. Unfortunately it was not enough to beat Dario, Will and Graham but I'm quite pleased with the time I set."

"I like this track" continued Justin: "There are opportunities to tune the car in, so it works better around the circuit. There are places to overtake and overall I'm pleased with fourth. We are hoping for a trouble-free race and a chance to move forward."

Sunday's race starts at 1pm EDT (6pm BST) with live TV coverage on ABC in the US and on Sky Sports Xtra in the UK.


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Postby mlittle » Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:54 pm

Justin pleased with 5th in Toronto

After dominating proceedings a week ago at Watkins Glen - and picking up the Firestone Tire-ific Move of the Race for that achievement - Justin's hopes for a follow-up podium at Toronto fell just out of reach. On a hot and slippery track that caught out many other drivers, he kept his head down to stay out of trouble and bring the #18 Z-Line Designs entry home in 5th place. Dario Franchitti took victory for Chip Ganassi Racing, with Ryan Briscoe and Will Power rounding out the podium for Team Penske. Justin's solid points haul from this weekend moves him up to 9th in the championship standings.

Justin started from 4th on the grid, but lost out in the first lap melee into Turn 3 and dropped back to 7th position. When the first of five yellow flag cautions came out a few laps later he made an early pit-stop on Lap 10 and switched to an alternate fuel strategy in an effort to make up lost ground. The gamble paid off: after his second and final stop on Lap 49 many of those in front of him were forced to pit under yellow, vaulting Justin back up to 5th. When Paul Tracy (KV Racing) and Helio Castroneves (Team Penske) tangled in front of him on Lap 66 Justin moved up into 3rd place.

The alternate fuel strategy worked out in terms of track position, but required a long final stint with two key trade-offs: the need to save fuel for longer and a lack of fresh rubber in the closing stages. Will Power got past Justin on his softer red Firestones on Lap 71 for 3rd, and Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) outdragged Justin down the backstretch on Lap 79, getting round him through Turn 3 and dropping him back to 5th. Justin stayed in touch all the way to the end, setting the third fastest race lap on Lap 82, but couldn't get close enough to regain 4th before the chequered flag fell on Lap 85.

"Today was a tough race and it was all about survival," said Justin. "There was a lot going on and I was looking to stay out of trouble. The track was very slippery and people were getting caught out. The #18 Z-Line Designs car was good and the guys did a great job on both my stops. My race was a contrast with last week at Watkins Glen, but overall I have to be pleased with a top five for the Dale Coyne Racing car."

With his younger brother Stefan taking 4th place in Saturday's Indy Lights event - driving one-handed for part of the race due to a broken seat - both Wilson brothers showed how to stay cool and make the best of the circumstances.

"Stef was 4th in his Indy Lights race yesterday, so it hasn't been a bad weekend," added Justin. "Now I'm looking forward to a weekend off before Edmonton, where my aim is to run at the front of the field. I want to get another win."


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Postby mlittle » Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:52 am

Top Five Finish for Justin Wilson in Toronto

Toronto, ON (July 12, 2009) -- Dale Coyne Racing driver Justin Wilson followed up his win last week at Watkins Glen with a solid fifth place finish at the Honda Indy Toronto race in the #18 Z-Line Designs/Leon's IndyCar. With this top five finish, Wilson moved up to ninth in the championship point standings.

What turned out to be a crash-filled event resembling a hockey match, Wilson managed to avoid the major incidents and put forth a solid run. The track was slick and passing was extremely difficult on the narrow street circuit but the team had the car poised for a podium finish on the final restart of the race. Wilson was running in third but Will Power managed to squeeze by taking advantage of his softer Firestone alternate tires. Scott Dixon managed to slip by in the closing laps but Wilson was running with the lead pack and was gaining on Dixon as the checkered flag dropped.

"That was certainly an interesting race and it was all about survival today," exclaimed Wilson. "I think we did a great job of setting the car up right for the slick conditions. I knew we had a great shot at a podium today, but we just came up a bit short. I'm really looking forward to Edmonton in two weeks."

Team owner Dale Coyne was pleased with the results in Toronto and the team is excited about another street course on the schedule. "I think we can be proud of our finish today," commented Dale Coyne. "Any time you can back up a win with a top five finish in this series is good. Our program is solid and we proved that again today."

The team is looking forward to another strong run on the street course in Edmonton. Justin Wilson won the event in 2006 and is looking forward to the popular track. Justin also won the $10,000 Firestone "Tire-ific" Move of the Race award for the win at Watkins Glen.

The IndyCar® Series will head to Edmonton in two weeks for the Rexall Edmonton Indy race. Race coverage starts at 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on VERSUS.
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Postby mlittle » Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:46 am

Justin aiming high in Edmonton

Fully recharged after a rare weekend off, Justin and Dale Coyne Racing return to the fray this weekend for Sunday's Rexall Edmonton Indy in Alberta, Canada. The 1.973 mile circuit is one of a kind - a temporary airport track with some permanent corners. Justin won here in 2006 and finished on the podium in 2007 and 2008. He's hoping to be fighting at the sharp end once again this weekend.

"I've loved this track since the first year we came here with Champ Car," said Justin. "It always has a good atmosphere and the layout is fantastic: it's all about controlled aggression - very demanding, but at the same time you have to be precise. We've been very competitive on the road and street circuits this year and I hope to continue that in Edmonton. It would be great to have another podium for Dale Coyne Racing."

Justin provides turn-by-turn commentary around Edmonton in View from the Cockpit on JW TV at www.justinwilson.co.uk.

Practice begins on Friday 24 July and qualifying is on Saturday 25 July, with a live qualifying show from 6 p.m. EDT for fans in the US on Versus. The Rexall Edmonton Indy can be seen on live on Sunday July 26 at 5:00 p.m. EDT on Versus. For UK viewers, Sky Sports 2 has live TV coverage on Saturday from 10.30 p.m. BST. Live timing and scoring, radio and video coverage is available through www.indycar.com.
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Postby mlittle » Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:27 am

Disappointing run sees Justin qualify 15th at Edmonton

Justin failed to get through to the second qualifying run after his time of 1:02.4009s (113.825 mph) was only the 8th fastest time in his group. With only the top six progressing, this brought to an end a sequence that had seen Justin take the #18 Z-Line Designs car into the Firestone Fast Six on every occasion this season.

Penske Racing's Will Power took Pole with a time of 1:01.0133s (116.414 mph).

Using the softer red-walled alternate tyres, Justin set his best time on Lap 7 of his 10 timed laps. This leaves him 15th on the grid, with Tomas Scheckter (Dreyer and Reinbold Racing) completing the 8th row.

Justin said: "Coming into the weekend, I expected to be on the pace so I'm disappointed with 15th but I did the best I could today. We'll work on things and try and improve for tomorrow, and see if we can move up through the field and have a good race".

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Postby mlittle » Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:04 pm

Justin Wilson Finishes 8th; Moves Up in Championship

Edmonton, AB (July 26, 2009) -- Dale Coyne Racing driver Justin Wilson demonstrated another great performance in the #18 Z-Line Designs/Staples car finishing in 8th after starting in 15th position in the Rexall Edmonton Indy race. The team gained knowledge each session throughout the weekend and had a very fast race car on race day. Justin set the 5th fastest lap of the race showing the true potential of his Dale Coyne Racing machine. Justin Wilson proceeded to reel in the competition throughout the race and a combination of consistent speed and great pit stops gained one position on each of the two green flag stops of the race.

Wilson was catching Graham Rahal in the final laps of the race, gaining about two seconds per lap when the caution flag dropped with two laps to go as a result of Tomas Scheckter's contact with the wall.

"I thought we had a really good run and the car was great when the grip came up on the track," commented Justin Wilson. "Edmonton is a unique place with both high and low speed corners on a rough surface causing the car to be much more sensitive with grip levels than any other track we race at. I think we can take what we learned here and apply that knowledge for the future."

Justin Wilson improved his standings again for the third consecutive weekend moving past Tony Kanaan into 8th in the overall championship. The IndyCar Series returns to the ovals next week in Kentucky.

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Postby mlittle » Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:07 pm

Justin pleased with strong run to 8th in Edmonton

Justin and Dale Coyne Racing put in another strong performance on Sunday to take 8th place in the Rexall Edmonton Indy. After a disappointing qualifying session, the #18 Z-Line Designs/Staples car had much more pace on race day and Justin took full advantage of the opportunities available to make steady progress through the field and the result moves him up to 8th place in the championship standings. Will Power took his maiden IndyCar Series victory for Team Penske under a late race yellow, followed home by team-mate Helio Castroneves and Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon.

Starting from 15th on the grid, Justin made up four spots on the opening lap when various mishaps dropped four other drivers back through the field. After that, with the 95 laps just achievable on two stops, fuel saving was the order of the day. Any hopes of making significant progress through an alternate fuel strategy were dashed as the Edmonton race ran unusually caution-free until 2 laps to go, so Justin's race developed by running three laps longer than the cars in front of him in the run up to each of his two pit-stops.

After pitting on Lap 34 he moved up to 9th, ahead of E.J. Viso (HVM Racing) who made his stop on Lap 31 and Tony Kanaan (Andretti Green Racing) who was lucky to escape with only minor injuries from a race-ending fire in pit lane. Justin's middle stint was focused on chasing down Robert Doornbos (Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing). He ran three laps longer than the Dutchman at the final round of pit-stops, pitting on Lap 69 to move up to 8th position. The final stint involved successfully closing a 15s gap to Graham Rahal (Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing), but the caution flag emerged before Justin could make a passing attempt for 7th place.

"I thought we had a really good run," said Justin. "The rough surface at Edmonton means the car is much more sensitive to grip levels than any other track we race at. The car was great when the grip came up on the track and I think we can take what we learned here and apply that knowledge for the future."

The IndyCar Series makes a brief return to oval racing next weekend in Kentucky (1st August), before switching back to road course events in Mid Ohio (9th August) and Sonoma (23rd August).


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Postby mlittle » Sat Aug 01, 2009 12:28 am

Justin hopeful of oval progress in Kentucky

Justin and Dale Coyne Racing are back in action again this weekend as they return to oval racing at Kentucky Speedway for Saturday night's Meijer Indy 300 presented by Red Baron and Edy's. The track is one of the wider 1.5 mile ovals on the IndyCar Series schedule and Justin is hopeful that he and the team will be able to run with the leading pack as they apply knowledge gained earlier this season.

"I'm looking forward to going back to Kentucky," said Justin. "Although we struggled on the 1.5 mile ovals so far this season we learned a lot in those races and ended up setting some competitive times. I'm hoping that we can put all of that experience together and deliver a good result for the Z-Line Designs team this weekend."

Starting this weekend, the Indy Racing League has introduced a new aero package for some of the 1.5 mile ovals to help the cars get closer and aid overtaking. A "push to pass" button is also being introduced for all remaining races to spice up the racing. Drivers will be able to access increased rpm and a power boost (ranging from 5-20bhp) for a limited time (for Kentucky, the allocation will be 20 bursts lasting for 12 seconds at a time). The amount of additional power will vary according to whether the drivers are running their engines lean or rich when they activate the system.

"I've had a lot of experience with push to pass systems on turbo engines over the years," commented Justin. "I'm looking forward to seeing how they work on the normally aspirated Honda engines as well as how the aero changes affect the handling of the car in traffic. It's certainly giving us plenty to think about in terms of set-up for qualifying and the race. I'm looking forward to seeing how it pans out - anything that helps the racing has got to be a good thing."


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Postby mlittle » Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:42 pm

Frustration at Kentucky as qualifying is cancelled

Justin and his Dale Coyne Racing team endured a frustrating afternoon at Kentucky Speedway today. With water being drawn to the track surface by afternoon sunshine, organisers had no choice but to cancel the planned qualifying run for the Meijer Indy 300 event. Despite valiant efforts by track workers, the "weepers" could not be overcome and it would have been dangerous to run at speed on the 1.5 mile oval circuit.

IndyCar Series rules dictate that the grid is set according to entrant points. This means that Justin and his #18 Z-Line Designs car will line up in eighth position, alongside fellow countryman Dan Weldon (Panther Racing) on the fourth row. Pole goes to Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi, ahead of his team-mate Dario Franchitti.

Highlight of the afternoon was a rendition of "Happy Birthday" by those in the autograph queue, as Justin hit 31 today.


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Postby mlittle » Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:42 pm

Justin Wilson Remains in Top-10 after Early Finish at Meijer Indy 300

Sparta, KY (August 1, 2009) - Dale Coyne Racing driver Justin Wilson experienced a wheel bearing failure on his #18 Z-Line Designs car at the Meijer Indy 300. Justin brought the car into the pit on Lap 120, and the team determined the right rear wheel bearing had failed.

"I felt good out there today," said Justin. "We were running a good race and found some things during this shortened weekend that will be very helpful on the ovals. The team is looking forward to the road race next week in Mid-Ohio."

Teams and fans were anticipating an exciting race this weekend because of the subtle changes that could be made to the aerodynamics and extra horsepower from Honda. They were not disappointed as the Meijer Indy 300 was the second fastest race in history for the IndyCar® Series.

Team owner Dale Coyne commented. "Justin was doing well out there and we were optimistic about the changes that were made to the car. I am pleased that we continue to be in the Top-10 point standings for the 2009 IndyCar Series."
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Postby mlittle » Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:43 pm

Wheel bearing failure ends Justin's race at Kentucky Speedway

Justin was classified 21st at the Meijer Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway after a wheel bearing failure finished his race early. Victory went to Ryan Briscoe (Team Penske) ahead of Ed Carpenter (Vision Racing) with Tony Kanaan (Andretti Green Racing) completing the podium visitors.

Surface water had prevented any action on Friday, with Justin and the Dale Coyne Racing team finally getting some track time at Kentucky Speedway about four hours before the race was due to start. At the end of his 51 practice laps, Justin had been 19th fastest of the 23 cars, and about 3.6 mph slower than the leader. With little time to understand how the #18 Z-Line Designs cars was performing, it pointed to a very challenging evening ahead.

When it came to the race, the green flag was waved around 25 minutes before schedule to counter the risk from rain clouds building in the west. Starting from the fourth row, a position determined according to entrant points, Justin soon slipped a few places as faster cars behind him found their natural speed. Maintaining his position in mid-pack, Justin came in for his first stop on Lap 47. By the time he took his second stop, for tyres and fuel on Lap 97, the car was in 13th but had fallen a lap down.

Any hopes of a decent points haul were dashed on Lap 120, just under an hour into the race, when yellow smoke was reported coming from the #18 car. Justin brought out the first caution period of the race as he nursed the Dale Coyne Racing machine back to the pits but when the right rear wheel bearing problem was diagnosed, retirement was inevitable.

" I felt good out there today," said Justin. We were running a decent race and even though there wasn't a lot of track time over the weekend, we learned a bit more about running on ovals. I'm disappointed to have finished in the way we did, but now I'm looking forward to the next race".

The IndyCar Series now moves to the permanent road course at Mid-Ohio for next Sunday's Honda Indy 200.


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Postby mlittle » Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:22 am

Justin looking forward to getting back on track at Mid-Ohio

Justin is looking forward to a strong run at the Honda Indy 200 presented by Westfield Insurance this weekend. In 2008 Justin qualified on the second row, led eleven laps, and eventually finished 11th. This year he has higher ambitions for the #18 Z-Line Designs car and Dale Coyne Racing.

The 2.258 mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is a fast-flowing road circuit with some similarities to Watkins Glen, where Justin recorded his first victory of 2009. "I am looking forward to getting back on track at Mid-Ohio", said Justin. "It has a fun, challenging, layout and it is very demanding on the car set up. It feels slightly narrower than Watkins Glen, and you have to be in the right groove, but if you get that right, you can carry a lot of speed. If we can find a balance early enough, I think we will have a shot at the Pole. Ultimately we are looking to get everything right on Sunday as I really want to back up my Watkins Glen win."

The Honda Indy 200 event at Lexington, Mid-Ohio gets underway with practice on Friday. Qualifying is on Saturday, and starts at 12:30pm EDT with delayed coverage on Versus at 6pm EDT. Sunday's race starts at 1:45pm EDT, with live coverage in the US on Versus from 1pm EDT. Viewers in the UK can follow the race on Sky Sports Xtra from 10:30pm BST on Sunday. A detailed event schedule and live timing and scoring, radio and video streaming are available through www.indycar.com.


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