Indianapolis, IN (17 May, 2014)-In his second qualifying attempt of the day, Justin Wilson set a four-lap average of 229.618-mph in the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda/Dallara on Saturday to qualify the Dale Coyne Racing machine for the 2014 Indianapolis 500.
The time was the 14th fastest set on the opening day of qualifying, which will earn Wilson 20 Verizon IndyCar Series championship points.
Wilson, who set the fastest lap of the 2013 edition of the race on his way to a career-best fifth place finish, will look to secure a strong grid position on Sunday as the order for the traditional 11 rows of three will be set as the Series breaks new ground on the yard of bricks with a new qualifying procedure.
Saturday saw Wilson get his first taste of the added boost for the weekend in a brief practice session in the morning before taking to the track for a first round of qualifying. Four laps later, Wilson was firmly in the field with an average of 228.957 mph over the 10-mile run.
Wilson returned to the track in the early afternoon and raised the game, posting a second 10-mile sprint with an average of 229.618 mph to improve his championship points haul and continue to make progress on the month.
Justin Wilson after his second run:
“I’m pleased with the improvement we made, I think we need to work out a little bit how to find some more straight line speed. But, I’m pretty pleased. The first (qualifying) run, it was really straightforward. This run was a lot more on edge. But that was part of the plan. Just have to work out what’s next.”
Wilson after his first run:
“We have to go back and just check everything out and see if we can find any more speed with the car. It felt really good. Big thanks to the team and all the hard work that they did. The car was good. It was perfect for what we had in the car. Obviously we want to break into that Fast Nine. We’ll see once everyone goes through the (qualifying) line to see what kind of speed we need to find. I am sure everyone is playing that game. I think we got everything we could out of that run, but there is another step we could take (with the car). It’s risk vs. reward and we just need to balance that out. Just have to see where we are and what it will take to get into that fast nine.
Is this new format, with two days of qualifying, does that change the approach?
“The biggest factor has been the weather and how little running we’ve had this week. Today was my first day with the extra boost. You have to work it out as far as what you can get away with in terms of downforce. We were pretty aggressive. But everyone is in the same boat. The speeds are higher, but everyone is doing the same thing. We’ll go back to the garage and regroup and think about what we can achieve today.”
With IMS Radio:
What’s the mindset, Justin, do you think we will see you out again?
“I’m not sure, I think we will have to speak with the boss man Dale (Coyne) himself to see if we will take another shot. I’ll also have to speak with the engineers to see what else we could do to find a bit more speed. I am happy with the Boy Scouts of America car—the gearing was perfect and the car handled well, so the car felt great. So maybe we will take it one more step and have a go, but will just have to see what kind of appetite everyone has for that.”
Do you think that going from the Grand Prix road course last weekend to doing this today speaks to the versatility of the Indy Car drivers?
“Absolutely. That’s what we are all about in the Verizon IndyCar Series—racing on every type of race track, whether that is the short ovals, the street circuits, big tracks like here (Indianapolis Motor Speedway) and Texas, and the road courses. You’ve got to be good on all of them to win this championship and thats what we are all trying to achieve.”
Justin Wilson 2nd qualifying run:
Saturday May 17
229.696 lap 1
229.721 lap 2
229.569 lap 3
229.397 lap 4
229.618 mph average
Justin Wilson 1st qualifying run:
Saturday, May 17
229.013 lap 1
228.924 lap 2
228.958 lap 3
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