FORT WORTH, Texas (31 May 2014) – Adapting quickly to yet another dramatic scene change for the Verizon IndyCar Series, Justin Wilson was back in action on Friday at Texas Motor Speedway for practice and qualifying ahead of Saturday night’s 248-lap shootout under the lights (broadcast: NBCSN, 8:00 PM ET).
Wilson will start the race from the fourth row after posting a qualifying time of 217.007 MPH on the 1.5-mile circuit to score eighth on the grid. Driving the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Dallara/Honda for Dale Coyne Racing, Wilson has shown considerable speed thus far in 2014, but is looking to convert that pace into a big result and will look to do that on Saturday night.
“I’m really pleased with where we got the speed in qualifying,” said Wilson, who was ninth quickest in the opening practice session. “I think we could have got maybe a little bit more, but we were fairly trimmed out. The car was sliding around and it was a handful. I’ve come to expect that around this place. You get loose in the middle. I think the race is going to be the same. You have to manage the Firestones, as we just abuse them around here because we’re sliding the entire time. I think we just have to try to work on that, look after them. I’m expecting it to be quite interesting.”
The 2014 edition of the race sees the IndyCar squads with the option to run more rear wing, opening up a larger window of set-up options for Dale Coyne Racing engineer Mike Cannon to select from. The racing at Texas has traditionally seen cars emerge from the pits with significant speed with new rubber, but then that pace will fade as the run goes on. The name of the game is once again to find the pace that can go the distance.
“With more downforce, I think it’s going to be slightly more compact (the field) than last year, and hopefully the car is going to be quick, we’ve got something to challenge them,” said Wilson, who won the 2012 edition of the Texas oval race.
“We’ll see what happens. You never know. The temperature makes a difference. Today it got warm for qualifying. I was worried how much downforce we had and how hot it was. I knew it was going to be tough out there in qualifying. But, you know, it’s a lot of fun for the driver. Unfortunately you don’t get to see that watching, how on edge the cars are. I was loose. Pushed all the way through both ends of both laps. The longest two laps in a long time! I’m pleased with what we got, and now I’m just looking forward to the race.”
With two practice sessions and a qualifying session now in the books, Wilson and the Dale Coyne Racing squad will focus on Saturday’s race, which has long been a fan-favorite staple on the IndyCar Calendar.