Indianapolis, Ind. (24 May 2015) –Justin Wilson was able to lead the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, but it wasn’t on the lap that he was hoping to.
Some tough luck timing with an early yellow flag put the effort on the back foot with the No. 25 Rolling Stones Honda-powered Dallara early, but the Andretti Autosport squad utilized a strategy that saw him recover the lap and lead the race late ahead of coming home 21st.
Wilson started the race from sixth on the fabled 33 car grid and ran as high as fourth in the opening segments. A lap 60 pit stop for fuel and tires, which came a few laps early to also work on sorting out a vibration at the rear of the car, came just ahead of a lap 64 yellow flag. That timing saw Wilson fall one lap down and deep in the pack.
After a yellow flag helped Wilson regain the lead lap, he ran the central stages of the race mired deep in the pack. But as the 200-lap race entered its final stages, Wilson stayed out on a lap 168 caution period as much of the field took to pit lane. That enabled him to move to the lead on a restart with just under 30 laps to go.
Committed to a strategy that looked to make the most of the track position, a yellow flag on lap 176 made it nearly possible that Wilson could make it to the end of the race without a return to pit lane for fuel.
Unfortunately, the speedy work of the Holmatro Safety team meant that the race went back to green on lap 184, giving Wilson no choice but to return to pit lane for a final splash of fuel and a finishing position of 21st.
“It was a tough day for the No. 25 Rolling Stones Honda, we had a vibration in one of our rear tires so we were forced to pit early because we were losing a lot of lap time,” said Wilson. “So we had to pit a few laps early and that’s when the yellow flag came out and that was it, we went a lap down and just tried to fight our way back to the front. We tried something with fuel mileage and strategy to get back into the front of the pack, but we were a lap short. Unfortunately since we were a lap short, we had to pit two laps from the end and not risk anything. It’s frustrating, but it’s just been a long tough day. I want to thank Andretti Autosport for this opportunity, looking forward to hopefully working with them again.”