Not even Steven Spielberg could have put together a better three hours of entertainment than what we saw at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
In what was an incredible race from start to finish, Justin Wilson earned a thrilling come-from-behind win in dramatic fashion. After starting in 17th position, Wilson charged to the front in a hurry. As the big guns dropped out, he stayed up front.
It was the first win on an oval for Wilson, who hasn’t won since Watkins Glen in 2009. It appeared as though Graham Rahal was going to win the second race of his career, when he got loose in turn four with two laps remaining. Rahal scraped the wall, but managed to salvage a second-place finish after Wilson blew by him.
Rahal was visibly upset with himself after the race. He said: “This one will haunt me forever.”
Ryan Briscoe finished third, James Hinchcliffe was fourth, and JR Hildebrand completed the top five. Simon Pagenaud finished sixth, giving him five top-six finishes in seven races this season. Helio Castroneves, Will Power, Alex Tagliani, and James Jakes rounded out the top ten.
After two straight races where his Target boys finished first and second, Saturday night wasn’t very kind to Chip Ganassi. Dixon led the most laps but finished 18th after crashing, Franchitti was 14th, Kimball crashed and finished 23rd, and was two laps from winning before he found the wall.
Both Scott Dixon and Will Power looked like they could make a huge push in the championship by winning tonight’s race. Unfortunately for them both, things didn’t go the way they planned. Dixon got loose and found the wall, while Power was given a drive through penalty for blocking Tony Kanaan. He was leading at the time. Power has a 34-point lead over Dixon in the Championship standings, with Hinchcliffe, Castroneves, and Pagenaud just behind them.
After Penske and Ganassi won every race and every pole coming into this weekend, it was nice to see Bryan Herta’s team get the pole and Dale Coyne get the win.
There was so much talk earlier in the week about the racing here. Some people don’t want IndyCars on the 1.5 mile ovals, which is absurd. The safety enhancements and elimination of pack racing due to aero configurations make for great racing, as we saw tonight.
The cars were spread out, there was a lot of passing, and the drivers weren’t just going flat out. Dan wouldn’t want his death to put so much fear into people that they stop racing on these types of tracks. We still race at California where Greg Moore lost his life. We will be at Milwaukee next weekend where drivers have been killed. As cold as it may sound, it is part of the sport. It’s time to move on.
It was great to see Wilson’s luck change tonight in Texas. After bad luck in Alabama, Brazil, and Detroit produced finishes of 19th, 22nd, and 22nd, he was finally able to get the monkey off his back and celebrate a monumental win for he and his team.