Just when it looked like the remainder of the 2008 Indy Car season was going to be all about Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves someone else swoops in and steals the thunder. That someone is UK born Justin Wilson. He earned the 107th win for the Newman Hass Lanagan team this past weekend during the Belle Isle GP in Detroit.
As I stated earlier the story over the weekend was the tightening points battle between Scott Dixon and Helio “twinkle toes” Castroneves. Thanks to Helio’s win at Sonoma he narrowed down the points gap to a scant 43 points. However if Dixon won in Detroit it would have mathmatically clenched the title for him. Obviously a lot was at stake for both drivers. However unfortunately, or fourtuneately (depending on who you ask) both Dixon and Castroneves suffered difficulties over the weekend.
First was Scott who qualified on pole but due to a not-so-great pit strategy left him back in 5th and unable to get up in front. On the contrary Team Penske’s strategy helped put Helio out front where he lead the latter half of the race however their fuel strategy left their driver having to soft pedel the throttle in order to make the milage needed to finish the race. This was partly the reason why Justin Wilson was able to close in on Helio and attempt to make a move for the lead with less than 20 laps to go. But in a desperate move Helio blatantly blocked Justin from getting around. The officials were not amused and ordered Helio to let Justin by. Without enough fuel in the tank to run his car at full power Helio was forced to watch from second place as Justin took the checkered flag.
With Scott Dixon’s 5th place finish and Helio’s 2nd place finish it narrows the points gap to 30. If Scott can get 8th place or better at the next race in Chicago then he will have clnched the title. However Chicago has not been kind to Scott in the past. Last year he narrowly lost the 07 title to Dario Franchitti because he ran out of gas on the last lap.
Next Sunday will definitely be interesting…
Check out the race re-cap by SPEED.