LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Justin Wilson was about to concede that it was going to be "one of those weekends" in the 39th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach following qualifications.
Qualifications in which he didn't record a timed lap, which put the No. 19 Boys Scouts of America car for Dale Coyne Racing 24th of 27 on the starting grid. A crash in practice April 19 heavily damaged the front and rear ends of the Honda-powered Dallara, and the rear wing mainplane was missing the required vinyl wrapping for the Group 1 session. The crew attempted to put the wrap on the wing on pit lane but ran out of time.
In the 80-lap race, though, some strategic moves and attrition helped Wilson claim a podium finish. It was his third consecutive top 10, and he moved to fifth in the championship standings.
"I had a great car today, plain and simple. It handled perfect no matter what the situation," he said. "The Boy Scouts of America team deserves a lot of the credit for all their hard work this past weekend. I was able to move up through the field early in the race on the Firestone black tires. Then we made a good strategic move on Lap 5 to pit and put on the red tires and the car went even faster."
Marco Andretti advanced 18 positions relative to his starting spot to finish seventh in the No. 25 RC Cola car. Andretti was penalized in qualifications for interference.
Scott Dixon, who entered the race second in the championship standings, started 26th in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car after also being penalized in qualifying and finished 11th.
Oriol Servia moved up 12 spots to finish sixth in the No. 22 Charter Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing car.
"I had the best car probably of the whole season in the race," said Servia, who placed 17th and 15th in the previous two races. "On one restart, I don't know what happened to Simon (Pagenaud) but he slowed down in the straight and I broke the front wing. Even with that we were one of the fastest cars on track. I was saving fuel but I was flying."
Simona de Silvestro gained 10 spots to ninth in the No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Areva car for KV Racing Technology. Rookie Tristan Vautier overcame a grid spot penalty for an unapproved engine change and two drive-through penalties to also make up 10 spots and finish 17th in the No. 55 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports car.
Graham Rahal was the race runner-up after starting 11th in the No. 15 Midas/Big O Tires car for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.