SONOMA, Calif. -- Justin Wilson pressured race leader Scott Dixon midway through the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma until having to pit on Lap 61.
In the final 15 laps, he pushed race leader Will Power. Neither front-runner made a miscue that potentially would have allowed Wilson, who started seventh in the 85-lap race on the 2.385-mile, 12-turn Sonoma Raceway road course, to grab his first victory of the season.
Still, he'll gladly take a season-high second place. Wilson, who led 10 laps early on during pit stop sequencing, is seventh in the championship standings.
“It is great to be back on the podium again with the Boy Scouts of America car,” said Wilson, who also earned podium finishes at Long Beach and Belle Isle). “Everyone at Dale Coyne Racing has worked so hard to get a result. We’ve had some ups and downs this year, and have run some really good races but end up finishing eighth or 10th.
"That was a little frustrating earlier this season, but it is nice to get back up here and turn it around a little bit. I was battling hard at the end, there were some close calls out there. I think everyone seemed to come in here with a little bit of frustration and decided to take it out in this race, so it was busy out there.”
Franchitti records another podium
Dario Franchitti, who earned his fourth Verizon P1 Award of the season and broke a tie with Michael Andretti for sixth all time, finished third. It's his fourth podium finish in the past five races (he finished fourth in Race 2 at Toronto in that streak) in the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car.
Marco Andretti, who started 11th in the No. 25 RC Cola car for Andretti Autosport, registered his sixth consecutive top 10 with a fourth-place finish. He remained fourth in the standings, but closed the gap on third-place teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay to eight points.
“We had to (get into the top five) with a broken front wing so I was really losing it in the third sector, but other than that not a bad weekend," Andretti said. "You have to keep fighting. I know temperatures are hot right now all around, it’s that type of race when you have a lot of restarts there’s going to be a lot of carnage because yellows breed yellows and that’s the way it works.”
Emotional week for Ganassi group
It was a difficult week emotionally for the Chip Ganassi Racing group.
Floyd Ganassi, father of team owner Chip Ganassi, died Aug. 19. He was 87. A moment of silence was observed in the pre-race ceremonies. He was a fixture at most races for decades, snapping photos and entertaining guests at the team’s hospitality unit.
Christine Brown, the wife of longtime engineer Andy Brown, lost her battle with cancer. Following stints at PacWest Racing and Panther Racing, Brown joined Target Chip Ganassi Racing in 2005. He stepped back from race engineering in 2008 to concentrate on research and development, and returned to England in 2011 to start his own company.
Scott Dixon said his sister-in-law passed away Aug. 21. Stickers to honor the individuals were placed on the three Chip Ganassi Racing cars for the race.
Teri McKeever, the first female coach of the U.S. Olympic women’s swimming team in 2012, got a ride in an Indy Racing Experience two-seater with Mario Andretti driving. … Tony Kanaan tied Jimmy Vasser’s record for consecutive starts at 211. Vasser, former CART champion, is co-owner of KV Racing Technology. ... There were a race-record seven caution periods. ... There also were a race-record seven different leaders. ... Lucas Luhr, making his IZOD IndyCar Series debut, retired on Lap 81 (mechanical) in 22nd place.