Simona De Silvestro started 22nd in the No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy car, was running 23rd after being bounced off the 2.385-mile, 12-turn road course early in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and finished ninth.
"I'm pretty happy with P9," she said following the grueling 85-lap race in which she led the 25 entrants in positions gained. "The guys did an awesome job in the pits and strategy-wise I think we made some pretty good calls. It was pretty good to show that kind of pace and recover from where we started."
It was the five top-10 finish of the season for the 24-year-old Swiss driver.
Marco Andretti recorded his sixth consecutive top 10 in the No. 25 RC Cola car, moving up seven spots to finish fourth. James Davison, making his second IZOD IndyCar Series start in the No. 18 Sonny's BBQ car for Dale Coyne Racing, started in the rear of the field because of a penalty imposed for an unapproved engine change following qualifications. He wound up 18th.
"We had a top-10 car if it wasn't for a couple on track incidents that cost us some track positions," Davison said. "We lost a couple positions at the end of the race due to tire wear, but we did manage to finish on the lead lap for the second straight race."
De Silvestro's KV Racing Technology teammate, Tony Kanaan, receives special consideration for biggest mover.
He started 16th in the No. 11 Hydroxycut car and was hit from behind on the first lap, which damaged the rear suspension. On Lap 26, Kanaan was issued a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact, which dropped him to 21st in the running order.
He rose into the top 10 by Lap 60, but with the damage to the car and running the final stint on used tires Kanaan wasn't able to defend his position and wound up 13th.
"I really had to work hard," Kanaan said. "The left-rear of the car was damaged early in the race and made it almost impossible to turn right. But, given how tough this whole weekend has been, I am just happy to have brought the car home in one piece."