IndyCar Driver Review: Justin Wilson

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MotorSportsTalk continues its driver-by-driver 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series review. In P15 was Justin Wilson, who struggled through a trying season.

2014 SEASON PREVIEW

Justin Wilson

  • Team: Dale Coyne Racing
  • 2013: 6th Place, Best Finish 2nd, Best Start 4th, 4 Podiums, 7 Top-5, 13 Top-10, 19 Laps Led, 12.2 Avg. Start, 8.9 Avg. Finish
  • 2014: 15th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 6th, 1 Top-5, 7 Top-10, 25 Laps Led, 13.1 Avg. Start, 12.4 Avg. Finish

The biggest mystery of the 2014 season to me, by far. The loss of longtime engineer Bill Pappas was always going to be difficult for Justin Wilson and Dale Coyne Racing to overcome, but to the degree Wilson and new engineer Michael Cannon struggled together – as two of the higher-rated folks in the paddock – was not something I or I’m guessing they could have seen coming.

Wilson headed into Fontana last year fourth in the points, on the strength of four podium finishes. He had the devastating accident and while he recovered well over the offseason, his on-track form wasn’t able to match the recovery. To be fair, the qualifying wasn’t too different – there was a slight drop from 12.2 to 13.1 in terms of average grid position – and after only making one Firestone Fast Six a year ago, he didn’t make it once this year.

But the race day heroics are where things really went missing. Wilson – a guy, again, many in the paddock consider one of the top five or six drivers in the series – posted only a single top-five finish this year, and plummeted from sixth (2013) to 15th (2014) in the points. Wilson probably said it best when he told me in Milwaukee, “We have speed at the races we need luck, and we don’t have luck at the races where we had speed.”

It’s been a yo-yo in the standings as Wilson was 15th in 2012 as well. After three years, Wilson desperately needs a change of scenery, but he’s running out of time for top-flight chances. All told, a lost year, as neither his luck nor speed matched the circumstances required.

Final Rolex 24 results by class

IMSA
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For the third time in four years, Wayne Taylor Racing is victorious in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.

Kamui Kobayashi drove the team’s No. 10 Cadillac for the race’s final three hours, and won by more than a minute over the No. 77 Mazda of Oliver Jarvis. Loic Duvall finished third in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac.

Joining Kobayashi in victory lane were co-drivers, Regner van der Zande, Scott Dixon and Ryan Briscoe.

Here’s a look at some of the winners in the other classes:

LMP2: 

The No. 81 Dragonspeed ORECA crossed the finish line first in the five-car LMP2 class, with Ben Hanley winning by two laps over the second-place Mathiasen Motorsports entry driven by Gabriel Abury. Nic Minassian finished third in the No. 18 Era Motorsport entry.

Dragonspeed’s winning team also included co-drivers Colin Braun, Harrison Newey and Henrik Hedman.

GTLM:

For the second consecutive year, BMW RLL took the GLTM class honors, as Jesse Krohn took the checkered flag in the team’s No. 24 BMW M8 GTE. Krohn was joined by co-drivers John Edwards, Augusto Farfus and Chaz Mostert.

Porsche Teammates Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy finished second and third, respectfully.

GTD:

The Andrea Caldarelli took the class honors in the No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Paul Miller Racing, finishing ahead of Marco Mapelli and Mirko Bortolotti.

Caldarelli’s co-drivers included Bryan Sellers, Corey Lewis and Madison Snow.

Click here for full race results by class

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