At Dale Coyne Racing, there’s been a revolving door of drivers for both of its teams in the No. 18 and No. 19 Honda’s.
The No. 19 has been piloted by three different drivers through 10 races. Francesco Dracone in the first five, then James Davison in the Indianapolis 500 and Tristan Vautier has been in the cockpit in the four races that followed.
It’s been worse in the No. 18. Five different drivers have taken sporadic turns in the the entry, starting with Carlos Huertas and ending with Rodolfo Gonzalez. Sunday in the Honda Indy Toronto, the Venezuelan driver drove the No. 18 car for the fourth time this season.
While his 18th-place finish doesn’t look like much, Gonzalez can leave Toronto knowing he gave DCR something none of the other seven drivers have: laps led.
Thanks to pit strategy that kept him out during the race’s first caution flag, late in the race Gonzalez found himself leading. The No. 18 was in the top position for five laps around the 11-turn, 1.755-mile street-course.
Too bad no one took the time to tell him.
“It is funny, I didn’t even know I was leading there at the end with (Josef) Newgarden,” Gonzalez said. “I was told I was leading all those laps after I got out of the car. I was just driving my race and knew I had a black car behind me. I thought maybe it was Gabby Chaves because we had been racing together earlier in the race. At one point, I was asking myself, ‘Why do I keep getting Penske cars behind me?'”
Gonzalez was able to stay ahead of eventual race winner Josef Newgarden until he had to pit for fuel.
“I think we took a big risk on our strategy and, in the end, it didn’t pay off because we got that second caution so quickly and it screwed us up a little bit,” said Gonzalez. “It was certainly fun. It is only my (fourth) race and to be spending any time leading is great.”
Sunday was only the second race Gonzalez has been able to finish of the four he’s been in. He was unable to finish either of the Detroit dual races.
Dale Coyne Racing is now no longer on the short list of full-season teams that have not led laps in 2015. That list is now down to one with Bryan Herta Autosport, which fields Chaves.