Justin Wilson to Lead Honda Charge in Indianapolis 500

Images courtesy LAT (top) and Andretti Autosport Communications (team photo)

Indianapolis, Ind. (17 May 2015) –On a day that witnessed a wide range of uncertainties and rapid changes, one thing was rock solid as Justin Wilson qualified the No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda-powered Dallara 6th for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 (ABC, May 24 at 11:00 AM ET) with a four-lap average of 225.279 mph.

11-18 May, 2015, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA Justin Wilson ©2015, Michael L. Levitt LAT Photo USA

11-18 May, 2015, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Justin Wilson
©2015, Michael L. Levitt

The time marked the best result among the Honda-powered runners as Wilson looks to build on his career-best 500 finish of 5th (2013) in his first Indianapolis 500 start for Andretti Autosport.

An accident involving the No. 20 entry in the opening practice of the day triggered a series of changes to the qualifying rules and procedures as the anticipated high-boost runs were abandoned, with IndyCar also mandating that the cars utilize the same aerodynamic package in qualifying as they will for the race.

With the Andretti Autosport engineer Craig Hampson and team strategist John Tzouanakis managing the effort, several weeks of preparations were effectively out the window as the new rules required a new strategy.  But the team, which had but one quick practice session in the afternoon to validate calculations, showed its mettle by delivering Wilson a car he could make the most of over the course of 10 very fast miles.

4636c331-ff16-43ad-a9cd-8009bd26bcd6“I was pushing really hard and it felt pretty good,” said Wilson. “It was a little bit tense the last couple of days, but it’s always nice to get out and run on your own with no one else on track, there is always more grip. Andretti Autosport is a very professional team, they just worked through all the decisions that were made today and gave me a great race car. I just have to thank everyone there who has worked so hard the last few months to put this deal together. It was a difficult decision that was made for all the teams and when something like that happens you have to react. I also want to thank everyone a Honda for letting me have the opportunity to be here. I’m hoping today’s qualifying run is a good omen going into next weekend, we’ll see how it all works out, looking forward to bringing a decent result home.”

Wilson will have the chance to return to the track for practice on Monday afternoon before taking to Dallas as part of the IndyCar media tour on Tuesday, returning to Indianapolis ahead of the Community Day on Wednesday. He will return to the cockpit of the No. 25 Andretti Autosport machine on Friday for Carb Day.