Justin Wilson passed polesitter Ryan Briscoe early, then dominated the IndyCar Series race on Sunday at Watkins Glen International to give team owner Dale Coyne his first victory after 25 years of trying.
Penske and Target Chip Ganassi drivers had won the previous eight races this season, and 15 of 16 dating to last year. Coyne’s victory came in his 558th entry as an owner-driver.
“It took too long,” Coyne said smiling in his pit stall.
It was Wilson’s second IndyCar win. His first came at Detroit on Labor Day weekend last year, making him the only driver to break through against the Penske and Ganassi juggernaut in that span.
Wilson started on the front row of the Camping World Grand Prix alongside Briscoe and had the strongest car from the outset. He attempted to pass Briscoe in the sweeping, high-speed esses on the second lap and failed.
Briscoe was warned for blocking and Wilson slipped past him on the next lap in the same place and went on to lead nearly the entire race.
After the final full sequence of pit stops was completed with 15 laps remaining, Wilson regained the lead by 2 seconds over Briscoe.
Hideki Mutoh brought out the fourth caution of the race with seven laps remaining to give Briscoe one final chance, but he was no match for Wilson and his sticky red tires, losing by nearly 5 seconds.
Ganassi’s Scott Dixon was third, followed by Penske’s Helio Castroneves and Marco Andretti. Series points leader Dario Franchitti was involved in an early crash and finished 15th. That dropped him into a second-place tie with Briscoe and Franchitti, 19 points behind Dixon.
Wilson led 49 laps of the 60-lap race around the 11-turn, 5.5km circuit.