Indycar Photo

Wickens places third in Indycar Grand Prix

INDIANAPOLIS – Robert Wickens of Guelph raced to a third-place finish in the Verizon Indycar Series’ Indycar Grand Prix Saturday on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course.

Wickens finished the 85-lap race on the 2.439-mile track in one hour, 49 minutes and 54.3556 seconds to cross the line 8.1621 seconds behind the winner, Will Power. Scott Dixon was second, 2.2443 seconds behind Power. At the end, Wickens had to conserve gas to get to the finish.

“That was the first race where I kind of felt like a true rookie there in that final stint because I’ve never had to save fuel before,” Wickens said. “We’ve kind of practiced it a little bit in warmup where you do like one lap of fuel save, but the amount of fuel that we were having to save to make that work was something that I didn’t even think was possible.”

Wickens had qualified second and led 20 laps, second-most to the 56 led by Power. Wickens and Power had engaged in a spirited fight for the lead throughout most of the race until Power slipped ahead for good on the 51st lap.

“It was tough, and obviously running in P2, I was told the number I needed to achieve, and then I was just like, OK, well, Scott is on Push-to-Pass, so I don’t know if I should use it to keep him behind or if I should hit my number, and we were actually having an issue with my Push-to-Pass all day, so it wasn’t quite working to the best that it could,” Wickens said. “No, it was a tough day, an exhausting afternoon, but really happy to finish on the podium.”

The win was Power’s third in the event’s five-ace history.

All 24 cars that started the race were running at the finish and all but thee completed all 85 laps.

Wickens is eighth in the series standings with 133 points and he’s recorded three top-three finishes in five races in his first year in the series.

Next race is the Indianapolis 500 set for May 27. Qualifying for the 102nd running of the classic event is next weekend.

“I’ve dreamed of doing a 500 since I can remember,” Wickens said. “There’s been so much history, so many good drivers. I mean, anything can happen there. To be honest, I just want to take it, like I’ve been saying all along, just kind of one day at a time, because every day in Indycar seems to be different. I can’t find kind of a trend to get in a routine or do this, that or the other. I feel like something is new every time.

“I think all next week it’s just going to be interesting with practice and trying to get a good car. I was able to do my rookie orientation last week. It was fun. But definitely once we get into kind of the qually trims and stuff like that, it’s going to be a whole new animal because we were just driving with quite a bit of downforce on because it was just rookie orientation. I’ve heard the nightmares of qually trim, and I’m cautiously looking forward to it.”

  • Guelph Sports Journal