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IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Justin Wilson

There’s no easy way to come to the next driver recap in this Verizon IndyCar Series run through the field. We’ve remembered Justin Wilson since his fatal accident in various ways, through tributes, through various posts on the auction going on to support the Wilson Children’s Fund and on the memorial service itself. Here, we take a look back purely on the races he drove in this year, and how his competitive impact pushed Andretti Autosport forward in the few races he competed in.

Justin Wilson, No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda

  • 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
  • 2015: 24th Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 2nd, Best Start 6th, 1 Podium, 1 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 11 Laps Led, 13.0 Avg. Start, 16.2 Avg. Finish

The running joke Justin and I had throughout this year was about his roller coaster ride of a 2015 season, where he was always still smiling, but without ever having anything solid. Sadly, tragically, when things finally started to be looking up for him to conclude the year and into 2016, we received the news he had succumbed to his severe head injury sustained at Pocono.

Left without a full-time ride when the season started, Wilson still had an assortment of opportunities throughout the year that were as scattered and varied as the English weather over the course of a week – ranging from IndyCar to Formula E, Pikes Peak to Sebring. Sometimes, he even got to race, as a myriad of off-the-wall issues seemed to pop up for the cars he was scheduled to drive.

In IndyCar terms, Wilson finally got a deal sorted with Andretti Autosport at St. Petersburg for the month of May only, with Honda support. Potential top-10s went begging first for a mechanical issue and then a fuel gamble that came up wrong in the two races. Still, his sixth place qualifying effort at the Indianapolis 500 was one of the best performances of the season, not just for him, but for Honda and Andretti on the whole.

In his final four races, Wilson was almost trapped in a de facto “guinea pig” and/or R&D role for both the team and for Honda with its at times-troublesome aero kit. It meant his talent didn’t get to shine through, but second at Mid-Ohio was a well-deserved result.

Ever the optimist, Wilson always carried on with his usual friendly, polite and insightful demeanor at all times. The fact we’re writing about him in the past tense stings greatly, and will not be something that fully sinks in for a while.

Follow @TonyDiZinno