Wilson Earns First Victory in Series

TORONTO -- It's a good bet that Stefan Wilson's first Firestone Indy Lights victory took away the sting of not earning the Sunoco Pole Award on the 1.755-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place circuit a day earlier.

Wilson, competing in his 24th race in the series, led a 1-2 Andretti Autosport sweep in the Toronto 100 on the temporary street course. Peter Dempsey, participating in his first race with the team, was runner-up under caution for an incident on Lap 45 of 50.
Wilson appeared to have set the quickest lap of the 45-minute qualifying session July 9, but it was nullified because it was recorded with a local caution flag flying for a stalled car. It would have been his first pole start in the series.

So he settled for his second front-row start, and seized the opportunity when pole sitter and race leader Esteban Guerrieri's No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car spun on the concrete surface (the transition from asphalt to concrete) in Turn 3 on a restart. Guerrieri pointed the car in the clockwise direction, but six cars got through before he rejoined the race.

"It's really a monkey off my back," Wilson said. "We were pushing Estaban hard those first five laps. The car was fast; I'm confident we would have been able to pass him even if he didn't make that mistake. From that point on, it was just about concentrating on hitting marks and getting some clean, quick lap times 

"I love this circuit and city, so the 25th anniversary race is a really special win for me. We're still a long way out for the championship. Right now, it's about getting race wins."

Wilson gave Andretti Autosport a full house this season. Marco Andretti won the IZOD IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway, Zach Veach and Spencer Pigot have won in USF2000 and Sage Karam has won in Star Mazda. Team owner Michael Andretti won seven times on the streets of Toronto.

"He drove perfectly and I'm very proud of him," said Justin Wilson, Stefan's brother who also posted his first North American victory at Toronto in 2005.

Dempsey, a 25-year-old from Ashbourne, Ireland, had three top-10 results, including two podium finishes, in four starts with O2 Racing.

"This is a fantastic result for everyone at Andretti Autosport," he said. "The name of the game was to come home first and second. The guys were working extremely hard all weekend. Stefan drove a great race. After we moved up to second, the goal was to not make any mistakes. I'm really happy with today's podium finish and have to thank the team for their help in making it happen."

Gustavo Yacaman, driving the No. 2 TMR-Tuvacol/Xtreme Coil Drilling car, finished third after starting sixth for his second consecutive podium finish, and Guerrieri recovered to finish fourth. Anders Krohn, driving the No. 9 Liberty Engineering Special for Belardi Auto Racing tied his season best of fifth.

Series championship points leader Josef Newgarden, who started fifth, was challenging Dempsey for second on Lap 32 when the front wing of the No. 11 Copart/Score Big/Robo-Pong/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car made contact with Dempsey's right-rear tire. Newgarden was ordered to pit, which dropped a lap down.

He finished eighth, but leads Guerrieri by 37 points entering the doubleheader on the City Centre Airport circuit in Edmonton, Alberta, in two weeks. Wilson moved to third (46 points back).

“What caused the spin: “It was the low tire pressures," said Guerrieri, who has started from the pole the past three races. "It takes at least one and up to two laps to get the pressures up. I got a bit of understeer in the entry to (Turn) 3, and when I got on the power it just came around. It was really stupid, but I just lost the rear. We had even been practicing with low tire pressures and to push hard. But apparently we didn’t practice enough so we will continue working on it.”

Jorge Goncalvez and Victor Garcia finished ahead of Newgarden.