wilson focused on steady growth in lead up to indy

To say that Stefan Wilson’s road to Sunday’s 106th Indianapolis 500 has been a steep, tall order, would be selling the journey short.

The No. 25 DragonSpeed/Cusick Motorsports entry has seen it all since hitting the track for Wilson’s rookie orientation program last Tuesday.

Coming out of the pits to begin the refresher course, Wilson radioed to the crew that he couldn’t find the pit lane speed limiter on his steering wheel. The reason happened to be that the wheel wasn’t meant to ever be locked into an IndyCar.

wilson focused on steady growth in lead up to indy

Wilson is set to make his 4th Indy 500 appearance. (Penske Entertainment/ Joe Skibinski)

“The steering wheel was all stickered completely opposite of what it was supposed to,” Wilson said. “Coming together last minute, we had to borrow a steering wheel from another team that might’ve been even on a P2 (Pro 2000) car or an Indy Lights car. So, it’s not an IndyCar steering wheel. That was the mistake there, it was like, ‘the pit lane speed limiter button’s not working, so which one is it?’”

Once that minor inconvenience was resolved, the 32-year-old quickly acclimated to his surroundings.

“It’s kind of like riding a bike,” Wilson said. “You get back in the car after a year and within one or two laps, it starts coming back to you and that feeling and what you’re looking for from the car. I felt like Tuesday was a really positive day for us. We got through a bunch of items on the checklist. We felt really positive.”

When Wednesday’s practice was rained out, most teams didn’t give it much thought because they had plenty of data from the Open Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in April.

Since the No. 25 team was a late entry — less than two weeks before practice opened — the rain couldn’t have fallen at a worse time.

“The rain that came on Wednesday really hurt us, more so than others because we missed the two days of testing in April,” Wilson said. “That really kind of condensed the schedule.

“It feels like the month of May has shrunk down to just a couple of days and we’re trying to find our feet a little bit, and trying to work on the setup to get me as comfortable as possible, and get me feeling like it needs to. That’s definitely made it challenging, just the lack of track time.”

Though teams were able to get on track for a six-hour practice session on Thursday, nothing seemed to suit the No. 25 Chevrolet’s liking.

“Thursday, we got through even more changes, but we just never hit the right ones it felt like,” Wilson said. “So, it was a trying day on Thursday. We tried a lot of changes, but none of them were the positive one that we were looking for.”

The next wrench thrown at the British driver, was a detrimental one. During the final practice before Saturday’s qualifying session, Wilson went to shift into third gear, only to feel the transmission go out of rhythm as it shifted down to second instead.

wilson focused on steady growth in lead up to indy

The No. 25 team working on the car in the garage. (Penske Entertainment/Walt Kuhn)

That brought on a frantic dash for the combination of team members from DragonSpeed and A.J. Foyt Racing to replace the engine only minutes before qualifying began.

Unfortunately for Wilson, the team was unable to make a qualifying attempt and he’ll start Sunday’s 500-mile race shotgun on the field in 33rd.

“I feel like having to change an engine on Saturday, the guys had a lot more time working on the car than I think they needed,” Wilson said. “I was hoping it would be a lot less stressful on Saturday, than it was. Unfortunately, the boys had to work even harder than I was hoping they had to.”

Though it’s been a trying effort for the group that was brought together only two weeks prior, Wilson sees the positives of how the team has meshed during that timeframe.

“I think we’ve gelled actually pretty quick and we’re starting to bounce ideas off each other really well,” Wilson said. “That’s been positive. Then, getting to know the crew and then also just how we fit into the rest of the A.J. Foyt Racing squad. They’ve got three cars that are racing this weekend. We’re kind of like a fourth, so we’re like a satellite (team). But we’re trying to work with them. That’s a gelling process all in its own, of just my engineer (Will Phillips) working with their engineers. My crew understanding from their crew, and just everyone working together. It’s been a tall order to get all those pieces to gel in such a short amount of time.”

With the comfortability within the makeshift team continuing to grow, Wilson’s comfort level inside the cockpit of the No. 25 machine now becomes the focal point heading into Carb Day on Friday.

“It’s just all race-running now,” Wilson said. “We’ve got a few setup changes that we want to make, but I need to get stuck in, get into some dirty air, and get a good feel for what it’s going to be like starting from 33rd.”

Race-running was on hand for Monday’s penultimate practice session, as Wilson worked his way around the 2.5-mile oval for 88 laps. Those laps gave the driver and the car more data points to lean on for Sunday.

“Starting back there, we need a car that can run close to others,” Wilson said. “I’m going to have my face full of dirty air all day, so that’s going to be important. Hopefully, we can keep tweaking the car, finding some changes that are positive, and keep allowing me to get closer and closer to cars, and hopefully make some passes.”

As Wilson has been busy at work behind the wheel, he’s also found a way to take a step back and see the growth of the NTT IndyCar Series.

wilson focused on steady growth in lead up to indy

Wilson takes a photo with a fan. (Penske Entertainment/Chris Jones)

“This year, I feel like it’s bigger than any of the years that I’ve done, and I did the 100th, and that was pretty massive,” Wilson remarked. “It feels like after COVID, there’s just a huge vibe of energy around the speedway. Lots of fans, lots of interest in the sport. It’s a wave that IndyCar needs to capitalize on.

“We need to really make sure that these new fans that are finding out and exploring what the sport is all about, that they have a great time and they want to keep coming back to more races as well,” Wilson said. “It’s already been a busy month, the garage areas are packed, there’s been so many fans. I’m overwhelmed, I don’t expect to be recognized, or that many people to be cheering for me as just a one-off. But the fan support for myself and the No. 25 DragonSpeed/Cusick Motorsports car has just been phenomenal. (I’m) just thankful for that and appreciate everyone’s support.”

With the unknowns of what 500 miles in The Greatest Spectacle in Racing will produce, Wilson and the DragonSpeed/Cusick Motorsports team are keeping it simple for what they believe will make Sunday a successful day.

“If I run all 500 miles,” Wilson said. “That honestly is probably the goal right now, is just to run the whole 500 miles. If I can finish on the lead lap and run all 500 miles, I will be pretty happy with that performance. Just coming from where we were just a couple weeks ago, that would be a victory. Anything more than that is just the cherry on top.”

Keyword: Wilson Focused On Steady Growth In Lead Up To Indy

TECH'S NEWS RELATED

Gorgeous 1962 Corvette Has Been in the Same Family for Most of Its Life

In spite of its non-original drivetrain, this 1962 Corvette has a lot going for it after spending 50 years with the same family. One-owner vehicles are a pretty common sight in the world of collector/sports cars, including the iconic Chevy Corvette. But with that particular model stretching back 70 ...

View more: Gorgeous 1962 Corvette Has Been in the Same Family for Most of Its Life

Whopping 80 Percent of 2023 Corvette Z06 Buyers Want Fully-Loaded Cars

Vast majority of 2023 Corvette Z06 buyers want every option, but GM won’t be able to fulfill all of those requests. Much ado has been made about the 2023 Corvette Z06 in general, and for good reason – after all, we are talking about an exciting product with a ...

View more: Whopping 80 Percent of 2023 Corvette Z06 Buyers Want Fully-Loaded Cars

Volkswagen is financially ready for electrification, says CFO

Volkswagen CFO Arno Antlitz said that the auto group is in an excellent financial position to fund electrification. According to Reuters, the Volkswagen CFO clarified that he believes the auto group is financially ready for electrification. From the auto group’s Porsche IPO today and Volkswagen’s relatively high operating profit ...

View more: Volkswagen is financially ready for electrification, says CFO

Aston Martin launches the DBX707 in Singapore

Aston Martin launches the DBX707 in Singapore Singapore – Here at TopGear Singapore, we love the numbers game. In most respects, big numbers are often attributed to great things. Biggest this, most powerful that, or most expensive whatever. The Aston Martin DBX707 is a prime example. It’s the fastest ...

View more: Aston Martin launches the DBX707 in Singapore

DeJoria Is Looking For Her Next Greatest Hit In St. Louis

Drivers in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series can’t dwell on the past — whether it be past mistakes, luck, heartbreak or victories. That was Alexis DeJoria’s resolve as she prepared for the NHRA Carolina Nationals last weekend, ready to put her regular season shortcomings behind her. The ...

View more: DeJoria Is Looking For Her Next Greatest Hit In St. Louis

2023 BMW S 1000 RR Gets A Bunch Of Updates, Including Aero Winglets

BMW brings further refinements to its track weapon for the new year.

View more: 2023 BMW S 1000 RR Gets A Bunch Of Updates, Including Aero Winglets

A New Gas V8, A New Diesel & More: Ford Unveils Redesigned 2023 Super Duty Trucks

Gas or Diesel, Take Your Pick Towing is Everything Work & Play High While Ford has been making big waves with popular new models to its lineup like the Maverick, two types of Bronco and the all-electric F-150 Lightning, the company certainly hasn’t forgotten about its more established products. ...

View more: A New Gas V8, A New Diesel & More: Ford Unveils Redesigned 2023 Super Duty Trucks

The 2023 Ram 2500 Rebel Has Exclusive Diesel Power

How much power does the 2023 Ram 2500 Rebel have? How capable is the Ram Heavy Duty Rebel? How much is the 2500 Rebel? Ready or not, here comes the new Ram 2500 Rebel, and it’s bringing the heat. This massive beast places off-roading chops on a much larger ...

View more: The 2023 Ram 2500 Rebel Has Exclusive Diesel Power

Porsche Initial Public Offering Goes Official In Germany

5 Great Ford Explorer Alternatives for Less Than $40,000

Porsche’s future: Macan EV 'delayed', 3-row SUV coming

Mom Of Teen In Car Theft Ring Wants Cops To Do More

Citroën oli [all-ë]: radical, responsible and optimistic approach initiates audacious future intentions for the brand

GRIDSERVE: Construction begins at London Gatwick Electric Forecourt® site

Solvay expands Amodel® PPA capacity to address growth in demand in the automotive industry

Next generation BMW voice assistant to be based on Amazon Alexa technology

Solaris presents its new investments: the Warehouse Hall and Charging Park

2023 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Rebel unveiled at State Fair of Texas

GM and OneD Battery Sciences collaborate on joint R&D of silicon anode technology for more efficient EV batteries

Volvo EX90 Has Interior Radar System To Prevent Hot Car Deaths

OTHER TECH NEWS

;