WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (AP) — 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, including 10 straight 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 Dario Franchitti, 19 points behind Dixon.

Franchitti, who started fifth, entered the race leading Dixon by one point but his chances ended early. His No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Honda landed in a gravel pit after a spinout on a restart on lap 24 following the first caution.

Franchitti lost control when Mario Moreas clipped Ed Carpenter on the way through the chicane with a dangerous move. The left front tire of Moraes’ No. 5 smacked the right front of Carpenter and briefly went airborne. Moraes received a drive-through penalty for the altercation and Franchitti dropped one lap down and was unable to get it back.

Defending race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay had a short race for A.J. Foyt, damaging the left front on the first lap and dropping out of the race. Canadian Paul Tracy, racing for the first time in his career at Watkins Glen, spun out on his own exiting the boot midway through the race, damaging his No. 15 too badly to continue.

“I was just trying to get through the race,” the 40-year-old Tracy said. “I was hoping to get some yellows and get a good finish.”

Wilson led 49 laps of the 60-lap race around the 11-turn, 3.4-mile circuit, and caught a nice break on the first caution when Briscoe pitted for a splash of fuel. Briscoe already was committed to stop and had to pit again the next time around, dropping him out of the top 10.

Briscoe fought his way back to second behind Wilson on lap 46, but never challenged for the lead.

This season Firestone introduced “option tires” for all road/street course races. The tires, marked with a red line around the outer edge, have a softer tread compound for better grip but also are less durable than the standards.

Each team was required to use the so-called “red” tires once Sunday in the 60-lap Camping World Grand Prix, and only two of the 21 drivers – defending race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay and Robert Doornbos — elected to start the race on regular tires.

Wilson figured to be in the best position for a breakthrough victory because he had two sets of the alternate softer tires to use. The red tires have more grip but are designed to wear out more quickly.

Wilson was able to save a set in qualifying when Franchitti crashed early in the 10-minute final session on Saturday, preventing the other five drivers from taking more than a lap or two. Wilson had the final set on at the end and pulled away.


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