Born July 8, 1954/Minooka, Ill.
•;Made 34 Indy car starts as a driver
between 1984 and ’ 91
• In ’ 86 formed Payton/Coyne Racing
with NFL great Walter Payton,
renamed in 2000 after WP’s death
• Team’s first two wins in ’09 and ’ 12
Mark Thompson/Getty Images
As a driver, Coyne finished 14th on his race
debut and later scored two 12ths. But his
results tally was ruined by mechanical DNFs.
“I’m just focused on winning.
I think, ‘This is what we have:
let’s go and win with it’”
knew Bill and Justin had stayed in contact.
WILSON That’s right, the three of us had
all stayed friends and we just needed one
to commit and the other two would follow
and that’s how we got back together.
the deal would have been done in a day
and we’d now be in our fourth year!
WILSON Yeah, possibly true. At the time,
I felt there were more experiences I
wanted to have before going into a long-term relationship. But we felt it wasn’t the
end; just the end of the first chapter.
Ultimately, I did want to settle down here,
make this into a long-term deal, and help
build the team into regular race winners.
We always realized what we had in ’09
was pretty special.
COYNE Looking back, I think we’d both
do things differently now. The team has
evolved, Justin’s evolved, and our wives
have beaten some sense into us. So last
year, we were looking at how to improve
the engineering side of the team in time
for the new car, and Gail [Mrs. Coyne] and
myself holidayed in Sonoma the week
before the race there. Bill and [wife] Julie
were also there, we started talking…and I
Does it bug you that you seem stuck in
the role of David rather than Goliath, or
do you like kicking ass with a smaller team?
WILSON No, it’s simpler than that: I’m just
focused on winning. I don’t dwell on what
other teams have. I think, “This is what
we have: let’s go and win with it.” And
anyway, I think we have the things we need,
so now it’s important to not make mistakes.
Plus, a little bit of luck can go either way.
We only finished seventh at Indy but could
have had a much better result. We had a
top-three car, great on long runs, but there
were late restarts. At Texas, again the car
was strong at the end of long runs, but
the race stayed green for the last 50 laps,
so this time we won. A couple of cautions
could have turned it against us again.
(CLOCKWISE FROM TOP
LEFT) Long Beach was
a breakthrough race
for DCR with the new
Dallara D W12; Wilson
tries to reflect without
regret; DCR was a
regularly strong force
in ’09; stepping into
the Jaguar Formula 1
car mid–’03 wasn’t
easy for Wilson.
Roberto Moreno (No. 34) took Payton/Coyne’s
first podium in 1996. The next would come
eight years later, courtesy of Oriol Servia.
And that win lays to rest the “theory”
about you not being an oval driver?
WILSON I hope so. For the last four years,
I’ve driven pretty well-balanced racecars
Darrell Ingham/Getty Images
Justin Wilson’s Watkins Glen triumph in
2009 for Dale Coyne Racing was the only
non-Penske/Ganassi win of that season.