Nearly 13 hours after accepting a check for $303,430 for placing seventh in the 96th Running of the Indianapolis 500, Justin Wilson was back behind the wheel of the No. 18 Sonny's BBQ car at the Milwaukee Mile on Tuesday.
The Indianapolis 500 commenced five consecutive weekends of IZOD IndyCar Series races, with the Milwaukee IndyFest on June 15-16. Up this weekend is the return of the series to the Belle Isle street circuit for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. Wilson won the last race (2008) on the 2.07-mile, 14-turn course.
"In some ways it's fun because you're always thinking about the car and you're just in that mentality," Wilson said about the stretch that also includes Saturday night races at Texas Motor Speedway (June 9) and Iowa Speedway (June 23). "You don't go home and switch off and start thinking about home life. In that respect, it's nice to keep going. But, at the same time, I miss the family so we try to catch up as best we can."
Wilson will return to his home in Colorado following the Firestone 550 on the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway. In the meantime, his wife and daughters flew to England before the "500" to visit family so they missed seeing his run from the 21st starting position to match his best Indy 500 finish.
"It's a tough schedule to have one day off after the Indy 500. It's tough on the guys to get the cars ready, but it's something we feel is important," Wilson said of testing on the relatively flat Milwaukee oval. "We want to hit that weekend with the right setup right off the bat.
"It will take a bit of tuning to go from our old set-ups to something that will work for this car, but I think it will be fine. I've driven four different types of cars there, so I understand what to look for in the car on that track."
Joining Wilson at Milwaukee were Dale Coyne Racing teammate James Jakes; Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe, Helio Castroneves and Will Power; KV Racing Technology's Rubens Barrichello, Tony Kanaan and E.J. Viso; Panther Racing's JR Hildebrand; Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's Oriol Servia; Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing's Josef Newgarden; Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon; Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing's Graham Rahal; Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing's Charlie Kimball; Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports' Simon Pagenaud; Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe; and A.J. Foyt Racing's Mike Conway.