Ryan Briscoe ended his maiden year of racing for the Penske team in style as he won the non-championship race in Surfers Paradise, Australia, yesterday.
Briscoe keeps cool to claim a home victory
Ryan Briscoe ended his maiden year of racing for the Penske team in style as he won the non-championship race in Surfers Paradise, Australia, yesterday. The Australian delighted the large crowd as he held of this season's champion Scott Dixon in a late battle to the line. The event, which was being held to fulfil contractual obligations after the Indy Racing League and Cart merged before the start of the season, saw Ryan Hunter-Reay finish third.
Briscoe, who had started the race third on the grid, moved to the front of the pack after his compatriot Will Power, who had led from the start, crashed out on lap 16. Although he briefly built up a lead over the Ganassi of Dixon, in the final laps Briscoe had his New Zealand rival weaving around his mirrors trying to find a way past. But Briscoe held on to become the first Australian to win an Indy race at Surfers Paradise as he claimed only his third victory of the season, and despite the race being only about pride and not points he was thrilled with his performance.
"It means almost a million points to me," he said. "I'm just so happy for all the fans. It was a great event and it's really special. It's a great place to have an IndyCar race." The 2007 champion Dario Franchitti, who has returned to the series after a frustrating year of racing Nascar, led briefly before finishing in 16th spot. He brushed the wall with his right tyre in his Ganassi, but was able to continue, and later set the fastest lap of the race.