Briscoe Uncorks IndyCar Victory In Wine Country
Ryan Briscoe, who started next to teammate and pole sitter Will Power, held off Power on a pair of late restarts and won the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma by 0.4408 of a second for his first victory since Texas in 2010.
Briscoe became the seventh different winner in 13 IndyCar Series races this season.
“We always get excited when we come to this race,” Briscoe said. “For whatever reason it is, Team Penske cars are always strong. Will and I kind of dominated all weekend. So hats off to Will, as well. Chevrolet, we got the championship this weekend. Big hats off to everybody there. It’s been a strong season. They’ve been working so hard with us. Every race we get updates and improvements. It’s been a fierce battle with Honda. So a great welcoming back to IndyCar this year.”
Briscoe gained the lead on a pit stop sequence on Lap 65 when he hit the blend line ahead of Power, who had pitted a lap earlier but was caught behind traffic during the first full-course caution in more than 2½ races.
“It started well all the way to the last stop,” Power said. “I had the quickest car, quite easily keeping a handy lead. Yeah, went yellow. We had a slow stop, probably lost four seconds there, then came across a bunch of guys on the track who just doddled all the way back. I don’t know who those guys were. That’s when I was using the word ‘wanker’. Cost me the race.
“But I couldn’t be happier for Ryan. He really needed that win. He’s been strong all weekend. But, yeah, I can’t help but be a little bit disappointed but happy because I got a good points buffer. Yeah, I think it was a good race. Don’t know what else to say. We led heaps and then we didn’t.”
Power, who clinched the Mario Andretti Road Course Trophy for the third consecutive year, increased his championship points lead from five to 36 over Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport with two races remaining.
Hunter-Reay was running third behind the Team Penske duo when the No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car was bumped from behind by the No. 98 Barracuda Racing car driven by Alex Tagliani in Turn 7 on Lap 75 and stalled. The turn of events dropped Hunter-Reay to an 18th-place finish.
“I drove so hard all day,” Hunter-Reay said, “pushed so hard to get from seventh to third, I can’t even tell you how hard I drove just to hold-off cars that were quicker at times, just to put us in the position to challenge for a win. We had a great car at the end, and… then it was the usual Tag (Tagliani). He just got in there, locked up the brakes and got into the back of me. I can’t tell you how frustrated I am after the engine problems last (race, at Mid-Ohio), and then this. We had a podium (finish). I can’t get over it right now. It’s unreal.”
Dario Franchitti finished third and Rubens Barrichello posted a season-high fourth place after starting 11th.
“It’s really good to have some good points,” Barrichello said. “You know the season started a little bit slow so, thanks to the whole team and thanks for all the support. I’ve had wonderful support. The thing that I hear the most is “Welcome to America” and I feel welcome. There’s plenty more from me for sure.”
Graham Rahal placed fifth and Helio Castroneves was sixth. Simon Pagenaud clinched the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award with a seventh-place finish.
The top eight drivers are mathematically eligible for the championship heading to the Grand Prix of Baltimore on Sept. 2.
Results Sunday of the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 2.385 mile Sonoma Raceway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (2) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
2. (1) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
3. (6) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
4. (11) Rubens Barrichello, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
5. (13) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
6. (4) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
7. (9) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
8. (15) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
9. (8) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
10. (16) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 84, Running
11. (20) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 84, Running
12. (24) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 84, Running
13. (5) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 84, Running
14. (14) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 84, Running
15. (23) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Chevy, 84, Running
16. (17) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevy, 84, Running
17. (27) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Lotus, 84, Running
18. (7) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, 84, Running
19. (18) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Chevy, 84, Running
20. (25) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 84, Running
21. (21) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 82, Running
22. (3) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 63, Contact
23. (22) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 62, Contact
24. (19) Katherine Legge, Dallara-Chevy, 48, Mechanical
25. (12) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 46, Mechanical
26. (10) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 35, Mechanical
27. (26) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 2, Mechanical
Winners average speed: 95.740
Time of Race: 02:07:02.8248
Margin of victory: 0.4408 of a second.
Cautions: 2 for 11
Lead changes: 6 among 3 drivers.
Power 1 – 17
Briscoe 18 – 19
Power 21 – 40
Briscoe 41 – 43
Power 44 – 63
Briscoe 64 – 85
Point Standings: Power 422, Hunter-Reay 386, Castroneves 381, Dixon 368, Pagenaud 337, Kanaan 327, Hinchcliffe 327, Briscoe 317, Franchitti 306, Rahal 286.No Comment