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Briscoe Captures First IndyCar Series Victory

June 2, 2008

Photo courtesy of IMS Photo



WEST ALLIS, Wis. (June 1, 2008) –  Ryan Briscoe has his first -- and Penske Racing has its 300th.

Ryan Briscoe narrowly avoided a crash with two laps remaining and went on to win the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 on Sunday at The Milwaukee Mile, his first victory in the IndyCar Series and the 300th victory in the history of Penske Racing. Briscoe was leading Scott Dixon when Marco Andretti’s car slid up the track in Turn 2 and clipped Ed Carpenter’s car, which spun and hit the wall. As Briscoe and Dixon approached the crash, Vitor Meira’s car stuck Andretti’s car and became airborne.

Briscoe braked suddenly and missed the wreck, then idled around the track to win under caution. “If I would have gotten caught up in that, I would have been under the bus crying right now, that‘s for sure,” Briscoe said with a laugh afterward.

While Briscoe was scoring his first win, Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves was finishing fifth, maintaining his second-place standing in the championship points. “His car was much quicker than mine, but it’s good to see that he’s coming on,” Castroneves said. “It’s just going to get better and better.”
 
Briscoe’s victory also came on the 30th anniversary of Rick Mears‘ first IndyCar victory for Roger Penske’s team, also at Milwaukee. Briscoe, Mears’ latest pupil as an advisor for Team Penske, credited his mentor with the win.  “He’s the best observer I’ve ever talked to,” Briscoe said. “He watched me in practice and talked about lines and traffic and things to keep my eye on. I really put a lot of that to use today, especially in the closing stages with Scott. Anything that Rick Mears says is invaluable. This one goes to him.”
 
Briscoe and Dixon were engaged in a cat-and-mouse duel during the final laps when they came up on two cars spinning and one flying on the 223rd lap of the 225-lap race. Briscoe and his No. 6 Team Penske Honda/Dallara narrowly avoided the trouble, missing Andretti’s car by a few feet.  “A million things went through my mind,” Briscoe said. “Just before that, I was pretty comfortable. I knew how to keep Dixon behind me, and I was like, ‘Let’s just bring this thing home.’ Then, all of a sudden, I’m seeing smoke in front of me and cars flying. I was like, ‘This is not what I need.’”

Penske sported a cap that read “300th win” following the victory. He said the landmark victory was a tribute to all the people who have worked on his race teams.  “It shows the amount of work that has been done by so many people on the team, so many good drivers, so many good pit crews. This is a great thing not for me, but for everybody who has committed to us. There are so many people who have been with us for a long time - 25, 30 years - and that makes a difference.”

Castroneves, now 28 points behind Dixon in the standings heading into Saturday night’s race at Texas Motor Speedway, said he was happy to finish a race at Milwaukee following a string of bad luck at the tricky track.  “I broke the curse,” he said. “Every time we were here, I was never able to finish, Finally I’ve been able to finish, and fifth place is good for points. Not good enough for a win, but we’ll keep working hard.”

Results Sunday of the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Indy 225 IndyCar Series event (order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (11) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 225, Running

2. (3) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 225, Running

3. (6) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 225, Running

4. (7) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 225, Running

5. (5) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 225, Running

6. (9) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda, 225, Running

7. (22) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 224, Running

8. (10) EJ Viso, Dallara-Honda, 224, Running

9. (13) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 224, Running

10. (19) Buddy Rice, Dallara-Honda, 224, Running

11. (21) Townsend Bell, Dallara-Honda, 224, Running

12. (14) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara-Honda, 224, Running

13. (20) Darren Manning, Dallara-Honda, 223, Running

14. (4) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 223, Running

15. (12) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 223, Running

16. (8) Enrique Bernoldi, Dallara-Honda, 222, Running

17. (18) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Honda, 222, Running

18. (15) Bruno Junqueira, Dallara-Honda, 222, Running

19. (16) John Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 222, Running

20. (17) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 221, Contact

21. (1) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 221, Contact

22. (26) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 220, Contact

23. (23) Mario Moraes, Dallara-Honda, 218, Running