Briscoe Wins at Texas for First Victory of the Season
June 6, 2010
Briscoe, who won his second pole position of the season Friday night, led the most laps in Saturday's 228-lap race around the 1.5-mile oval to score the maximum points for the weekend and improve his position in the series championship standings. The win was Team Penske's sixth at Texas Motor Speedway, including four out of the last five at the venue.
Despite leading qualifying on Friday, Briscoe and the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda team weren't happy with the car's set-up following Friday evening's final practice session. The team made adjustments to the car prior to the race and the work paid off as Briscoe led four times for 102 laps en route to his sixth career IndyCar Series victory.
"This is unbelievable," said Briscoe in Victory Circle before shooting off the customary six-shooter pistols at TMS. "I wasn't sure about my car after warm-up last night, so we made a lot of changes coming into the race. This one goes to my engineer, Eric Cowdin. He did a great job giving me a car that was so good in traffic and on my own."
The native of Sydney, Australia took the lead for good on lap 193. After making his final pit stop of the night, Briscoe tried to get up to speed quickly as Danica Patrick went past him and took the race lead. Moments later, Briscoe made the key move of the night to get around Patrick, with the help of his push-to-pass overtake assist.
"Danica got by us and I didn't want to make any aggressive moves and block," said Briscoe. "I gained some momentum on the next lap, used the push-to-pass and was able to pass her out of Turn 4 and into Turn 1. She gave us a real run for our money tonight. It was fun racing side-by-side with her."
The victory helped Team Penske recover from a disappointing effort last weekend at the Indianapolis 500, where pit problems hurt Helio Castroneves and Will Power, and Briscoe saw his race end early due to an accident.
"I needed this," said Briscoe after Saturday's win. "It was pretty miserable coming off of Indy the way we did. We just didn't quite have it for (Indy 500 winner) Dario (Franchitti), and then I made a mistake at the end. This win means a lot. I want to thank my guys for sticking behind me and giving me great pit stops all day long."
Briscoe moved from seventh to fifth in the series standings with the result. The finish also extended an interesting statistical trend for Briscoe at Texas. In his four career races at the venue, he has finished in the exact same position where he has started, improving his finish in each start - 12th in 2005, third in 2008, second in 2009 and now first in 2010.
Power's efforts Saturday were hurt after a piece of debris from another car became lodged underneath the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske machine. Power was forced to pit to try and remove the debris. He was still running third in the late stages of the race, but had to pit for fuel with four laps remaining and finished 14th. The result saw Power slip from first to second in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings for the first time this season, but he's just three points out of the lead, now trailing Franchitti 246-243.
"Yeah, I was up at the front most of the night and finished out back," said Power. "The Verizon car was good at the front, but we struggled in traffic. Then we got out of sequence when we picked up some debris from a crashed car. We needed a yellow flag there at the end and just didn't get it. We're still in good shape for the championship and we'll work hard to get the points lead back at Iowa in a couple of weeks."
Meanwhile, Castroneves ran into trouble when his No. 3 Team Penske machine was involved in an accident midway through the race. The crash left Castroneves, a three-time winner at Texas, with a 20th-place finish.
"It's a shame," said Castroneves, who remained fourth in the series standings despite the frustrating finish. "We were only 130 laps into it. I'm very upset with the result. This is going to hurt us in the championship, but we've got to turn the page and move on. I'm very disappointed."
All three Team Penske drivers are in the top five of the IndyCar Series championship rundown after seven of 17 races this season. For Briscoe, the win was his first since Chicagoland Speedway last season.
"Briscoe drove the race of his life," said Roger Penske in Victory Lane Saturday night. "He drove a race like that in Chicago and Homestead last year. It was a great show for us, and we're back."
The IZOD IndyCar Series will resume on Sunday, June 20 with the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway. The race will be televised live on Versus with coverage beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET.