Briscoe's Seventh-Place Finish Leads Team Penske at Toronto
July 10, 2011
Photo courtesy of Steve Swope
TORONTO, Ontario, Canada (July 10, 2011) – Ryan Briscoe battled back from two incidents Sunday to finish seventh in the Honda Indy Toronto, leading the way for Team Penske during a disappointing, crash-filled race in the streets of Toronto.
While Briscoe was recovering from trouble, his teammates saw their results suffer from separate incidents. Helio Castroneves encountered contact early on and soldiered on with a damaged car to finish 17th. Will Power – who entered the race in a close championship battle with Dario Franchitti – was spun out by Franchitti and his car was later hit and knocked out of the race by Alex Tagliani as he was scored in 24th place.
Briscoe said he felt fortunate to salvage a seventh-place finish in the No. 6 PPG Automotive Refinish Dallara/Honda.
"We were unlucky but also quite fortunate today in the PPG Automotive Refinish car," said Briscoe. "We had the incident early on with (Tony) Kanaan where he was pinning me so low I had nowhere to go – at that point he's got to give me room and let me make the corner, but I had no room. We damaged our car and I hurt my wrist a bit there. From then on, it was really just about trying to stay out of trouble. We fought all day to make up ground and a seventh-place finish is the best we could do. I guess we're pretty lucky to finish where we did considering everyone else's accidents out there today."
Castroneves made contact with Tagliani while fighting for position in the No. 3 Penske Truck Rental machine and the three-time Indy 500 champion had to pit several times for repairs on the car's damaged suspension. As a result, Castroneves lost valuable positions and finished four laps down to the race leaders.
"It was a tough race today," said Castroneves. "I want to apologize to my team and especially to Alex Tagliani. He and I were both driving hard, and although I tried to avoid him, we got together. I really feel bad for him and the No. 3 car guys. This place is all about staying out of trouble and I just didn't do that today. The Penske Truck Rental car was really fast and we were running a good strategy, but I made a mistake. Now we must keep fighting and improve in Edmonton."
Power also encountered trouble after starting from the pole position in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda. Power led the first 32 laps of the race before he dropped back in the running order due to an untimely caution flag on his first pit stop. After he worked his way back up front, Power went into Turn 3 on the 58th lap on the outside of Franchitti. Power's car spun out after Franchitti made contact with the Verizon machine. Initially, it looked as if IZOD IndyCar Series officials would penalize Franchitti for avoidable contact in the incident, but no penalty was ever enforced and Franchitti went on to win the race.
After Power rejoined the race and began making up ground, his car was hit from behind by Tagliani on lap 67. After making it back to pit lane, Power and the No. 12 crew were forced to retire from the race with extensive damage to the rear of the car.
"It's just a really disappointing finish for the Verizon car today," said Power. "My team did a great job in the pits and we were working our way back toward the front and we got past Franchitti. We went into the corner and I gave him room and then he just drove into me. I understood he was going to get penalized but then there was no call – I just don't understand that. After that we were just trying to get the best result possible before Tag (Tagliani) hit me from behind."
It was the second consecutive race that Power was unable to finish, and he remains second but now trails Franchitti by 55 points in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship standings.
"It's very tough to have two DNFs in a row," said Power. "All I can say is we'll keep working hard and hopefully come back strong at Edmonton."
Briscoe actually improved to sixth in the championship standings with Sunday's result while Castroneves is now ranked 12th.
The IndyCar Series returns to action on Sunday, July 24 with the Edmonton Indy at City Centre Airport in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Live coverage on Versus will begin at 2 p.m. ET.