Ryan Briscoe started from the pole position, leading 102 laps on his way to victory in the 228 lap Firestone 550 K IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night. Ryan Briscoe, Team Penske. Photo by Michael C.
Ryan Briscoe started from the pole position, leading 102 laps on his way to victory in the 228 lap Firestone 550 K IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
"This is four (Texas races) in a row where I've finished where I started, but this one is definitely best," said Briscoe. "It was hard-fought out there and we had some really good racing. I've dreamt of shooting those six-shooters (in victory lane), it just feels so good to get this win here in Texas."
Danica Patrick was credited with leading lap 192 after a round of green flag pit stops but Briscoe quickly took the point in his Team Penske No. 6 to lead the final 35 laps.
The Andretti Autosport team had a good night with Patrick finishing second. Patrick's teammate Marco Andretti finished third while Tony Kanaan and Ryan Hunter-Reay finished sixth and seventh, respectively.
Despite the good showing there may be some dissension in the ranks at Andretti Autosport as Tony Kanaan was clearly annoyed by an on track move made by Danica Patrick. Although he didn't mention any names, Kanaan said, "Things could have been a little bit better, but I'm happy. It was crazy out there. Unfortunately, I got chopped back to 17th by my teammate and we had to work our way back through the field. I think we had a car to finish a little bit better, but that's the beauty of Texas. You can't know what is going to happen until the last lap."
The Ganassi Racing duo of Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti finished in the top five. Dixon, who finished fourth, said he had a solid car while Franchitti said his was difficult in traffic. "Great car in the front tonight, not as much in traffic," said Franchitti, after finishing fifth. "We led a bunch of laps and the Energizer car was really fast." Franchitti, who started on the front row, noted that his car was setup to run in clean air.
With his fifth place finish, Franchitti squeaks into the series points lead 246-243 over Team Penske driver Will Power who finished one lap down in 14th. Power said he struggled in traffic and then got out of pit sequence when he picked up some debris from a crashed car. "We needed a yellow flag there at the end and just didn't get it," said Power.
The third Team Penske entry, driven by Helio Castroneves was involved in a multicar incident with KV Racing Technology driver Mario Moraes. The pair touched and collected Bertrand Baguette of Conquest Racing.
"I couldn't hear my spotter say anyone was on the outside," said Moraes. "Then I got hit and started spinning. I thought I was by myself. It is a tough one for the KV Racing team. We have to get ready for Iowa now."
Castroneves, who was without radio communication, wasn't thrilled by Moraes' explanation of the incident, nor was Baguette, who had no place to go. "I saw the two cars hit the wall in front me and as they were coming back down the track I tried to avoid them," Baguette said. "I was slowing down but everything happens so quickly. I tried to go between them but I couldn't, it was close but I couldn't do anything to try and miss them. It's a shame because we had a good car and we were fast. We've had a good car at all the ovals we've been to this year and we deserved a better result than this."
There were four caution periods for a total of 36 laps run under yellow.
The most spectacular incident involved Swiss driver Simona de Silvestro. De Silvestro's Team Stargate Worlds/HVM entry slammed the wall at the exit of Turn two and burst into flames. The flaming wreckage slid down the backstretch before coming to rest in Turn three. The car continued to burn as safety crews rushed to the scene. Miraculously, de Silvestro suffered only a minor burn on her right hand
"The car was pretty loose for a couple of laps," she said. "I was able to catch it a couple of times but this time it got away from me and I hit the wall. The car caught on fire and it wasn't really extinguishing. I feel bad for the guys because the car was pretty good, just a little loose."