National Guard Panther Team misses top ten after late-race pit stop for splash of fuel.
LONG POND, PA. – National Guard Panther Racing driver Ryan Briscoe was poised for a Top Ten finish Sunday at PoconoRaceway before having to make a late-race pit stop for a splash of fuel, which dropped the National Guard team to a 14th-place finish in the Indy Pocono 400.
Briscoe was able to make a methodical climb from his 19th-place starting position at the start of the 160-lap race, and he moved up to 17th before the team’s first pit stop on Lap 31. He was up to 14th by the end of his second stint as the team pitted on Lap 61, just before the second caution flag of the day came out for an accident on pit road involving Ryan Hunter-Reay and Takuma Sato.
In what was a day filled with great pit stops from the National Guard pit crew, Briscoe was up to 12th when the field restarted on Lap 71. The crew followed that up with another quick stop on Lap 96, which helped Briscoe reach the 11th position on the grid by Lap 111.
The team stayed in 11th as Briscoe battled with Sebastian Bourdais while trying to save fuel in the National Guard Chevy as race laps quickly continued to wind down. But with Briscoe at the lead of his group of cars, and without the fuel-saving benefit of the draft, it quickly became evident to the team that they were going tohave to make a late-race pit stop for a splash of fuel.
With just four lapsremaining Briscoe ducked into the pits for the few gallons of fuel he needed to finish the race, which caused the team to fall a lap behind and slip to 14th-place in the final finishing order.
Ganassi Racing driver and former series champion Scott Dixon took the race victory and was joined on the podium by teammates Charlie Kimball (P2) and Dario Franchitti (P3).
Ryan Briscoe, No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet: "We were working a lot on our fuel mileage there late in the race and had to jump in the pits for a splash of fuel, which cost us some positions right at theend. That was a bit unfortunate because the National Guard Chevy was quite racy, especially once the fuel burnt off and we got to the end of each stint.
We were working on our downforce levels during some of the early pit stops, and the Panther crew was really quick in the pits all day. I'm really thankful Panther gave me the opportunity to run today knowing we'd have to miss practice and qualifications. We continue to gel each time we go out and I'm looking forward to the next one."