Briscoe Claims Home-Country Victory
Native son Ryan Briscoe capped a great IndyCar Series race weekend for Australia Sunday in Surfers Paradise, winning the season-concluding Nikon Indy 300 in front of a massive and enthusiastic crowd. Briscoe, who hails from Sydney, successfully held off the Brisbane-born New Zealander Scott Dixon to take the checkers by the slim margin of just five-tenths of a second after 60 laps of the 2.97-mile beachfront street circuit.
Briscoe's third win of the season came at the expense of local favorite and pole qualifier Will Power, who led the first 17 laps before brushing the inside wall at Turn Five. That contact damaged Power's left front wheel and tire, and he was unable to make the following right-hand Turn Six, impacting the wall a second time to end his day.
Briscoe took the lead from there and led to the finish, becoming the first Australian-born winner in the 17-year history of the race. Newly crowned IndyCar Series Champion Dixon gave chase throughout the race, but was unable to get close enough to mount a serious passing attempt. Honda Racing Report 2.
Today's non-championship "All Star" event in Australia concluded the 2008 IndyCar Series season, and another weekend of perfect reliability for the Honda Indy V-8 engine. The 24-driver field ran 8,172 miles this weekend without a single failure.
Throughout 2008, a total of 39 drivers and teams ran a record 242,667 miles of practice, qualifying and racing 71,327 more miles than in 2007 without a single in-race engine failure for the Honda Indy V-8 engine.
Behind the lead pair, Rahal Letterman Racing's Ryan Hunter-Reay came out on top of a race- long battle with Alex Tagliani, who nevertheless posted the best result of the season for his Conquest Racing team with a fourth-place finish. In similar fashion, Oriol Servia finished fifth after a fierce battle with E.J. Viso, who rounded out the top six finishers.
In 2009, Honda will once again supply racing engines for the entire IndyCar Series field. The new season gets under way April 5 with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on the scenic west coast of Florida.
Ryan Briscoe (Team Penske Honda) started 3rd, finished 1st, third IndyCar Series victory of 2008: "It's very exciting to win at home. It was a pretty smooth race. Once we got the lead, I was able to put down some fast laps and pull away from Scott [Dixon]. We had called for an early pit stop to stay away from traffic and that was a good call. It's very unfortunate for Will [Power]. He was hands-down the fastest car here all weekend. I haven't had a lot of chances to race in my home country. I had a lot of family and friends here this weekend and it feels great to win here at home."
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) 2008 IndyCar Series Champion, started 2nd, finished 2nd: "I made a little mistake at the start and had to give a spot back to Ryan. I had to get behind him and that's where I stayed all day. I just didn't have enough speed to pass him. I think we were a bit quicker in traffic, but Ryan was definitely quicker on the longer runs. I feel bad for Will [Power]. He would have been tough to beat today."
Erik Berkman (President, Honda Performance Development) on today's race and the 2008 season: "Congratulations to Ryan Briscoe, for making his fellow Australians proud today, and to the entire Team Penske organization on their fifth victory of the year. I'd also like to once again sincerely thank all of our hard-working associates at Honda Performance Development and technical partner Ilmor for their outstanding performance all season long. We're already well along with our plans for the 2009 IndyCar Series season, and look forward to continued growth next year."
-credit: honda racing