DETROIT, Mich. – National Guard Panther Racing driver Ryan Briscoe made a spirited charge through the grid Sunday during the first race of this weekend’s Chevrolet Duel in Detroit, but a late-race spin relegated the team to a 21st-place finish. Briscoe, signed by the team just two days ago, was decisively quick in his first IndyCar Series start in the No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet and will have another opportunity during Sunday’s 70-lap weekend finale.
Briscoe returned to the field in 15th, but his pace increased dramatically as the race continued and he began to pick his way up the grid; reaching 10th place after passing Tristan Vautier on Lap 60.
Then, as Briscoe caught up to Graham Rahal with just four laps remaining, he spun into the tire barrier. There was no damage to the National Guard car, but since the race was in its final laps he was not restarted and finished 21st.
Earlier in the day, Briscoe qualified 13th for tomorrow’s race with a top lap speed of 106.734 mph, 1:19.2627 seconds. The Australian will be traveling to Le Mans to testwith Level 5 Motorsports following tomorrow’s race and unavailable for the remainder of races this month. Panther expects to announce a fill-in driverearly next week, and Briscoe is a possible candidate to run again for the team later in the 2013 season when his schedule allows.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet: “It was good fun out there; I passed a lot of cars and the car was great. I was just setting up Graham (Rahal) for a pass there with a few laps to go and turned in too wide on the dust and the National Guard car came around on me. It’s a real bummer that we didn’t finish but all-in-all it was a super positive race, and we had really good speed. I was feeling really good in the car and the pit stops were great. We’ll try to have the same kind of pace tomorrow.”