Ryan Briscoe Wins The Nikon Indy 300 In His Native Australia

SURFERS PARADISE, Australia (October 25, 2008) - Team Penske driver Ryan Briscoe celebrated his first IndyCar Series race in his native Australia with a dominating performance in Sunday's Nikon Indy 300 on the streets of Surfers Paradise, Australia. Starting from the third spot, Briscoe, in his No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda, held off 2008 IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon and the rest of the 24 car field after leader and fellow Aussie Will Power hit the tire barrier on lap 16, then led 39 of the remaining 44 laps of the race to bring home the win for Team Penske.

"What a way to come off the year, with a win in my home country," said Briscoe, who survived a successful fight on the challenging 2.795-mile temporary street course. "A lot of credit goes to my guys at Team Penske, and my new engineer Eric [Cowdin], who did a great job this weekend."

Although Briscoe had the fastest car on track, keeping Dixon at bay was not an easy task. "Dixon is very quick and consistent, and he was in my mirrors all day long, but I just had to focus on not making a mistake and bringing it all home," said Briscoe, who set the fastest lap of the race with only three remaining. "Dixon made me work for it, for sure - as his fuel load got lighter, he kept coming on stronger, but I knew I had the equipment to keep ahead of him."

Briscoe celebrated with his family and friends as he became the first Australian to win the Surfers Paradise event in its history. "It's so nice to win in my home country," said Briscoe. "This is certainly special and it's a big honor to win here."

Helio Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda, started sixth and fell back through the field after an on-track incident with the No. 7 car, running as low as 21st. The Brazilian driver and his Team Penske crew fought back, regained his lost lap and were able to finish the non-championship points event in seventh place.

"I'm very happy for Ryan winning in his home country," said Castroneves after the event. "My run was an adventure -- we tried a different strategy than Ryan. We had a little trouble with a flat tire when we got into it with Danica [Patrick], but in the end of the day finishing seventh was pretty good."

Sunday's race will be rebroadcast in the U.S. on ESPN2 on Sunday, October 26 at 11 p.m. EDT. The 2009 IndyCar Series season is scheduled to open April 5 with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

-credit: tp