Ryan Briscoe Wins at Sonoma; Will Power Clinches Road Course Championship; Chevrolet Wins Manufacturers’ Championship
SONOMA, Calif. (August 26, 2012) – Ryan Briscoe was a man on a mission today at Sonoma Raceway and scored his first victory of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season. It is his first at Sonoma, and the seventh of his career. Briscoe’s win is the sixth this season for team owner Roger Penske, which clinched the 2012 Manufacturers’ Championship for Chevrolet.
Starting second on the grid, the driver of the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet stayed near the front of the field through two cycles of green-flag pit stops. On the final stop of the day during caution, Briscoe took the lead when excellent pit work by his crew that got him out at the front of the field. He was scored the leader on lap 64 of the 85-lap GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, and held off a charge from teammate Will Power and Dario Franchitti.
Power’s second place finish extended his points lead to 35 points over Ryan Hunter-Reay who was involved in an on-track incident late in the race that relegated the driver of the No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda Andretti Autosport Chevrolet to the 18th finishing position.
In addition, his run gave Power the honor of winning the 2012 Road Course Championship and receiving the Mario Andretti Trophy.
Rubens Barrichello, No. 8 BMC/Embrase KV Racing Technology Chevrolet, scored his best finish of his inaugural IndyCar season, taking the checkered flag in fourth place.
Other Team Chevy drivers with top-10 finishes were: Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet – 6th; JR Hildebrand, No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet – 8th and Tony Kanaan, No. 11 MOUSER Electronics/GEICO KV Racing Technology Chevrolet – 10th.
Franchitti finished third and Graham Rahal rounded out the top-five finishers.
Next on the schedule is the Grand Prix of Baltimore on the Streets of Baltimore on September 2, 2012.
RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 2 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – WINNER:
HOW ABOUT THAT? CONGRATULATIONS ON THE WIN. LET’S GO BACK TO THE CAUTION DID YOU THINK YOU COULD CATCH WILL (POWER) AND MAYBE PASS HIM THERE KNOWING THAT THE PITS WERE OPEN? “I didn’t know where he was. I just knew that I had to keep pushing as hard as I could even when the yellow came out. They told me where the cars were stuck, but they said the cars were off track.”
HOW ABOUT THAT RESTART WITH WILL (POWER) WERE YOU WORRIED? “I just wanted to win the race, but I wanted to do it cleanly. I’ve been in his spot at the start of the race on the outside. I knew it’s almost impossible to stay up there and get the lead. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t wheel spin too much and get a clean run up to turn two. Then the car was really good at the end on reds. We struggled a little bit mid-stint on the blacks, but on reds this thing came to life. I’m glad I was on them at the end.”
ABOUT THE RACE WIN: “It’s big. I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to win again. It has been too long. Especially here in Sonoma, I’ve always done so well at this track and I got my first ever pole position here and we’ve been top-five every year pretty much for the last five years so it’s great to finally get the win. I look forward to drinking the red wine. Great battle with Will at the end there. He definitely had some bad luck in the pits, but we were there all day. I’m really excited and I hope to be able to work on my burnouts a little bit more in the future.”
ABOUT WHAT IT’S LIKE TO GO THROUGH A LOSING STREAK LIKE THIS: “It was tough. The last year was the first year that I hadn’t won a race in a while. You’ve just go to keep plucking away, keep pushing hard. We’ve been fast. There’s no doubt – several poles this year and front row starts, but we had trouble executing, and today we executed flawlessly thanks to the guys in the pits. There was absolutely no trouble at all. It was a straight free race. It was fun at the end there with some pressure from Will. My car was a lot better on reds. In the middle of the race he got away from us – the car wasn’t that good on the blacks. But, we saved those reds for the end.”
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE REDS AND HOW THE TIRES PLAYED OUT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE TODAY: “We started the race really strong on the reds, it felt good. We went to the blacks and we knew that it was going to be four stints today with three stops. We only felt comfortable using two sets of reds in the race because our other set was a bit abused from qualifying so we had to do the whole middle part of the race on the blacks. I just struggled a bit for lap time. We weren’t slow but I wasn’t as quick as Will and I think even Bourdais was a little bit quicker than us, so I was looking forward to the final stint on reds. The car came to life again and we did what we needed to.”
ROGER PENSKE – WINNING TEAM OWNER:
HOW ABOUT THAT WIN FOR RYAN BRISCOE THERE? I KNOW YOU WERE A LITTLE NERVOUS ON THAT LAST RESTART. “Well I didn’t want these guys to get together it was just a terrific day for both Will (Power) and certainly Ryan (Briscoe) had an outstanding day. I think the guys in the pits made the difference between the two cars. They were both good all weekend. See one, two and Helio (Castroneves) finished in the top six you couldn’t beat anything like that. Great for the championship obviously we see that (Scott) Dixon had an issue and so did the No. 28 car of (Ryan) Hunter-Reay. Good day we just have to move on now to Baltimore, looking forward to it.
“We’ve run here a lot, we’ve got a pretty good setup the teams do perform each time we come back. The chance to test here a couple of weeks ago was really a plus for us because we got the car is the same, and I think everyone was on their best behavior from the standpoint of working together. You can see that with the cars as close as they are, but it was a very good day for us, obviously disappointing for Hunter-Reay and Dixon, but we want to win this championship. What we have to do is focus here the next two races.”
ON WILL POWER GETTING THE ROAD COURSE CHAMPIONSHIP: “I think any championship is important; we want to focus on the overall championship. It’s important to us, it’s important to the team, we’ve been close so many years and haven’t been able to close the deal. Ganassi has done a better job doing that, so today was key for us.”
REGARDING RELATIONSHIP WITH CHEVROLET: “I think to have Chevy come into the series was a big plus. We have three engine manufacturers now, and there’s a lot of competition, good competition between the brands. To come from Detroit and have Chevrolet in the race with the engines has been terrific, and certainly the reliability has been excellent. I think the speeds for both engines have been very competitive. I think the league has done a very good job in monitoring each engine and be sure it’s a level playing field. To me, the Chevy relationship goes back a long time when we had the first Chevy Indy engine; to me this is just a repeat. To see them when the manufacturer’s championship in their first year is very rewarding.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – FINISHED 2ND:
IT LOOKED LIKE YOU HAD THIS RACE, BUT WHAT HAPPENED DURING THAT FINAL PIT STOP WHEN THE YELLOW CAME OUT? “Yeah, at the end of the day, I had a bunch of guys that probably didn’t understand we had to get to the blend line; although there was a big crash, so I’m kind of surprised that the pits stayed open. I can’t win, like, if I got along on fuel and do a good job I get screwed by a yellow if I go short I get screwed by a yellow. But (laughs) it’s tough when you man, we led so many laps and had the quickest car and then the bright idea of the delay on the push-to-pass by IndyCar really cost me too. I couldn’t engage it. It just kept un-doing every time I got on the throttle. It’s still a good day though. It was still a good day. I’m just disappointed to lead so many laps. We haven’t won in so long. But, excellent for Ryan (Briscoe, race winner). I think he deserves to win. He’s a bloody good driver and he’s had a bit of a rough trek. I believe he’s one of the quickest cars in the series.”
ROUGH DAY FOR YOU, BUT SOME OF THE OTHERS TOOK A PRETTY GOOD HIT TODAY “Yeah, that’s the great thing. I love to win but we still got the points and made the most out of the situation that it was. I can’t help but be disappointed. I love to win, man; I love to win. But congratulations to Ryan; I’m really happy for him.
“The wins are right there, we’re just not getting them. But on one end, you’re thinking of the championship as well, but if we’ve got the car to win we go for it, and obviously as you get further into the season, you become more aware of what these guys are doing in front of you and behind you, and how aggressive you’ve got to be.
“I wouldn’t blame the pit stop; it was more on the people that were holding me up. We had an eight second lead, probably lost four on the pit stop and the rest was at the track. And I do understand that you want to go slower where an accident was, it was a big accident for sure, but these guys that were back a lap—I don’t know if they were told to do it, maybe they were a rival team, but it cost us a limb.”
RUBENS BARRICHELLO, NO. 8 BMC/EMBRASE KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET – FINISHED 4th: “It’s really good to have some good points. You know the season started a little bit slow so, thanks to the whole team and thanks for all the support. I’ve had wonderful support. The thing that I hear the most is “Welcome to America” and I feel welcome. There’s plenty more from me for sure.”
ON THE TEAM AND WHAT THEY HAVE ACCOMPLISHED FOR YOU AND THE EARLY FRUSTRATIONS IN THE SEASON: “The team is a small group that works well together. For one reason or the other we haven’t been able to get the results that we deserve. I mean, TK was superb in getting those results but today was a good day. The track really worked well. I was able to put some really good laps in.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES, 3 NO. PENSKE TRUCK RENTAL CHEVROLET – FINISHED 6th: “First of all I’m very, very happy with the result of finishing sixth especially after the circumstances that we had. It was an amazing result for the Penske Truck Rental guys. I’m extremely happy being able to collect more points, but not so happy with the early race incident, certainly I did not try to pass Scott. I did not want to ruin my race and especially anyone else’s race. But at the end of the day you need to just keep pushing. I felt that we had a better car than sixth, but again today’s sixth was like a victory.”
JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET – FINISHED 8th: “We had a little bit of a fueling issue during the first stop, which was really a bummer because we had to end up making an extra pit stop and it threw our strategy off for the day. But at the end of the day we were able to put the pedal to the metal to catch up and get ourselves back on the lead lap. We were like ten seconds back, you know a lap down, so we caught up a bunch of time and we were really able to get good use out of our red tire.
“Given what we’ve been going through this weekend, we made some really significant improvements to the car. Based on the fact that we did have to make an extra pit stop we had to work really hard to get to the Top Ten. The boys did a really great job, and it’s nice to finally have a single digit finish back at home, I’m definitely happy.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 MOUSER ELECTRONIS/GEICO KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET – FINISHED 10TH: “I definitely had a top-six car today. The first lap I broke my front wing and even with that problem I got up to seventh place. However during our last pit stop the car got stuck in neutral, which put us a lap down. We continue to fight and fortunately were able to savage a top-10 finish which gave us valuable championship points.”
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, NO 17 AFS RACING ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – FINISHED 15TH: "I am very happy to bring the No. 17 AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport car home. It was a great experience throughout the whole weekend. We were pretty quick all around and I felt very comfortable competing with the big guys. I really want to thank Gary (Peterson) and Michael (Andretti) for this great opportunity. It was great working with Ryan, Marco and Hinch (teammates Hunter-Reay, Andretti and Hinchcliffe) throughout the weekend. I am looking forward to the next time that we will all be on the track together. It was a learning experience not only for me, but for my engineers also. We have been learning a lot and want to keep that process very steep.”
E.J. VISO, NO. 5 CITGO/PDVSA KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET – FINISHED 16TH: “We had a very tough weekend. We only ran a few laps over the first two days because of mechanical issues in both practice sessions, which meant we went to qualifying without knowing how the car would behave on new tires. Qualifying didn’t go as well as we hoped and on this circuit starting in the back is never good. In the race, we had some good stints. I overtook some cars and we were making our way through the field. I think we had potential for top-10 finish, however with four laps left in the race Ryan Hunter-Reay hit me in turn seven and the car spun which eliminated any change of a good result.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO. 28 TEAM DHL/SUN DROP CITRUS SODA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, INVOLVED IN LATE RACE INCIDENT WITH ALEX TAGLIANI – FINISHED 18TH:
I’VE NEVER SEEN ANY DRIVER SO FRUSTRATED JUST DISTRAUGHT YOUR THOUGHTS? “I raced so hard the whole day. I can’t even tell you how hard I drove just to keep better cars behind me at times. Dario (Franchitti) was really fast and to keep him behind me was no easy feat. Yeah, it’s the usual (Alex) Tagliani deal. That is what he’s known for. I really can’t get over that, that’s unreal. I mean with an engine failure last week and the Tagliani factor this week it’s changed the championship.
"I drove so hard all day, pushed so hard to get from seventh to third, I can't even tell you how hard I drove just to hold-off cars that were quicker at times, just to put us in the position to challenge for a win. We had a great car at the end, and then it was the usual Tag (Tagliani). He just got in there, locked up the brakes and got into the back of me. I can't tell you how frustrated I am after the engine problems last (race, at Mid-Ohio), and then this. We had a podium (finish). I can't get over it right now. It's unreal."
ORIOL SERVIA, NO. 22 PANTHER/DREYER AND REINBOLD RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 19TH: "Even when we started at the back we thought that we had a car to move up to the front with strategy, but it just wasn't happening and then we had a couple of incidents. Our first was with Hinchcliffe. I thought that he was saving fuel or was having some sort of mechanical issue and in Turn 11 he broke very early and I had a problem and locked wheels, but I broke my front wing and I spun him. That cost us because we had to change the front wing. At the end, Dixon was trying to pass me for three laps and I was braking as late as I could to not get passed and I think Mike Conway hit someone in front so he was a little slow and I hit him in the corner and they gave me the drive thru. It wasn't our day and it's one of those days it would have been more painful if were battling for the podium, but still I think that we could have managed a top-ten without those two incidents but it wasn't the case. Difficult weekend, but the TranSystems car was really good in the end so I think that we will have good pace in Baltimore."
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S PREMIUM ULTRA VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET – FINISHED 20TH: “It was a very disappointing race for us. We made good progress through the weekend with the Fuzzy’s Vodka car and felt we would be better today in the race. I don’t know what happened for the race. We didn’t make many changes for the race. But it felt like it was a completely different car from the past couple of days. I thought we had the opportunity to do better today and take a step in the right direction. But the car just did perform the way we wanted. We’ll have to sit down and go over everything this week as we move to Baltimore for Labor Day weekend. I feel badly I didn’t do better today, that team didn’t do better and I badly for our sponsor, Fuzzy’s Vodka. We’ll regroup and be ready for the next two races left in the season.”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 7 TRUECAR/MCAFEE DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET SIDELINED IN A CRASH ON LAP 63 – FINISHED 22ND:
WHAT HAPPENED TO PUT YOU OUT OF THE RACE? “It was a very bad impact the tub is broken in two and the gearbox pretty much went through my shoulder so it was a really bad hit. It’s a shame. I feel very bad because at first I don’t know what happened the car just refused to turn and it’s my mistake for sure, it’s me turning the wheel. I have no idea what happened.”
YOU HAD A GREAT RACE GOING ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU WERE HOLDING DARIO (FRANCHITTI) ON YOUR BLACK TIRES THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN AS TOUGH OF A 10 OR THIRTY LAPS THAT YOU HAD TO RUN ALL YEAR: “Yeah everything was working out great because then we were going to finish with the better tires. We had a brand new set of tires. The problem is we were in the mix of all these lapped cars that were racing us pretty hard and I wanted to stay ahead and I guess I should have just given up.”
KATHERINE LEGGE, NO. 6 TRUECAR DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET – FINISHED 24TH: “The first five laps were a real challenge, having not been in a race for quite some time. It was carnage out there early and there were cars all over the place. I just wasn’t aggressive enough early on, and that’s just a result of a lack of time in the car. I was really using today to focus on minimizing mistakes and it was paying off. In all, I feel like we would have done much better if we hadn’t missed so much leading up to this weekend. However, I really want to thank Chevy for getting us an engine for this race, which was really important to my sponsor TrueCar.”
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 26 TEAM RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, SIDELINED ON LAP 45 WITH MECHANICAL ISSUE, FINISHED 25TH: "We had been fighting hard to get by (Graham) Rahal, and I lost part of the (right) front wing, but it seemed like we were still able to turn some decent lap times. We had an extra set of (Firestone) Red (tires), so we were able to catch the pack of cars in front us but it was tough to get around guys. We made a pit stop (on lap 42), and then the temperatures started to go all over the place and the guys told me to come in immediately. Because it happened in the race, we won't have a penalty in Baltimore (next weekend)."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 TEAM GODADDY.COM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET –
SIDELINED ON LAP 34 WITH MECHANICAL ISSUE, FINISHED 26TH:
WHAT PUT YOU OUT OF THE RACE? "We've been slow since day one - since the first session. On the start I got into Simon (Pagenaud), he got held up - or I guess caught up - in Turn 7 there; hit him. We kind of were just settling into it; put a new wing on that first stop and then the car just went wicked lose. The low speed grip was just non-existent. So I had a train of cars behind me and Oriol (Servia) got in to the back of me. It wasn't intentional - I was hanging on for dear life and I just literally had to slow the car down that much to make the corner. When he hit me I think it knocked an oil line off and that just did the engine in. It's just bad to worse, there's nothing else that could have worked against us this weekend, but we'll but it behind us and try to move on to Baltimore and come back stronger."
Source: Team Chevy Racing