BRISCOE TOPS DIXON IN ANOTHER CHICAGOLAND THRILLER JOLIET, Ill., Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009 - Ryan Briscoe edged Scott Dixon by 0.0077 of a second to win the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. The victory, the third of...
BRISCOE TOPS DIXON IN ANOTHER CHICAGOLAND THRILLER
JOLIET, Ill., Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009 - Ryan Briscoe edged Scott Dixon by 0.0077 of a second to win the PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.
The victory, the third of the season for Briscoe, was the fourth-closest finish in IndyCar Series history and helped the Team Penske driver increase his championship points lead to 25 over Dario Franchitti, who finished fourth in the 200-lap race on the 1.5-mile oval. Dixon, who was runner-up at Chicagoland Speedway for the fourth year in a row, is 33 points back with two races remaining.
DAY 2 NOTEBOOK:
Luczo Dragon Racing co-owner Steve Luczo, who presented driver Raphael Matos with a cake to celebrate his 28th birthday on Aug. 28, gave the driver his birthday gift earlier today. Luczo gave Matos an autographed U.S. Postal Team cycling jersey signed by seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, who is one of Matos' heroes.
Penske Racing driver Will Power was released from Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa, Calif. on Thursday afternoon. Power flew back to Indianapolis, where he is resting at his home.
Power will undergo further examination by IndyCar Series orthopedic specialist, Dr. Terry Trammell, on Monday to determine the next course of treatment and recovery.
Power suffered a concussion and compression fractures of his second and fourth lumbar vertebrae during a practice incident at Infineon Raceway last Saturday.
"It feels great to be home," said Power. "I'm looking forward to seeing Dr. Trammell next week and continuing my recovery. I'm feeling better and stronger every day and I really have to say thanks for all the good wishes and support over the last week. We've heard from so many people in the IndyCar community and the fans have been great - they really helped keep my spirits up. I especially want to thank Roger Penske, Tim Cindric and the Penske Racing team for all they've done. It means so much to be part of this team and I wish I could be with them in Chicago this weekend."
PEAK ANTIFREEZE & MOTOR OIL INDY 300 POST-RACE NOTES:
•This is Ryan Briscoe third win of the season and fifth win of his IndyCar Series career. His most recent win was at Kentucky earlier this month.
•This is Team Penske's 35th win in the IndyCar Series - the most of any entrant in IndyCar Series history.
•Scott Dixon finished second, his eighth podium finish and his 10th top-five finish of the season. Dixon has finished second at Chicagoland Speedway five teams, including the last four races (2006-2009).
•Mario Moraes finished third, his career-best finish in the IndyCar Series.
Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, IRL director of medical services: Helio Castroneves has been checked and released from the infield medical center. He is cleared to drive.
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske): "We had a great race night until that incident. The Team Penske car was running very strong, but then we had an issue with our front suspension and I ended up in the wall. It's unfortunate because we could've battled for the win there at the end. The good news is that I'm ok and now we just have to move on to Japan. Congratulations to my teammate, Ryan. He ran a fantastic race and he made some good headway in the Championship."
PEAK ANTIFREEZE & MOTOR OIL INDY 300 POST-RACE QUOTES:
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, race winner): "We've got to stay focused. The Target cars are going to be there in Motegi and Homestead, so we just have to stay focused. We've had good cars on all the mile-and-half ovals this year. We've just got to keep it together. We had a couple of mistakes tonight but were able to come back. We've just have to try to avoid those situations."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, finished second): "We've all seen this movie several times. Unfortunately at Chicago, we just keep finishing second. The whole night, I think we drove a better race. The guys on the team did a fantastic job. The pit stops were flawless. We launched out there a few times but we just didn't have the speed. Our mile-and-half dominance that we seemed to have last year on the Target team has just really been affected. We need to play catch up with Penske. They clearly are a lot faster than us. That's all I had. Great job by Ryan (Briscoe)."
MARIO MORAES (No. 5 Azul Tequila/Votorantim/KVRT, finished third): "It's amazing. The team did a great job in the pits. Our mechanics did a great job and we had really great pit stops. The team has been working really hard for this all season and I'm really pleased with a third place finish."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 02 McDonald's Racing Team, finished fifth): "Honestly, when I went up high, I thought we were going to get it (win) finally because the car had so much momentum. The McDonald's car felt good all night, and it's no doubt we will win one soon. I was just trying to get us an opportunity, and we got it. I pulled out of the draft, went up high and (the momentum) just died. Unfortunately, we just didn't have enough speed. When you go up that high, the distance your taking there is massive, and unfortunately, we just didn't have enough speed. Before this race was the most nervous I've ever been. I was watching people darn near hitting each other on the back straight last night in the warmup, so I knew it would be a crazy race. It was action-packed from start to finish. The idea was to get up front and just try to stay there. If we could stay there, we were going to be with guys that know what they're doing. The McDonald's guys worked hard tonight. I told them we needed good stops, and the second to last stop was what really put us in this position. It was great what we did tonight. The McDonald's car was top-notch. It just shows that we can beat these guys. It's going to take some effort but for us to be where we are now we've got to be pretty happy."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing, finished sixth): "I don't know. The balance had just kind of gotten more understeer late in the race. It kind of seemed like we were better in the first half of the race and then others got better in the second half of the race than what we did. I don't know. We still had a good car at the end, but we just kept getting land-locked with guys running two and three-wide and then I would be sitting there with nowhere to go. I would rather be able to race like that, but it gets frustrating at times just because you have a good car and you get held back. The last lap was interesting because we started in ninth and got back up to sixth so it was still a good day. Obviously, we wanted to be on the podium again, so that's frustrating, but points-wise it was probably good with (Hideki) Mutoh dropping out and (Dan) Wheldon having trouble."
ORIOL SERVIA, No. 06 Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, finished seventh): "It was the perfect race where you want to move to the front, but you want to take your time because it's crazy out there. Just before the last stop, I was fourth - just where you want to be - and I made a mistake coming in the pits. I tried to brake a little too late and went too far on the marks, and we wasted a little too much time trying to get to the car with the fuel. It was my fault. They were still able to do it, but we lost 10 positions. The car was good and we were able to make it back to seventh, so I'm very happy that at least we ended with a decent result. I thought we had a car to fight for the win at the end. I would have liked to be at the front. It makes me feel really good for Motegi. I know that we have a really good car for the ovals, and that I haven't lost my touch. I had a lot of fun tonight and I cannot wait until Motegi."
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 US Air Force/Luczo Dragon Racing, finished ninth): "This was the most fun race of the season. We were running fourth with two laps to go, but Rahal chopped me in turn 4 coming to the last lap and I had to lift and that cost us a few positions. The Air Force Luczo Dragon team did a great job tonight. We gained a lot of positions in the pits because of them and that got us in the race. We had a good enough car to run in the pack and make some moves. Tonight was all about running in the pack and we proved we could do that. This race gives the team a lot of confidence heading into the last two races in Japan and Homestead. The tracks should be similar to tonight and we feel now that we have a good, consistent car heading into those races.
* The 25 point differential between 1st and 2nd place is the fourth closest in IndyCar Series history with two races remaining. Four points separated Dixon and Franchitti in 2007, Hornish led Castroneves by seven in 2006, Castroneves led Dixon by 12 in 2007 and Castroneves led de Ferran by 1 point in 2002 with two races remaining on the schedule.
* The 33 point differential between 1st and 3rd place is the fourth closest in IndyCar Series history with two races remaining. In 2006 Hornish led 3rd place Wheldon by 24 points, Castroneves led Kanaan by 14 points in 2003 and Castroneves led Hornish by 8 points in 2002 with two races remaining.
* The top three drivers in points are the only drivers still mathematically eligible for the 2009 IndyCar Series championship with two races remaining.
* The driver leading the championship point race with two races remaining went on to win the title five times since 2001:
The 2009 IndyCar Series season continues Sept. 19 with the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 10:30 p.m. (EDT) Sept. 18 by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The radio broadcast also will be carried on www.indycar.com.