Rookie Ryan Briscoe Delivers Team Target Top Ten Indy 500 Finish Indianapolis, IN- Sunday, May 29th, 2005-- Although 2003 IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon and teammate Darren Manning day's were cut short in a 10-lap span just after the ...
Rookie Ryan Briscoe Delivers Team Target Top Ten Indy 500 Finish
Indianapolis, IN- Sunday, May 29th, 2005-- Although 2003 IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon and teammate Darren Manning day's were cut short in a 10-lap span just after the 100-lap mark, Team Target's rookie sensation Ryan Briscoe was able to record a top-10 finish in his maiden voyage today in the 89th running of the fabled Indianapolis 500-mile Race.
The Toyota-powered Chip Ganassi Racing machines of Dixon and Briscoe led the three-car Target charge through the early goings of the 200-lap contest, and had positioned themselves safely in the top-20 by Lap 21. However, Manning's day got off to a rather sluggish start as the pilot of the #10 Target Toyota had to pit on just Lap 13 for rear wing adjustments to settle down a car that was becoming increasingly loose with every tour of the 2.5-mile Brickyard. After five pit stops and a stint behind the wall, the #10 crew were forced to make "The Call" on Lap 82 and retired due to handling issues.
"I'm pretty disappointed we weren't a factor in this race," said Manning, who finished a disappointing 29th in his second Indianapolis 500 start. "The rear of the car was just so unstable I found myself sideways a few times. We made some adjustment that helped somewhat on new tires, but as soon as they went away, the car felt unmanageable. You have to give this Target team credit though. They never gave up trying. We took the car into the garage to try to fix the problem and got back out there because you never know what can happen and the points could make a difference at the end of the year. The team got me back out there but it just masked the issue and we didn't think it prudent to continue."
Dixon charged on and managed to drive his way up through the field to as high as 10th position by Lap 94, but when Richie Hearn spared him no quarter as the two sped for the apex of Turn 1, the Kiwi was the victim of contact which resulted in a wild rear-first ride into the Safer Barrier.
"There was a bit of a mess in front of us and I don't think Hearn knew I was there at all and just dipped down leaving me nowhere to go," said Dixon, who is credited with a 24th place finish in his third Indianapolis 500 start. "I'm especially disappointed for this Target team because they really put a lot of effort in every day and the car was really good and had the potential to finish really strongly."
Briscoe motored on with the Target Chip Ganassi Racing banner firmly in hand, consistently hitting his marks and avoiding incidents which slowed the event on six separate occasions. His crew performed flawlessly for a half-dozen trips down pit lane, propelling the Australian rookie up to 12th with 25 laps remaining in the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing". Leading the contingent of cars scored one-lap down Briscoe pressed on, turning laps times comparable to those of the frontrunners. When the final caution period concluded the event, he crossed the historic stripe of bricks in front of a capacity crowd with a 10th place result.
"I came into this race wanting to get to the finish line, aiming for a top 10 finish and that's exactly what we did, so I can say I am really happy with today's outcome to top off what has been an unbelievable experience for me," said Briscoe of his first experience at the Indianapolis 500 and his first 10 ten finish in the IndyCar Series. "At first I struggled a little with the first set of tires but by the second stint on new ones with adjusted pressures, the Target Toyota car was unbelievable and we were right there racing with the leaders. Early in the race, we were just one car back from getting our lap back. (Sam) Hornish just got in front of us and put us a lap back for the whole race. It was unlucky, and our speed today could have had us on the lead lap. We just couldn't get that one lap back as we were just so unlucky with those caution flags. The Target team prepared me so well for my first 500 and the #33 Target crew did an awesome job today. This Indianapolis track is everything they told me it was and the fans made it even more enjoyable today. It was an unbelievable experience from day one and I can't wait to do it again next year."
Dan Wheldon passed Danica Patrick with just six laps to the checkered flag and held on for the victory, giving Andretti Green Racing its first win in the May Classic." Vitor Meira was second, Wheldon's teammate Bryan Herta third and Patrick fourth.
The Target team now heads to Texas Motor Speedway June 11th (8:30 p.m. EDT, ESPN) for the always entertaining Bombardier Learjet 500 under the lights for a 200-lap event Saturday night in the Lonestar State.
Throughout the 2005 season, fans are invited to follow the team's progress by logging onto their official website at targetracing.com for news, features, photos and much more.