IRL: Richmond: Panoz Friday report

Ryan Briscoe Third with Panoz in Richmond Qualifying RICHMOND - Rookie Ryan Briscoe showed the value of last Friday's Toyota engine test date here after earning the third starting position for tomorrow night's SunTrust Indy Challenge on the ...

Ryan Briscoe Third with Panoz in Richmond Qualifying

RICHMOND - Rookie Ryan Briscoe showed the value of last Friday's Toyota engine test date here after earning the third starting position for tomorrow night's SunTrust Indy Challenge on the 3/4-mile Richmond International Raceway oval.

The Australian lapped the tough bowl at 174.656mph in the #33 Target/Pioneer Panoz/Toyota/Firestone IndyCar on his first lap, unable to take a second lap after joining the majority of the 22-car field in stepping out of the qualifying line.

With the USAC sprint cars racing on the Richmond oval, there had been some question about tire compatibility but, when Danica Patrick pronounced the surface adequate for qualifying, a stampede for time trials ensued.

In taking his best qualifying effort thus far in his seventh IndyCar Series race of a 17-event campaign Briscoe reflected, "It's going to be a tough race tomorrow night and really hard work, but with the Panoz working well I hope to have a good result. This is our best qualifying position this year and it's good for the whole team to get some good results.

"Richmond is exciting," Briscoe grinned. "It's really, really busy here for the driver, making set-up of our Panoz so important. I'm enjoying it. When your car is working well, it's the kind of track you can enjoy. So far, it's pretty good," he demurred.

Squadmate Darren Manning lines up in tenth position with his #10 Target Panoz/Toyota. The Brit called the quick pace of qualifying "a testament to all the teams. It's just so competitive this year. I love this lace and think it is one of every driver's favorite tracks on the IRL circuit."

Panoz designer Nicholas Alcock was pleased with Briscoe's result. "Ryan has been strong since he unloaded and he had a good test here last week. I think the team knew their Panoz was strong at that time and they are certainly on a roll from the test earlier this week at Watkins Glen International (where Briscoe was fastest). I think they knew they'd be on pace.

The SunTrust Indy Challenge is the second consecutive night race for the Indy cars and takes the green flags Saturday evening at 7:45PM EDT. The 250-lap contest airs live on ESPN2.

-panoz/emt-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Ryan Briscoe , Danica Patrick