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After Fontana
Final Driver Standings

Rank Driver Points
1 Will Power 671
2 Helio Castroneves 609
3 Scott Dixon 604
4 Juan Pablo Montoya 586
5 Simon Pagenaud 565
6 Ryan Hunter-Reay 563
7 Tony Kanaan 544
8 Carlos Munoz 483
9 Marco Andretti 463
10 Sebastien Bourdais 461
11 Ryan Briscoe 461
12 James Hinchcliffe 456
13 Josef Newgarden 406
14 Charlie Kimball 402
15 Justin Wilson 395
16 Mikhail Aleshin 372
17 Jack Hawksworth 366
18 Takuma Sato 350
19 Graham Rahal 345
20 Carlos Huertas 314
21 Sebastian Saavedra 291
22 Ed Carpenter 262
23 Mike Conway 252
24 Oriol Servia 88
25 Kurt Busch 80
26 J.R. Hildebrand 66
27 Sage Karam 57
28 Luca Filippi 46
29 James Davison 34
30 Jacques Villeneuve 29
31 Alex Tagliani 28
32 Townsend Bell 22
33 Pippa Mann 21
34 Martin Plowman 18
35 Buddy Lazier 11
36 Franck Montagny 8
Briscoe nips Carpenter at Kentucky

by Mark J. Cipolloni
Saturday, August 01, 2009

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Ryan Briscoe nips Carpenter at the line
Ron McQueeney/IRL
Penske Racing's Ryan Briscoe used the high line to just beat Vision Racing's Ed Carpenter in a side-by-side Indy Car finish at Kentucky Speedway Saturday night.  For most of the race Briscoe ran neck and neck with Scott Dixon, but Dixon faded to 7th at the finish and it was Carpenter, who was looking for the first win for both he and his team owner Tony George, that took up the charge. 

But it was not to be as Carpenter would lead out of turn 2 and the backstraight but Briscoe would get him at the S/F each and every lap.  At the flag the margin was just 0.0162 sec. - about a nose.

Tony Kanaan was 3rd and Helio Castroneves 4th.  Graham Rahal rounded out the top-5.

With the help of four flawless pit stops by his Menards pit crew, Carpenter took the lead for the first time in the race on lap 137 and held it for 34 laps. Carpenter and Briscoe battled it out side by-side for the remaining 9 laps with Briscoe edging the no.20 Menards car by just fractions of a second each time they got to the scoring line. With both competitors leaning on their push-to-pass buttons on the white flag lap, the fans were treated to a breathtaking finish.

The second place result is not only a career-best IndyCar Series finish for Carpenter, but matches the team's best finish of second scored by Ryan Hunter-Reay in the team's No. 21 entry on the Streets of St. Petersburg in the 2009 season opener. It is however, the team's highest oval finish and adds to their previous best run here of third, scored by A.J. Foyt IV in 2007. This is Carpenter's first career IndyCar podium finish.

Finally a good oval race for the Indy Cars. If they keep that up they can start to improve their oval attendance and ratings. Its good to see a smaller team in there too.

Ed Carpenter could have won the race if he moved Briscoe up the track just a little bit more.

However, Ed played it a little bit too clean. He had plenty of opportunity to take his line and move Briscoe up the track just a little bit.

Ryan Briscoe celebrates
Ron McQueeney/IRL
Briscoe said that is what he was doing, but Carpenter's line was pretty consistent.

Still a nice drive on everyone's part. Everyone drove really clean and there was a lot of passing and good racing out there. That's what the IRL on-track product needs to be and the recent rules change and Honda's push-to-pass appears to have helped.

It was the second victory of the season for Briscoe in the No. 6 Team Penske car. He's also the new championship points leader by eight over Scott Dixon, who finished seventh, and by 11 over Dario Franchitti (sixth place).

Carpenter posted his best finish in seven IndyCar Series seasons and the best on an oval in the five-year history of Vision Racing.

The final margin of victory was 0.0162 of a second, the 11th-closest finish in series history. Briscoe's average speed of 200.893 mph was the second-fastest race in series history.

QUOTES:

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, winner Meijer Indy 300 presented by Red Baron and Edy's): "Now I know how Sam Hornish Jr., used to feel when he would win all of those races on the outside. I'm pretty happy to get another one for Team Penske. I just wanted to keep doing what I had been doing. Ed (Carpenter) would get a little bit in front of me in the middle of Turns 3 and 4 but with my momentum on the outside I was able to edge him down the backstraight. I would time my push to pass button so I would get the extra power through Turns 3 and 4. It was getting tougher and tougher, and I was just jumping in my seat trying to get in front of him across the finish line. It just worked out perfectly."

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing, finished second): "I passed 3 or 4 cars on the start so I had a good idea I had a good car. It was fun running on a mile and a half oval next to a Penske car and run side by side for that many laps at the end of the race. I was trying to run Ryan (Briscoe) as high as I could to make him run the long way around and keep him from getting a run but just had to race him clean and he raced me clean. I have to be happy with second. It's a career best for me but it hurts being that close to a win. It doesn't come around often enough. I was hitting the overtake button as often as I could on that last lap. I knew it was going to be close at the line. He was beating me to the line almost every time on those last few laps. I kept trying different things to try to get an edge and do anything but crash. It was nice to have him race me so clean since he wasn't used to racing side by side with the Menards car for the lead. The Vision crew guys gave me some awesome pitstops and they were as perfect as they could be. Those guys should be very proud of the job they did tonight. I have to thank Tony and my mom and all of our sponsors, Menards, John Mansville, Lilly, William Rast for their support. It's been a tough year for the Vision team and this is a good result to help turn things around for the rest of the season but we were just one spot off from making it that much better. This is great for moral."

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven, finished third): "It was a good one, it was a helluva race. It was pretty much raced clean. The people came here to see a photo finish and we did it. I got to thank the (Indy Racing) League, Brian Barnhart and all the officials and the guys that came up with this package, and for the push to pass, and Firestone did a great job to. I can still hear the fans, so I want to thank them for coming. The old IRL is back. We'll have some exciting races on the superspeedways again." 

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, finished fourth): "Unbelievable. I have to say, great package. That push to pass, at the beginning we didn't really feel anything but then all of the sudden, man! It was incredible. I got a little greedy towards the end, tried to help my teammate so we could do a 1-2 finish and man, I went way high and then I started coming back again and it was awesome, awesome. I had a lot of fun." (You weren't trying to get around Briscoe, you were just going to push him to the win?): "I was just pushing him so he could be over Ed and then I would be on the outside and it would be a fantastic finish. I still had, push to pass, quite a lot left." (When you came off the push to pass, could you really feel it, slowing down?): "No, they (Honda) did quite a good job. It was like a degradation, very slow. It worked really well, I think everyone liked it." (The people that paid money tonight certainly liked it): "It was fun. It was a great race. It's a shame we couldn't be 1-2 but I'm really happy for Ryan."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 02 McDonald's Racing Team, finished fifth):  "I just don't think that oval racing can get any more exciting than that. The McDonald's car was really good tonight. And if people aren't impressed with that race I don't know what will impress them. Chicago will be better because you can run three wide but the amount that we ran three wide in the last two stints of this race I think I passed more guys - both ways, forward and back - than I have in my whole oval racing career so I think that says a lot. The cars were very comfortable to run side by side so I think they've done a very good job with the technical changes. People can say what they want about Push to Pass but I was on it the last 10 laps and I came from a second back of those guys to get past the Ganassi guys so I would have to say that it works somewhat. They were dicing it out up front but certainly the McDonald's car was very good tonight and when we were on the button we were catching up so it works."

TONY GEORGE (Co-owner, Vision Racing): "Great race. It's a little frustrating. It was still a little bit of a fuel race, but that last round let everybody go race and that's what it's all about." (Obviously there was strategy involved in using push to pass as well): "We used it all. We used it all on the last couple of laps and that's what it's there for. No need to leave it on the table. I'm happy for the team. They've worked hard for five years now. But, we've got a lot of work to do to do this consistently."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, finished sixth): "It wasn't a good day for the target cars. Scott (Dixon) was very strong to start with. He ended up behind us. Both of us, I wasn't quick all day. We worked on the car. The guys did a good job on the adjustments, but we were just never fast. Got pushed up in the grid a couple of times, which cost us a couple of spots. Not a good day for the Target team."

DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Boost Mobile/Motorola): "I really thought the Boost car was capable of a stronger finish, but I will take a top 10. We were fighting understeer most of the night. I kept asking for more grip, but in the end, it wasn't the best call on my end. We got caught in some lap traffic, so we decided to take fuel only on the last stop to see if we could take advantage of the time and try to get around Graham (Rahal) but we just didn't have the speed we needed."

WILL POWER (No 12 Penske Truck Rental): "It was a good night for the Penske Truck Rental team. We certainly passed a lot of people on track tonight. We took a gamble with the rain when we stayed out under the yellow flag, and it was worthwhile because we're not fighting for the championship. It was good to lead some laps and we feel pretty good about a ninth-place finish. It would've been better to be top-five, but we started pretty far back and worked hard to get to where we finished."

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Meijer): "It was a disappointing finish for the Meijer boys tonight. We took a chance on the amount of downforce we put into the car and it turned out that we didn't have enough. I had my hands full with the car all night and just couldn't get the grip needed to stay up front. We're back on a road course in Ohio next weekend, and hopefully, we'll find better results for the No. 26 car."

WILL POWER (No 12 Penske Truck Rental): "It was a good night for the Penske Truck Rental team. We certainly passed a lot of people on track tonight. We took a gamble with the rain when we stayed out under the yellow flag, and it was worthwhile because we're not fighting for the championship. It was good to lead some laps and we feel pretty good about a ninth-place finish. It would've been better to be top-five, but we started pretty far back and worked hard to get to where we finished."

Results

Pos

Driver Start Pos Diff Gap Pit Stops Status
1 Ryan Briscoe (6) 3 --.---- --.---- 4 Running
2 Ed Carpenter (20) 14 0.0162 0.0162 4 Running
3 Tony Kanaan (11) 9 0.1614 0.1452 4 Running
4 Helio Castroneves (3) 4 0.2728 0.1114 4 Running
5 Graham Rahal (02) 10 0.6346 0.3618 4 Running
6 Dario Franchitti (10) 2 1.7670 1.1324 4 Running
7 Scott Dixon (9) 1 3.2512 1.4842 4 Running
8 Danica Patrick (7) 5 4.7231 1.4719 4 Running
9 Will Power (12) 20 6.1424 1.4193 3 Running
10 Marco Andretti (26) 6 6.9963 0.8539 4 Running
11 Dan Wheldon (4) 7 12.7597 5.7634 4 Running
12 Sarah Fisher (67) 22 15.9732 3.2135 3 Running
13 Hideki Mutoh (27) 11 27.9705 11.9973 3 Running
14 Ryan Hunter-Reay (14) 17 3 laps 3 laps 4 Running
15 EJ Viso (13) 18 2.7072 2.7072 5 Running
16 Raphael Matos (2) 13 4 laps 1 lap 5 Running
17 Mike Conway (24) 19 8 laps 4 laps 4 Running
18 Mario Moraes (5) 16 12 laps 4 laps 3 Running
19 Robert Doornbos (06) 12 15 laps 3 laps 3 Running
20 Milka Duno (23) 15 35 laps 20 laps 3 Running
21 Justin Wilson (18) 8 80 laps 45 laps 3 Mechanical
22 Tomas Scheckter (43) 23 141 laps 61 laps 1 Mechanical
23 Jaques Lazier (98) 21 157 laps 16 laps 0 Mechanical

Race Statistics

      Winner's average speed: 200.893 mph

      Time of race: 1:28:24.3246

      Margin of victory: 0.0162 of a second

      Cautions: 1 caution flags for 6 laps

      Lead changes: 20 among 7 drivers

      Lap leaders: Dixon 1-48, Briscoe 49-50, Dixon 51-96,

Briscoe 97-98, Dixon 99, Briscoe 100-104, Castroneves 105-106 Briscoe 107-123, Power 124-136, Carpenter 137, Power 138-141, Carpenter 142, Power 143, Carpenter 144, Power 145-155, Carpenter 156-174, Kanaan 175, Briscoe 176-177, Patrick 178-179 Carpenter 180-191, Briscoe 192-200.

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