Briscoe beats Patrick in Firestone 550K race
In another thrilling Texas battle that featured "pack racing" throughout the night, Briscoe first had to give way to early race leader Dario Franchitti, then battle late-race contender Danica Patrick before securing his first IndyCar Series victory of 2010. In addition, Briscoe at different times had to fend off challenges from his own Team Penske teammates - Will Power and Helio Castroneves - and from a resurgent Andretti Autosport team, including Patrick, Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
For the seventh consecutive race weekend in 2010, all 26 drivers completed the race weekend without a single failure for the Honda Indy V-8 engine. This weekend, drivers and teams logged a total of 10,828 trouble-free miles around the high-speed Texas oval. Tonight also marked Honda's 101st IndyCar Series race victory since joining the series in 2003.
Behind the lead pair, Andretti followed up his third-place finish at last week's Indianapolis 500 with another podium result tonight, his best results of 2010. While never a threat for victory, Scott Dixon posted yet another consistent, strong run to finish fourth. Teammate and Indy 500 champion Dario Franchitti led 88 laps and was very strong while out front. Handling issues in traffic during the final third of the race dropped him to a fifth-place finish, but he still takes over the championship points lead after seven of 17 events.
The IZOD IndyCar Series now takes a one-week break before resuming on Sunday, June 20, with the fourth oval-track race of the season and the only short-track on the 2010 schedule: The Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, IA.
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, winner Firestone 550K): "(On tonight's race): It was pretty crazy out there. There was also a lot of tire management too. I really had to work with the tools in the car to keep a good balance throughout the stint. That really made the race fun. (On racing Danica Patrick for the lead): Danica got by us and I didn't want to make any aggressive moves and block. I gained some momentum on the next lap, used the push-to-pass and was able to pass her out of Turn 4 and into Turn 1. She gave us a real run for our money tonight. It was fun racing side-by-side with her."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com): "It was a good weekend last weekend in Indy and it was a good weekend here in Texas. Sometimes the little victories that I have throughout the season are not necessarily obvious on the track. Maybe there in other aspects of what I'm doing, winning little victories here and there to get everything in line to perform from top to bottom on race day. I've been working hard all season. It's just really nice to have a result to show how hard I've been working and how hard the team has been working as well."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy): "It was definitely a good team effort. The Venom car was strong all night long and we really showed that. We went to the back a couple of times and just came forward. Never give up, I think that was the name of the game tonight.
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "Not a bad day for the Target team with a double top-five finish today. Our car was solid and we held our ground for the most part. Outside of that it wasn't your typical Texas race and things got strung out a bit at the end. We'll take the points and move to Iowa."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Energizer): "Great car in the front tonight, not as much in traffic. We led a bunch of laps and the Energizer car was really fast. It was a great job for Team Target. We were set up to run up front (but that didn't happen.)"
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven): "It was a good race for us. The 7-Eleven boys did a great job on the stops. Things could have been a little bit better, but I'm happy. It was crazy out there. Unfortunately, I got chopped back to 17th by my teammate and we had to work our way back through the field. I think we had a car to finish a little bit better, but that's the beauty of Texas. You can't know what is going to happen until the last lap. I had some fun, for sure."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 37 Team IZOD): "I think we had to work harder than anybody else tonight to get what we got. We went from the back to the middle to the back to the middle to the back to the top seven. Once again, we raced well in a pack. We're good in traffic, but the speed we had on our own just wasn't enough. This #37 IZOD team is extremely resilient. The guys dig deep, I dig deep; we are a great team. We could win a lot of races together. We'll just have to see what happens." (How did your thumb feel tonight?): "I forgot about it during the race. The adrenaline was running so high, I could have had a knife sticking in my arm and I wouldn't have known about it."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske): "Yeah, I was up at that front most of the night and finished out back. The Verizon car was good at front, but we struggled in traffic. Then we got out of sequence when we picked up some debris from a crashed car. We needed a yellow flag there at the end and just didn't get it."
E.J. VISO (No. 5 PDVSA - Jet Aviation- KV Racing Technology: "I want to thank the team for giving me a very good car today. I think had a top five car. Unfortunately, in the last stint, we had a problem with the handling as the car was just very loose. I almost lost it a couple of times in turn two at the end. That is why we lost some positions at the end. It was very strange and we are going do some research on the problem. Our car was fast for most of the race. We had a consistent package for the majority of the race. I'm looking forward to the Iowa race now."
MARIO MORAES (No. 32 KV Racing Technology): "I couldn't hear my spotter say anyone was on the outside. Then I got hit and started spinning. I thought I was by myself. It is a tough one for the KV Racing team. We have to get ready for Iowa now."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 LOTUS - KV Racing Technology): "It was a tough weekend. After qualifying Saturday, we made a number of changes to the car for this morning's warm-up and it was a positive move. The race started solidly. We saved our tires and fuel to stretch our first stint. It was all setting up nicely, but in the second stint, Alex Lloyd came out of the pits on cold tires. He couldn't stop and struck my car under braking, causing me to spin. That really ended my race because there was no full-course caution until the end. In all, it was a very disappointing and tough race, but it was another good learning experience for me. Next, we race in Kansas and my first oval test will be there this coming Friday. I am very excited to start my oval adventure."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 FAZZT Race Team): "The team did a fantastic job tonight and gave me a really good car so it's disappointing to not be able to capitalize on that. We had a little issue in qualifying yesterday and the guys worked on it last night and fixed the problem and you could see that we had a great car when we got out front. Once I got out front, I had a great car and the Bowers and Wilkins #77 car was absolutely amazing. We realized we had a small issue in Indianapolis and it carried over here in qualifying. But the guys worked very hard and found the problem last night and I knew that tonight when I had such a good car. But the racing is just so competitive that you just can't make it up when you start from the back. I'm so proud of the boys and so proud to show what a good car we had when we got out front. That is testament to the hard work of the team and shows the character of everyone on this team. Now, we know we have a good car so we will leave and regroup and do a better job in Iowa."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 Lotus-KV Racing Technology): "The start was quite exciting. It's a great track, especially for side-by-side racing. But soon, I started to struggle with the balance and I lifted through the corners. I was just hanging on and waiting until the first stop. The crew did a great job to get back the balance during the first pit stop. I was able to keep pace and overtake people. Going into Turn 2, there was sudden failure and I went into the wall. The impact was very gentle. It is such a shame to have it end like this."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske): "We were very lucky to be honest. At a speedway like this, you do not only rely on just your spotter. You have to have your whole line in each mirror to be sure that you are clear before you go wide. Clearly, he didn't do that. It takes experience. With only 130 laps in the race, there's still a lot to go. It's just a shame."
SIMONA de SILVESTRO (No. 78 Team Stargate Worlds/HVM): "The car was pretty loose for a couple of laps. It was pretty hard coming out of Turn 2. I was able to catch it a couple of times but this time it got away from me and I hit the wall. The car caught on fire and it wasn't really extinguishing. I feel bad for the guys because the car was pretty good, just a little loose. Now I know what a loose car is."
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