Briscoe returns to Milwaukee
Ryan Briscoe expected a breakout IndyCar Series season with the full-time move to Team Penske in 2008.
Initially, the breaks didn't go his way. No top-five finishes in the first five races despite three top-five starts, including a front-row perch for the 92nd Indianapolis 500. That might have been the most difficult to swallow -- 23rd place after a pit lane incident involving Danica Patrick's car (and her subsequent brief march toward Briscoe's pit stall that was a YouTube sensation).
A week later, though, Briscoe's fortunes changed at The Milwaukee Mile in the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225. Starting 11th in the No. 6 Team Penske car, he persevered through 225 laps on the crowded oval to earn his first IndyCar Series victory and the 300th in motorsports for team owner Roger Penske.
Post-Milwaukee, Briscoe earned eight top-10 finishes (including a victory at Mid-Ohio) in 11 races and three pole starts. He finished fifth in the championship standings. Briscoe also won the non-points race at on the streets of Surfers Paradise, Australia, in October - claiming the cycle of winning on an oval, permanent road course and temporary street circuit.
"I can pretty much say my season began in Milwaukee last year," said Briscoe, who has continued to post impressive results this season. "Everything prior to that, I just kept running into trouble, just couldn't have a thing go right for me. But after Milwaukee, things really turned around for me.
"We were able to get a couple more wins and move myself up from, I don't know what I was before Milwaukee, 18th or 19th in the standings, and worked my way up to fifth in the standings. So it was great.
"Milwaukee had been a very tough track for me in the past. To come back with Penske and get that win was just so special."
Briscoe, a preseason series title contender, kicked off '09 with a victory on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., and a fourth place at Kansas Speedway. After starting in the middle of the front row and leading his first laps at Indianapolis on May 24, he settled for 15th place.
Briscoe is third in the standings, eight points behind leader Dario Franchitti, heading to Milwaukee.
"I was surprised my first win in the IndyCar Series came on an oval," Briscoe said. "It was definitely the turning point in my season last year and I'm excited to go back."