Briscoe, crew continue Penske dominance of IZOD Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge
Team Penske extended its supremacy over the IZOD Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge when Ryan Briscoe won the title for the first time in his career Friday, May 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Penske team earned a record 13th victory in the annual contest, and Penske has won the competition in the last six years it has been contested, as it was rained out in 2008. Helio Castroneves, the winner of the last four Pit Stop Challenges, was eliminated in the first round Friday by Ryan Hunter-Reay.
"This win means a lot," said Briscoe's crew chief, Matt Jonsson. "It adds confidence for Sunday, of course, and we're planning on doing the same thing on Sunday and trying to move up through the field. We win as a team and lose as a team, and that's our job on Sunday, to try to move up the field.
"Ryan came in on a consistent speed, stopped right on his marks. That's key for us. We don't have to adjust; we just do the same thing every time. If everyone stays calm and collected, that's the way it turns out to be: consistent."
Briscoe and his crew were dominant throughout their three rounds of competition, completing each simulated pit stop in less than eight seconds.
After a bye in the first round, Briscoe won his quarterfinal match against Justin Wilson and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in 7.788 seconds, and defeated Tony Kanaan and KV Racing Technology - Lotus in the semifinals with a stop of 7.568 seconds. In the final, Briscoe and Team Penske dominated Dario Franchitti and Target Chip Ganassi Racing by changing four tires and simulating a fuel stop in 7.882 seconds to Franchitti's time of 8.481 seconds.
Team Penske and Briscoe earned $50,000. Franchitti and Target Chip Ganassi Racing earned $15,000.
"I think what you saw now is a taste of what these guys are going to be doing for me in the race, and it's so important," Briscoe said. "I put so much pride in their pit stops, and I'm just lucky to have the best guys in pit lane. Helio (Castroneves) has definitely been the favorite over the past few years, but I've got this guy (crew chief Matt Jonsson) and I was never looking at who was beside me.
"We were really consistent, and after the first one we just wanted to keep repeating. They did it all. The Penske pride in the competition goes back a ways, so we don't want to show up here and not be in the competition."