Briscoe given medical clearance to return National Guard Panther Racing driver Ryan Briscoe has been cleared to drive after surgery to his right wrist following an accident in Toronto and is scheduled to make his return to the No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet during this weekend’s GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. Briscoe is the defending race winner at Sonoma Raceway and has collected five-straight Top Five finishes at the 11-turn, 2.385-mile permanent road course, including four podium finishes. He wore a carbon fiber wrist brace during a full-day test in the No. 4 car last week to ensure he was ready to compete in this weekend’s 85-lap event.
“I’m obviously very happy to be back with the team and in the National Guard car,” Briscoe said. “My wrist held up pretty good during the test, although the (wrist) brace was a bit of a nuisance. But we made good progress during the test and worked through our program really well. I was pleased with our pace and definitely looking forward to coming back next week to find more speed.”
Briscoe has made a total of seven career IndyCar starts at Sonoma, where he has one win (2012), one pole position (2005), four podiums and five Top Five finishes. He has led four difference races at Sonoma Raceway for a total of 66 laps and has started on the front row on four separate occasions.
“We knew Ryan was a tough guy and would bounce back from his wrist surgery quickly,” Panther owner John Barnes said. “He looked great at the test we had last week and you don’t have to do much research to see how well he’s done historically at Sonoma Raceway. Thankfully we’ve got even more time to work on the National Guard car in practice and we’re all really excited to have him back in the seat this weekend.”
Briscoe has been alternating with Spaniard Oriol Servia behind the wheel of the National Guard entry since the team made a driver change following the Indianapolis 500. This Sunday’s event would mark his sixth start with the team after previously appearing in Detroit, Milwaukee, Pocono and the first race of the Toronto doubleheader weekend. Following Briscoe’s wrist injury rookie driver Carlos Munoz joined the team as a one-race replacement for the final race in Toronto.
Sunday’s race in Sonoma will mark Briscoe’s last opportunity to race with the team this season, as the 31-year-old has scheduling conflicts due to his ALMS commitments for the remaining four races on the IndyCar Series schedule. Panther will announce its replacement driver for those final events following the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma.
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