INDYCAR SERIES Honda Indy 200 at Mid-OhioFinal
Briscoe wins Honda Indy 200Jul 20, 2008 - 9:51 PM LEXINGTON, Ohio (Ticker) -- By finally catching a break, Ryan Briscoe contributed to a successful day for Penske Racing.
Briscoe won Sunday's IndyCar Series Honda Indy 200 in a dominant performance at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, finishing ahead of Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves.
It was Penske's eighth 1-2 finish and its first since March 19, 2005, when Castroneves was the runner-up to Sam Hornish Jr. at Phoenix.
"What a weekend for Team Penske," said Briscoe, who captured his second career checkered flag. "It just feels so good to get this win."
Since recording his first victory on June 1 at Milwaukee, Briscoe had experienced some tough luck over the last two months. The Australian finished 12th after starting from the pole two weeks ago at Watkins Glen, where a mid-race crash took out the front of the field.
Briscoe followed that up with an early exit last week at Nashville, where he dropped out of the race after just three laps due to mechanical failure.
But Briscoe and Team Penske benefited from a rain storm that soaked the 2.258-mile road course and delayed the start of the race.
The majority of the 26-car field started the race with rain tires - or "slicks" - while Team Penske waited six laps before having Briscoe, who had fallen from second to 16th, pit for tires.
Briscoe pitted again on lap 55, changing over to his regular tires. The strategy ultimately paid off, as Briscoe's fresher tires helped produce the best performance of the 26-year-old's career.
"There was one point where we fell back in the pack, staying out a bit too long on the (rain tires)," Briscoe said. "I was thinking to myself, 'I know it can be done. I know with Roger (team owner Roger Penske) calling my strategy, we'll get up the front. If we win this, it's going to be awesome.' And here we are."
Briscoe led for 43 of the race's 85 laps, avoiding several wrecks that took out the middle of the field. He took the lead for good on lap 60, five laps after his last pit stop.
"Roger, with his experience, he always finds a way to pit at the right time and get you back up the front," Briscoe said. "Today was a perfect case of that. So once we got back up there, we had the pace to run fast and pull away."
Castroneves started from the pole and secured his 10th top-five finish in 12 races this season. The Brazilian has not won a race yet this season despite amassing five runner-up finishes.
"Ryan drove a heck of a race," Castroneves said. "I was just trying to do everything I could, and unfortunately I got held up in traffic. We just didn't have enough."
Series points leader Scott Dixon ran third, his 10th top-10 finish. The reigning Indianapolis 500 winner owns a 58-point lead over Castroneves atop the standings.
"Everything was really crazy today," Dixon said. "We didn't get into any rhythm. It's frustrating, but we only lost maybe five points in the championship."
Will Power finished fourth while Oriol Servia placed fifth. Vitor Meira, who led for 21 laps early in the race, ran sixth while Danica Patrick struggled to a 12th-place finish.