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Briscoe powers to victory in Australia

Oct 26, 2008 - 4:47 AM GOLD COAST, Australia (Ticker) -- One native's misfortune proved to be another's fortune in the Nikon Indy 300 on Sunday.

Sydney's Ryan Briscoe took the lead after hometown hero Will Power crashed early in the race and went on to win the event. Briscoe became the first Australian to win on the Gold Coast.

"I knew I just had to keep it off the wall," Briscoe said. "I had a strong car. It was a great day."

A non-points event, the race seemed to be ticketed as as celebration for Power, who easily captured the pole. However, he crashed while on the lead on the 18th lap. Briscoe, driving for Team Penske, took over and was in control for the majority of the remaining 60 laps.

"I just clipped the inside wall," the Toowoomba native Power said. "I made a very bad mistake."

Briscoe held off Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi by a half-second. Ryan Hunter-Reay, of Rahal Letterman Racing, finished third, 9.1 seconds back.

Danica Patrick pitched a fit in her car when trying to pass a three-car accident on Lap 22. She was visibly upset, gesturing angrily with both her hands as her car stalled and she sat unable to move as the accident was cleared. Once her car refired, she never contended, losing a lap and finishing 18th.

Briscoe remained in the lead when the race restarted on Lap 25 with Dixon in second place. The two raced that way throughout most of the rest of the race.

Dario Franchitti making his return to IRL spun the Target Ganassi car on Lap 29, falling a lap off the pace.

The 7-11 machine of Tony Kanaan went out of the race shortly after the midway point with suspension problems. Kanaan was running in the top five at the time of his exit.

"It's a shame, I didn't hit anything," Kanaan said. "It must have been just stress on the part."

The race, which ended the Indy Car season, was contested over the 2.795-mile Surfers Paradise course.

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