Ryan Briscoe doesn’t discount bad luck so far this season, but he is happy the weekend’s IZOD IndyCar Series race “fell into our hands” and he led the pack at the end of the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.
For Briscoe, the win was a welcomed turn of events. A total of 813 days had elapsed since he had won an IndyCar race, in July 2010 in Texas.
“A lot of those days are off-season,” Briscoe joked, adding that it is great to get a win at any time “You get into a slump, you know, you think, Man, am I ever going to get a win again?”
Heading into this weekend’s race, Briscoe’s best finish on the season was a third-place at the very same Texas track where he had won his last race. But he had reason to be hopeful at the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, a race where he had three podiums and a fourth-place finish in the previous four years.
“We always get excited when we come to this race,” said Briscoe. “For whatever reason it is, Penske cars are always strong (here).”
Briscoe said his car was “really strong” from the start. Once he switched tire compounds during the first pit stop, he noticed the handling as good and was having trouble maintaining his speed. After switching back to the original compound he had started the race on, Briscoe felt an immediate difference.
“The car was awesome,” Briscoe said. “(I) Just put my head down and held off the guys behind me for the win.”
The race winner crossed the finish line just under half a second ahead of second-place and teammate Will Power. Dario Franchitti finished third in the race.
Power heads into the final two races of the IZOD IndyCar Series with a 36-point lead over Ryan Hunter Reay and 41 points ahead of Helio Castroneves. Power’s second-place finish this weekend clinches the Mario Andretti Road Course Trophy, an award he has now won three consecutive years. IndyCar rewards the top drivers on street circuits and oval tracks. Hunter-Reay and Tony Kanaan are tied in the race for the A.J. Foyt Trophy, which goes to the best driver on oval tracks. That championship with be decided in the IndyCar season finale in California.
Two events are all that’s left on the 2012 IndyCar racing calendar. The Grand Prix of Baltimore runs Sept. 2 and the MavTV 500 closes out the season on Sept. 15 in Fontana, California.