Alexa

Ryan Briscoe wins Indy 300

Ryan Briscoe wins Indy 300

Ryan Briscoe won the Indy 300 on Sunday, taking the lead when fellow Australian and pole sitter Will Power crashed out on the 17th lap.
Team Penske's Briscoe finished the 60-lap race on the 4.5-kilometer (2.8-mile), 14-turn temporary street circuit, becoming the first Australian driver to win it.
He was .5019 seconds ahead of Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon of New Zealand. American Ryan Hunter-Reay was third.
It was the third year in a row that Team Australia's Power, who is from the nearby Queensland state city of Toowoomba, won the pole but failed to finish the race. He clipped the wall, damaging his suspension, then hit the next concrete barrier and was out of the race.
Only three pole-sitters have won in the 18-year history of the Australian race _ Nigel Mansell in 1993, Jimmy Vasser in 1996 and Dario Franchitti in 1999.
Alex Tagliani of Canada, who is attempting to cement a place with Conquest Racing after two races with the team, was fourth, followed by Oriol Servia.
Briscoe, who celebrated by doing a series of doughnuts on the track during the warmdown lap, saw his near two-second lead over Dixon slip to as low as .7 seconds with a few laps left as he attempted to conserve fuel.
"I was getting pressured there at the end with Scott and low fuel," Briscoe said. "I really feel bad for Will Power. He had a real fast car."
Power took a 2.9-second lead over Dixon and Briscoe after the first lap, but Briscoe, who started in the second row, chipped away at the lead until a yellow flag on the seventh lap bunched the field.
After the green flag went up on the 11th lap, Power took a 2.27-second lead that Briscoe whittled down to 1.89 two laps later. Briscoe was narrowing the gap, reducing the lead to 1.64, 1.43, and 1.30 seconds on subsequent laps before Power hit the wall on Turn 6 on the oceanside back stretch.
While Power heavily criticized Sebastien Bourdais for taking him out of the race in 2006, and he made contact last year with Katherine Legge, this year he had only himself to blame, with no other car causing the accident.
With his suspension gone, he hit the next wall and then drove the damaged car to the back of a tire barrier, where it stayed until the race ended.
"It's a big disappointment, the worst mistake of my career," said Power, who appeared to be close to tears in the pits.
Danica Patrick stalled after trying to avoid an accident, and looked extremely agitated while gesturing to nearby track officials in the jump truck to get her engine started.
Patrick, who had a tough time qualifying and started at the back of the grid Sunday, finished 18th.
Despite some predictions of a major accident on the first-turn chicane involving the field of 24 _ the largest here since 2001 _ all but two of the drivers made it through without incident.
Mario Moraes was swiveled around after contact with fellow Brazilian Victor Meira _ they started side-by-side on the sixth row of the grid _ but both stayed in the race.
That was short-lived for Moraes _ he clipped the wall six laps later, putting him out of the race and causing the first full-course caution.
This Surfers Paradise race was the first under the Indy Racing League banner, and was a non-points event. The IRL and Champ Car World Series, which formerly staged the Surfers Paradise event, unified in February.
Due to a scheduling conflict, the race is not on the IRL schedule for 2009, although talks are continuing in an effort to have it reinstated.
"I hope we're back here next year," Briscoe said in the pits after the race.