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Winning the point for Briscoe in Indy 300

Winning the point for Briscoe in Indy 300

The Indy 300 was a late-season afterthought following the unification of the Indy Racing League and the Champ Car open-wheel series in February.
The IRL season was already scheduled to end in Chicago in the first week of September, meaning the popular Gold Coast event that had been held since 1991 on the rival Champ circuit seven weeks later was declared a non-points race.
Not as far as Ryan Briscoe was concerned.
"It means almost a million points to me, to win my home race," Briscoe said Sunday after becoming the first Australian to win on the Surfers Paradise street course.
His win was aided by a huge mistake by another Australian driver, Will Power, who despite leading most of the practice sessions and taking pole position into the race for the third consecutive year, failed to finish for the third straight time.
Briscoe took the lead when Power crashed into the wall on the 17th lap, giving Team Penske its first win since 1992 Down Under _ Emerson Fittipaldi was the winner back then.
"It doesn't get any better than this," Briscoe said. "What a way to cap off the year."
Power, meanwhile, was close to tears in the pits.
"It's a big disappointment, the worst mistake of my career," Power said. "It's motorsports, but I just can't win at this place. I had such a quick car this weekend ... it was just a bad display."
Briscoe finished .5019 seconds ahead of Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon of New Zealand on the 2.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit. American Ryan Hunter-Reay was third.
"It was definitely special to win here," said Briscoe. "I was getting pressured there at the end with Scott and low fuel. I really feel bad for Will Power. He had a real fast car."
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.
It was Briscoe's third win of the year, having won previously on the Milwaukee Mile oval and the Mid-Ohio road course.
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.
Dixon thought he had a chance to catch Briscoe over the final 10 laps.
"The traffic at the end made it exciting," Dixon said. "We were quicker in different spots. If he had made a mistake, we could have got him."
Hunter-Reay, who won here in 2003, has never been out of the top five at Surfers Paradise.
"It was a long day with those curbs," the American driver said. "Unfortunately, I got held up by (Alex) Tagliani for a good while ... but the guys did a great job in the pits to get us by him."
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.
Due to a scheduling conflict, the Surfers Paradise race is not on the IRL schedule for 2009, although talks are continuing in an effort to have it reinstated.


Updated : 2021-04-10 19:45 GMT+08:00