(photo courtesy IZOD IndyCar Series)
On a hot summer Dallas/Ft. Worth Saturday night Ryan Briscoe and Danica Patrick acted like paramedics and breathed life back into their 2010 season. Briscoe had a bad qualifying session at Indianapolis and pounded the turn 4 wall at Indy less that a week ago. However, he passed Danica Partrick on lap 193 to resume the lead and ultimately took home the victory Saturday night at the Texas Motor Speedway in the IndyCar Firestone 550k race.
Briscoe began the season’s first night race seventh in the standings, 72 points behind Team Penske teammate Will Power. However, Briscoe exited Texas fifth, 38 points behind new leader Dario Franchitti, the two-time and reigning Indy 500 champion from Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
“Yeah, this is a huge win,” Briscoe reiterated after notching his first victory in four starts on TMS’ 1.5-mile quadoval, and sixth of his IndyCar career. “I mean, not just the prestige of winning such a marquee event here in Texas. You know, just to get the championship rolling for the No. 6 car. It’s been a rough start. My two teammates (Will Power and Helio Castroneves) have won races this year. It’s a great feeling to join them.”
Briscoe rebounded from his season-worst 24th-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a dominant run highlighted by a race-high 102 laps-led. Briscoe’s Indy 500 ended on Lap 147 when his Dallara/Honda got caught up in tire marbles and whacked the Turn 4 wall shortly after a pit stop.
Nevertheless, Patrick certainly made him earn Saturday night’s victory, much to the delight of an estimated crowd of 76,000 fans. Working off the momentum generated by her sixth-place finish at Indy, Patrick raced at the front most of the night after qualifying a so-so eighth. It easily was Patrick’s strongest all-around performance since her only series victory to-date at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan in April 2008.
Patrick, who roundly criticized her Andretti Autosport crew after qualifying a disappointing 23rd at IMS, praised the effort here led by strategist Ziggy Harcus. The boos she heard after qualifying at Indy were replaced by a NASCAR-style Dale Earnhardt Jr. cheer when she took the lead.
Rounding out the top ten for the race was Marco Andretti, Patrick’s teammate, finished third for the second consecutive race. Scott Dixon, winner here in June 2008, was fourth and followed across by Target teammate Franchitti. Andretti Autosport’s Tony Kanaan and Ryan Hunter-Reay, the latter possibly competing for the last time because of lack of sponsorship funding, finished sixth and seventh, respectively. Rookie Alex Lloyd placed eighth, his second consecutive top-10 result for Dale Coyne Racing, followed by Dan Wheldon of Panther Racing and Vitor Meira of A.J. Foyt Racing.
So as the dust settles and the heat cranks up to triple digits in Dallas/Ft. Worth, the IndyCar Series leaves town after promising and delivering a very exciting Saturday night show for the fans!
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!