Briscoe wins at Sonoma, Power widens points lead|
Sonoma, CA (Sports Network) - Ryan Briscoe benefited from a late-race caution
and then held off teammate and current points leader Will Power during two
restarts in the closing laps to win Sunday's IZOD IndyCar Series race at
Power started on the pole and led a race-high 57 laps. Just after he pitted
for the third and final time, the first caution came for an accident involving
Sebastien Bourdais and rookie Josef Newgarden. Both drivers made contact, with
Newgarden slamming hard into the tire barrier. There were no injuries.
Briscoe, who took over the lead when Power had pitted, made his stop during
the caution and came out ahead of his Team Penske teammate.
"I didn't know where (Power) was, but I just knew that I had to keep pushing
as hard as I could, even when the (caution flag) came out," Briscoe said.
Briscoe pulled away from Power on two restarts within the final 11 laps. He
finished 0.44 seconds ahead of Power to claim his seventh career IndyCar win
and his first since June 2010 at Texas.
"I've always done so well at this track, and I got my first-ever pole position
here (in 2005), so it's great to finally get the win," Briscoe said. "Great
battle with Will at the end there."
Power had a slight issue with the changing of his right-rear tire during his
stop and then got caught up in traffic during the caution, allowing Briscoe to
"It still is a good day, but I'm just disappointed to lead so many laps and
not get the win," said Power, who started on the pole and won at Sonoma the
past two years. "Ryan deserved to win. He's a bloody good driver, and he's one
of the quickest guys in the series."
While Power ended up finishing second, the other top contenders for the series
championship struggled on this 2.31-mile, 12-turn road course in Northern
Ryan Hunter-Reay fell from five points to 36 behind Power after finishing one
lap down in 18th. Hunter-Reay spun around and stalled in a corner after he was
hit from behind by Alex Tagliani following a restart with 11 laps to go. He
was penalized for making avoidable contact with E.J. Viso shortly after.
"It's the usual Tagliani deal," a frustrated Hunter-Reay said. "He just got in
there, locked up the brakes and got into the back of me. I can't tell you how
frustrated I am after the engine problems last race (at Mid-Ohio) and then
this. I can't get over it right now. It's unreal."
Helio Castroneves from Penske finished sixth and dropped to 41 points behind
Power, while Scott Dixon, who won at Mid-Ohio, placed 13th here and fell 54
points out of the lead.
On the opening lap, Castroneves clipped Dixon and spun him around in turn
seven. Castroneves was penalized for avoidable contact. Both drivers were not
a factor in the 85-lap race after their incident.
Dario Franchitti finished third, followed by Rubens Barrichello and Graham
Rahal. Simon Pagenaud clinched this year's IndyCar rookie-of-the-year honors
with his seventh-place run. J.R. Hildebrand, Tagliani and Tony Kanaan
completed the top-10.
Just two races remain -- Baltimore (Sept. 2) and Fontana, Calif. (Sept. 15).
08/26 20:38:10 ET