300th win for Roger Penske Ryan Briscoe persevered through 225 laps on a crowded 1-mile oval at Milwaukee to earn his first career victory in the IndyCar Series and the 300th victory in motorsports for team owner Roger Penske.
Briscoe started 11th in the 26-car field. He doggedly made his way through the field, finally passing Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon for the lead on Lap 177.
Briscoe relinquished the lead on Lap 194 when he was the first car to cycle through a final round of green-flag pit stops. By the time everyone had made a stop, Briscoe was back in the lead for good on Lap 207. He took the checkered on Lap 225 under caution after pole sitter Marco Andretti and Ed Carpenter made contact on Lap 223 in an accident that also collected Indy 500 runner-up Vitor Meira.
“It feels so good to win, my first IndyCar (Series) win, and it feels so good to do it here in Milwaukee,” said Briscoe. “I’m really happy. Ever since Indianapolis, we had that get-together in pit lane, and it was really unfortunate. I was having a really good race and looking at a top-five (finish). We just had to put it behind us and move on to this race. It’s a long championship, and it’s just great. We were focused on this race. We knew we had a good car off of last year’s results of Helio (Castroneves) and (Sam) Hornish (Jr.). Just stayed focused in the race. It’s great to win my first race for Team Penske.”
“Really, it shows the amount of work that has been done by so many people on the team, so many good drivers, so many good pit crews, all the way back,” Penske said. “When we think about winning the first Trans-Am and Indianapolis, and you just go on and think of the drivers that have been with us. It's pretty exciting. And to see Ryan be able to race clean with the 9 car with Dixon, it's a great day.”
Dixon, who led 147 laps, finished second, while two-time defending race winner Tony Kanaan was third. Dan Wheldon was fourth and Helio Castroneves fifth.
Dixon retains the IndyCar Series points lead with a 234-206 advantage over Castroneves as the series heads to Texas Motor Speedway for the June 7 Bombardier Learjet 550k.
Also on June 1, Bobby Wilson, a native of nearby Oconomowoc, Wis., led 88 of 100 laps to win the Milwaukee 100 Firestone Indy Lights race. Wilson became the third driver to win in three seasons. It was the first victory for Team E. Jeff Simmons finished second, and Raphael Matos finished third. Richard Antinucci remains the series points leader 193-192 over Dillon Battistini after the two finished 16th and 14th, respectively.
*** Teams competing this weekend have combined for 21 Indy car wins at The Milwaukee Mile: Newman Haas Lanigan Racing - 7 (Sebastien Bourdais-2006, Michael Andretti-1996, 1992, 1991; Paul Tracy-1995, Nigel Mansell-1993, Mario Andretti-1985) Team Penske - 6 (Sam Hornish Jr.-2005, Al Unser Jr.-1994, Rick Mears-1989, 1988, 1978; Bobby Unser-1980) Andretti Green Racing - 3 (Tony Kanaan 2006-2007, Dario Franchitti-2004) Rahal Letterman Racing - 2 (Michel Jourdain Jr.-2003, Kenny Brack-2001) Target Chip Ganassi Racing - 2 (Juan Pablo Montoya-2000, Jimmy Vasser-1998) AJ Foyt Racing - 2 (A.J. Foyt-1979, 1975) HVM Racing - 1 (Ryan Hunter-Reay, 2004)
A Rahal and an Andretti have started on the front row in 13 Indy car races. The first time that Bobby Rahal started on the front row with an Andretti was July 1, 1984 at the Meadowlands. Bobby started second to Mario Andretti that day. Bobby sat on the front row with Mario on seven other occasions. Only once was Bobby on the pole and Mario second. That was at Michigan in September 1985. Bobby also sat on the front row five times with Michael Andretti. Rahal only started on the pole one of those times - at New Hampshire in 1992.
*** In nine of last 10 Indy car races at The Milwaukee Mile, the race winner has dominated the race, leading a majority of laps. 2007 Tony Kanaan - 25 of 225 (IndyCar Series) 2006 Tony Kanaan - 127 of 225 (IndyCar Series)/Sebastien Bourdais-117 of 197 (Champ Car) 2005 Sam Hornish Jr.- 123 of 225 (IndyCar Series)/Paul Tracy - 195 of 221 (Champ Car) 2004 Dario Franchitti - 111 of 225 (IndyCar Series)/Ryan Hunter-Reay - 250 of 250 (Champ Car) 2003 Michel Jourdain Jr. - 234 of 250 (CART) 2002 Paul Tracy - 184 of 250 (CART) 2001 Kenny Brack - 130 of 225 (CART) *** Bobby Wilson has led at least one lap in three consecutive seasons. Pablo Donoso led his first laps in Firestone Indy Lights. *** FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POST-RACE NOTES: Bobby Wilson earns his third career victory in Firestone Indy Lights. It is his first win on an oval. His previous wins came at Watkins Glen in 2006 and the Indianapolis road course in 2007. Wilson is the third driver to record victories in three seasons, joining Wade Cunningham and Jeff Simmons. Wilson and Cunningham are the only drivers to record wins in three consecutive seasons. Wilson led 88 laps today, more than the 39 laps he had led in his previous 36 Firestone Indy Lights starts. This is the first Firestone Indy Lights victory for first-year team Team E. Jeff Simmons finished second, his best finish since St. Petersburg 1 in 2006. Raphael Matos finished third, his best finish on an oval. His previous best was eighth at Homestead-Miami. James Davison finished a career-best sixth. His previous best was 11th at Kansas. Pablo Donoso finished a career-best eighth. His previous best was 12th at Kansas. *** FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POST-RACE QUOTES: BOBBY WILSON (No. 17 Team E Patriot Bank, finished first): “The Team E guys put together a great car this weekend. Our first win together couldn’t have happened at a better place than The Milwaukee Mile. I’m just ecstatic for the team. They did such a good job and put together a good car. It was like a walk in the park for me. I just kept the tires under me the whole time and drove to victory.” (About winning at his home track): “Coming to The Milwaukee Mile as a kid, it was always a dream for me to race here one day. To win here is even better. Hats off to the guys; it’s their first win. Team E Racing and owner Neil Enerson put together a great program and gave us the tools we needed to be here.” (About the last lap): “There were cars fighting for position, and I was getting a lot of dirty air. I didn’t want to g et right in the middle of that with the potential for an accident to happen. I knew I was faster than (Jeff Simmons), and I knew the lap countdown and time intervals, so I only used as much of the car as I needed to stay up front. (Simmons) did get close at the end, but timing is everything. Jeff had a run on me, but I really wasn’t worried.” JEFF SIMMONS (No 2. TMR-Xtreme Coil Drilling, second): “We had a good car, especially on the long run. I had to work the tools to keep me good. We were quick. We had a shot of it there at the end. When our tires were cold, I was really, really loose. That hurt us on the first couple laps. We just came up a little bit short. I’m really happy. The guys on Team Moore Racing-Xtreme Coil Drilling do a great job. We just came up about 12 feet short.” RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc., third) “It was good. I was happy for the team. They deserve better results than we’ve had in the past two races. We improved quite a lot from qualifying. I think the car was quite good in the end. This place is so difficult in traffic. It’s very difficult to pass. Once I was in third, I just wanted to finish and collect points, which is good for the championship. Now we just have to work harder and harder trying to maximize our car to the ovals, and then we’ll be there in the end fighting for the championship.” ANDREW PRENDEVILLE (No. 5 Best Friends Animal Society, fourth): “The car was really good. I think we had a car capable of winning, but it’s still a good finish.” J.R. HILDEBRAND (No. 25 Allied Building Products, fifth): “I definitely wasn’t looking forward to starting mid-pack for this race, but I screwed up in the first practice session and that put us behind. I owe everything to the guys for putting this car back together and being as good as it was. I had a good race car and was picking off guys one by one. It’s definitely tough to get by guys around here. You could be a couple of tenths of a second faster and never get by. I forced the issue a couple of times and made up a couple of spots late in the game. It feels good to complete another good drive.” PABLO DONOSO (No. 22 TMR-Cristal-Xtreme Coil Drilling, seventh): “We were on the pole. We did an awesome job yesterday. The car today was a little bit hard to drive. It was a little bit loose, and I lost a couple positions. But then I had some slow guy bugging me for like 20 laps, and I lost more positions. Then I fought hard with some drivers. Anyway, we finished in the top 10. It was our first top-10 finish, and I'm looking forward to the next race to try to improve a bit more and try to pick up more points.” (About his post-race meeting with Tony Cotman): “It was fine. They tried to teach me about some of my mistakes. But there are some guys out there that made mistakes as well. I'm going to think about what I did bad this race so I can improve for the next one.”
*** The No. 11 Team 7-Eleven car driven by Tony Kanaan is carrying the Direct Supply logo on its front wing this weekend as a sign of goodwill toward Sarah Fisher. Direct Supply is a major sponsor of Sarah Fisher Racing. Kanaan and Fisher, in her first year as an owner/driver, were involved in an accident during the Indianapolis 500 that ended an emotional month for Fisher. Direct Supply is based in Milwaukee, and CEO Bob Hillis was at The Milwaukee Mile today. He thanked Kanaan and Andretti Green Racing co-owner Kevin Savoree for their support. Andretti Green Racing also has given an underwing to Sarah Fisher Racing. ***
Briscoe leads his first lap on an oval. He has previously led laps at St. Petersburg in April and Infineon in 2005.
*** INDYCAR SERIES POST-RACE NOTES:
This is Ryan Briscoe’s first career victory in the IndyCar Series. His previous best finish was third at Watkins Glen in 2006. This is Team Penske’s 26th victory in the IndyCar Series and its first this season. The team’s last victory came at Texas last June. This is Roger Penske’s 300th victory in motorsports. Scott Dixon finished second, his fifth top-three finish of the season. Dixon led 147 laps today and has led 508 of the last 825 laps. He has led 100 or more laps in four consecutive races. Tony Kanaan finished third, his fourth top-five finish this season. This is his worst finish at Milwaukee in five races. Dan Wheldon finished fourth, his fourth top-five finish of the season. Helio Castroneves finished fifth. He is the only driver to record top-five finishes in every race this season. Oriol Servia finished sixth, his best finish in the IndyCar Series. His previous best finish was seventh at St. Petersburg. Justin Wilson finished seventh, his best finish in the IndyCar Series. His previous best finish was ninth at St. Petersburg and Kansas. E.J. Viso finished eighth, his best finish on an oval. His previous best finish on an oval was 14th at Kansas.
*** INDYCAR SERIES POST-RACE QUOTES: RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, finished first): “It feels so good to win, my first IndyCar (Series) win, and it feels so good to do it here in Milwaukee. I’m really happy.” (How will you celebrate): “We’ve got Texas next week, so there’s not too much time to enjoy it. I’m certainly going to enjoy it for the next few days.” (About bouncing back after incident last week at Indy): “Ever since Indianapolis, we had that get-together in pit lane, and it was really unfortunate. I was having a really good race and looking at a top-five (finish). We just had to put it behind us and move on to this race. It’s a long championship, and it’s just great. We were focused on this race. We knew we had a good car off of last year’s results of Helio (Castroneves) and (Sam) Hornish (Jr.). Just stayed focused in the race. It’s great to win my first race for Team Penske.” SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, second): “It was a pretty good day for Team Target. We were dominant early on, and the car was really good early on in the stint. I think where we struggled was towards the end of the stint. It didn’t seem to be a problem early on, because the other guys were falling off, too. Briscoe, you got to give him credit. He drove the wheels off that thing. He could really take advantage of the high line when I tried a couple of times and nearly ended up in the fence. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time, to be honest. It was a hell of a race towards the end. I’m just glad it didn’t come down to traffic being the deciding factor, and it almost was with Briscoe almost being taken out by those guys crashing. It was a tough race. I’m a little disappointed we didn’t come up with the win, but it’s fantastic points for the championship.” TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven, third): “Ryan (Briscoe) was really strong, and I’m always in favor of the fast car winning the race. He deserved it from where he started. He earned every position. He passed everybody at the racetrack, so congratulations to him. We’re happy with third. When you don’t have a car to win, you have to understand what you have in your hands, and that’s what we had today. It’s good momentum for Team 7-Eleven and for the championship. To think championship, you have to finish in the top three. The way these guys are going, it’s how it has to be.” (How bad was traffic?): “The traffic was bad, but my car wasn’t behaving the way I wanted it today. I would say traffic was an issue, but it was an issue for everybody.” DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, fourth): “I had a car that was just a little conservative, so that’s why it was difficult for me to run up high. For the most part, I think it was a pretty good race. (Racing) kind of swayed back and forth.” HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske, fifth): “Definitely, (Ryan Briscoe’s) car was much quicker than mine. It’s good to see that he’s coming. Now it’s going to get better and better. This place is amazing; there are so many things happening. I broke the curse. Every time we were here, I’ve never been able to finish. Finally I’ve been able to finish, and fifth place is good enough for points. Not good enough for a win, but we’ll keep working hard.” ORIOL SERVIA (No. 5 KV Racing Technology, sixth): “I am very happy. I have no idea what is going on. It seems like the last five races something has happened at the start. Either I stall or crash. Then we came back through the field and it was tough, especially for the KV Racing Technology crew. For me, it was great fun, a great race, but a very tiring race. I was hoping for a podium finish here, but finishing sixth with this big field and this tough competition feels like a podium. The crew did a great job, and I am just very happy for the KVRT team. The whole team really stepped up this weekend. We are getting close to the established IndyCar teams, and that is encouraging, but we still have a way to go on the bigger ovals.” JUSTIN WILSON (No. 02 McDonald’s Racing Team, seventh): “It was a very hectic race; I’m trying to remember everything that happened, because there was a lot. On the first lap, I had passed a load of cars, and I was coming out of the inside of Turn 4 because there was a bit of a stack-up on the outside, and (Oriol) Servia came from the outside across the front of me and into the pit lane. I had to hit the brakes and went to last, so I wasn’t too happy about that. We kept battling on, and the team did a great job; the McDonald’s car was much better in the race. I was very pleased with the progress. We got up to the front and were about seventh, and we were due to pit and had begun the countdown. That’s when Graham (Rahal) had his accident, and they closed the pits and we had to come in on a closed pit or run out of fuel. That put us last on the lead lap and at the back of the line. That got us lapped on the next stint even though we were moving forward again, because we were at the back of the line. After that, we kept pushing and trying to move forward. We did it and got back to seventh. It was a busy race, and I was expecting more yellows, but everybody did a good job.” E.J. VISO (No. 33 PDVSA HVM Racing, eighth): “Today was a roller coaster of a race. We ran well early on, but the car started to go away in the third stint. It was difficult to maintain my position at the end, and I just got too close and hit the wall. Despite that, a top-10 finish is good for the team, and it’s our best so far on an oval. Now we have to face the challenge of Texas next week, and I’m definitely up for it.” DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Motorola, ninth): “We started the race today with a balanced Motorola car, and as the race went on I really struggled to keep it. We were able to make improvements, but they were not able to hold the entire stint of the run. I had some understreer issues all day, and this is where we as a team need to find out what the problem is and find a solution. On a good note, we finished the race which we have not been able to do in the last two races.” BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, 10th): “A pretty good day for Dreyer and Reinbold Racing. I have to thank Dennis (Reinbold), J.D. (John Dick), the Honda and Firestone guys, and all my crew guys for a great job. It was also cool to see Townsend’s (Bell) Emu car on the track for the first time. That and the William Rast car were some nice looking cars. In the race, I made a mistake coming into the pits for the first pit stop, and that cost us a bunch of track position. The crew kept working with me and the car with some small changes, and at the end, we were pretty good. We managed to keep our nose clean and pick up some spots as the race was ending. What was looking like a bad weekend turned out to be pretty good. I can’t thank my guys enough for their effort.”
*** The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the Bombardier Learjet 550k on June 7 at Texas Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 10 p.m. (EDT) by ESPN2. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and .indycar.com. The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Jeld-Wen 100 June 21 at Iowa Speedway. The Milwaukee 100 will be telecast at 1 p.m. EDT June 5.