From Amy Konrath
FORT WORTH, Texas (Saturday, June 5, 2010) – Ryan Briscoe was denied of firing the six-shooters in Victory Circle at Texas Motor Speedway the past two years. Finally, the Team Penske driver got to have some fun.
Briscoe, who started from the pole, held off Danica Patrick to win the Firestone 550K. Marco Andretti finished third for the second consecutive race and Scott Dixon, the 2008 race winner, finished fourth.
Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dario Franchitti was fifth, ending the two-year streak of the Indianapolis 500 winner repeating at Texas the same year.
Helio Castroneves, who started fifth in the No. 3 Team Penske car and was the 2009 winner at Texas, exited on Lap 129 when he attempted to overtake the No. 32 KV Racing Technology car driven by Mario Moraes on the frontstretch.
Wheels touched and the cars spun, with Bertrand Baguette in the No. 36 Conquest Racing RACB car having nowhere to go but between the spinning cars. He didn’t fare so well. Castroneves was without radio communication with his spotter and the pit stand.
Simona De Silvestro suffered a minor burn on her right hand when the No. 78 Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing car made contact with the wall on the backstretch.
DAY 2 NOTEBOOK:
IZOD IndyCar fans have spoken and they believe four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt should be recognized as the greatest Indy car oval driver.
Fans selected Foyt as the honoree for the oval championship trophy with 43.6 percent of the vote through a poll on indycar.com, the official website of the IZOD IndyCar Series. Rick Mears was second with 30.1 percent of the vote. Other nominees were: Mario Andretti (18.8 percent), Bill Vukovich (6.4 percent) and Ted Horn (1.1 percent).
Foyt was one of the most successful Indy car drivers with 67 victories — 64 of which were on ovals. Of those oval wins, 24 came on dirt — the most at the Indiana State Fairgrounds (6). Foyt scored most of his paved oval victories at Ontario Motor Speedway (5).
He had nine 500-mile victories: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (4), Pocono Raceway (4) and Ontario (1). He won his first race on the 1-mile dirt track at Illinois State Fairgrounds in DuQuoin, Ill., on Sept. 5, 1960 (and went on to win four more races there). He won his last race at Pocono on June 21, 1981.
The IZOD IndyCar Series will announce the honoree for the Road/Street trophy at its next road course event at Watkins Glen International in July.
A.J. FOYT: “This is an honor that I really appreciate for a couple reasons,” Foyt said. “I’ve always liked ovals more than road courses — the Indy cars didn’t run that many road courses when I won most of my races. Second, it was voted on by the fans so that makes it pretty special to me. I like the challenges of the ovals — you have to have everything right: the driver, the car and the team. If you make a mistake on a road course, you can make it up in the next corner or two. Make a mistake on an oval and you end up in the wall. Ovals are a lot less forgiving. I think the Oval champion will be the driver and team that make the fewest mistakes. To have my name on that trophy is pretty cool any way you look at it.”
Indy Racing League CEO Randy Bernard isn’t usually a man of few words, but that one sufficed after exiting the Indy Racing Experience two-seater at Texas Motor Speedway. Johnny Rutherford was the driver for four laps on the 1.5-mile, high-banked oval a few hours before the Firestone 550K.
Top speed was about 175 mph – about 40 mph slower than Ryan Briscoe’s four-lap pole average – and Bernard felt the G forces that pinned him to the right side of the stretched Dallara.
In 15 years as CEO of the Professional Bull Riders, Bernard hadn’t once boarded a mechanical bull. Three months into the IZOD IndyCar Series gig and he’s taken a wild ride.
“I’ve never had an experience like that in my life,” Bernard says. “I can’t even fathom going faster than we did. I was blown away with how fast we were going, and to know that Johnny can still go that fast was amazing.”
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Justin Wilson raised $9,100 for charity through an auction of his “Wilson” helmet – an off-shoot of the volleyball in the Tom Hanks movie “Cast Away” — he wore during his run to seventh place in the Indianapolis 500. The auction proceeds will be divided evenly between Racing for Kids and Operation Helmet.
Racing for Kids uses the popularity of motorsports to focus public attention and funding on the health care needs of children. Operation Helmet provides free helmet upgrade kits to servicemen deployed overseas.
FIRESTONE 550K POST-RACE NOTES:
· This is Ryan Briscoe’s first win of the season and his sixth career IZOD IndyCar Series victory. His last win came at Chicagoland Speedway in 2009, eight races ago.
· This Team Penske’s fourth win of 2010 and its 39th win in the IZOD IndyCar Series.
· Danica Patrick finished a season-best second place, her first top-five of the season. Her previous best finish in 2010 was sixth at Indianapolis.
· Danica Patrick has been running at the finish in the last 23 IZOD IndyCar Series races. Scott Dixon holds the series record of 28.
· Marco Andretti finished third, his second consecutive top-three finish and third top five of 2010.
· Scott Dixon finished fourth, his fifth consecutive top-five finish.
· Dario Franchitti finished fifth and assumed the lead in the IZOD IndyCar Series point standings
· Andretti Autosport put four cars in the top-seven positions of the race with Tony Kanaan and Ryan Hunter-Reay’s sixth and seventh-place finish.
· Alex Lloyd finished ninth, his second consecutive top-10 finish.
FIRESTONE 550K POST-RACE QUOTES:
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske, winner Firestone 550K): “(On tonight’s race): It was pretty crazy out there. There was also a lot of tire management too. I really had to work with the tools in the car to keep a good balance throughout the stint. That really made the race fun. (On racing Danica Patrick for the lead): Danica got by us and I didn’t want to make any aggressive moves and block. I gained some momentum on the next lap, used the push-to-pass and was able to pass her out of Turn 4 and into Turn 1. She gave us a real run for our money tonight. It was fun racing side-by-side with her.”
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com): “It was a good weekend last weekend in Indy and it was a good weekend here in Texas. Sometimes the little victories that I have throughout the season are not necessarily obvious on the track. Maybe there in other aspects of what I’m doing, winning little victories here and there to get everything in line to perform from top to bottom on race day. I’ve been working hard all season. It’s just really nice to have a result to show how hard I’ve been working and how hard the team has been working as well.”
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy): “It was definitely a good team effort. The Venom car was strong all night long and we really showed that. We went to the back a couple of times and just came forward. Never give up, I think that was the name of the game tonight.
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): “Not a bad day for the Target team with a double top-five finish today. Our car was solid and we held our ground for the most part. Outside of that it wasn’t your typical Texas race and things got strung out a bit at the end. We’ll take the points and move to Iowa.”
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Energizer): “Great car in the front tonight, not as much in traffic. We led a bunch of laps and the Energizer car was really fast. It was a great job for Team Target. We were set up to run up front (but that didn’t happen.)”
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven): “It was a good race for us. The 7-Eleven boys did a great job on the stops. Things could have been a little bit better, but I’m happy. It was crazy out there. Unfortunately, I got chopped back to 17th by my teammate and we had to work our way back through the field. I think we had a car to finish a little bit better, but that’s the beauty of Texas. You can’t know what is going to happen until the last lap. I had some fun, for sure.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 37 Team IZOD): “I think we had to work harder than anybody else tonight to get what we got. We went from the back to the middle to the back to the middle to the back to the top seven. Once again, we raced well in a pack. We’re good in traffic, but the speed we had on our own just wasn’t enough. This #37 IZOD team is extremely resilient. The guys dig deep, I dig deep; we are a great team. We could win a lot of races together. We’ll just have to see what happens.” (How did your thumb feel tonight?): “I forgot about it during the race. The adrenaline was running so high, I could have had a knife sticking in my arm and I wouldn’t have known about it.”
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske): “Yeah, I was up at that front most of the night and finished out back. The Verizon car was good at front, but we struggled in traffic. Then we got out of sequence when we picked up some debris from a crashed car. We needed a yellow flag there at the end and just didn’t get it.”
E.J. VISO (No. 5 PDVSA – Jet Aviation- KV Racing Technology: “I want to thank the team for giving me a very good car today. I think had a top five car. Unfortunately, in the last stint, we had a problem with the handling as the car was just very loose. I almost lost it a couple of times in turn two at the end. That is why we lost some positions at the end. It was very strange and we are going do some research on the problem. Our car was fast for most of the race. We had a consistent package for the majority of the race. I’m looking forward to the Iowa race now.”
MARIO MORAES (No. 32 KV Racing Technology): “I couldn’t hear my spotter say anyone was on the outside. Then I got hit and started spinning. I thought I was by myself. It is a tough one for the KV Racing team. We have to get ready for Iowa now.”
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 LOTUS – KV Racing Technology): “It was a tough weekend. After qualifying Saturday, we made a number of changes to the car for this morning’s warm-up and it was a positive move. The race started solidly. We saved our tires and fuel to stretch our first stint. It was all setting up nicely, but in the second stint, Alex Lloyd came out of the pits on cold tires. He couldn’t stop and struck my car under braking, causing me to spin. That really ended my race because there was no full-course caution until the end. In all, it was a very disappointing and tough race, but it was another good learning experience for me. Next, we race in Kansas and my first oval test will be there this coming Friday. I am very excited to start my oval adventure.”
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 FAZZT Race Team): “The team did a fantastic job tonight and gave me a really good car so it’s disappointing to not be able to capitalize on that. We had a little issue in qualifying yesterday and the guys worked on it last night and fixed the problem and you could see that we had a great car when we got out front. Once I got out front, I had a great car and the Bowers and Wilkins #77 car was absolutely amazing. We realized we had a small issue in Indianapolis and it carried over here in qualifying. But the guys worked very hard and found the problem last night and I knew that tonight when I had such a good car. But the racing is just so competitive that you just can’t make it up when you start from the back. I’m so proud of the boys and so proud to show what a good car we had when we got out front. That is testament to the hard work of the team and shows the character of everyone on this team. Now, we know we have a good car so we will leave and regroup and do a better job in Iowa.”
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 Lotus-KV Racing Technology): “The start was quite exciting. It’s a great track, especially for side-by-side racing. But soon, I started to struggle with the balance and I lifted through the corners. I was just hanging on and waiting until the first stop. The crew did a great job to get back the balance during the first pit stop. I was able to keep pace and overtake people. Going into Turn 2, there was sudden failure and I went into the wall. The impact was very gentle. It is such a shame to have it end like this.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske): “We were very lucky to be honest. At a speedway like this, you do not only rely on just your spotter. You have to have your whole line in each mirror to be sure that you are clear before you go wide. Clearly, he didn’t do that. It takes experience. With only 130 laps in the race, there’s still a lot to go. It’s just a shame.”
SIMONA de SILVESTRO (No. 78 Team Stargate Worlds/HVM): “The car was pretty loose for a couple of laps. It was pretty hard coming out of Turn 2. I was able to catch it a couple of times but this time it got away from me and I hit the wall. The car caught on fire and it wasn’t really extinguishing. I feel bad for the guys because the car was pretty good, just a little loose. Now I know what a loose car is.”
The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues June 20 with the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer at Iowa Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 1:30 p.m. (ET) by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Iowa 100 on June 19 at the Iowa Speedway.
IZOD IndyCar Series
FORT WORTH, Texas – Results Saturday of the Firestone 550K IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 1.455-mile Texas Motor Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (1) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 228, Running
2. (8) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 228, Running
3. (10) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 228, Running
4. (4) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 228, Running
5. (2) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 228, Running
6. (13) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 228, Running
7. (24) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 228, Running
8. (6) Alex Lloyd, Dallara-Honda, 228, Running
9. (15) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 228, Running
10. (19) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 228, Running
11. (14) EJ Viso, Dallara-Honda, 228, Running
12. (7) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara-Honda, 228, Running
13. (18) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Honda, 227, Running
14. (3) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 227, Running
15. (16) Sarah Fisher, Dallara-Honda, 227, Running
16. (23) Raphael Matos, Dallara-Honda, 226, Running
17. (25) Mario Romancini, Dallara-Honda, 226, Running
18. (20) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 225, Running
19. (12) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 225, Running
20. (5) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 129, Contact 21. (9) Mario Moraes, Dallara-Honda, 129, Contact 22. (22) Bertrand Baguette, Dallara-Honda, 129, Contact 23. (17) Milka Duno, Dallara-Honda, 116, Mechanical 24. (26) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Honda, 97, Contact 25. (11) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 56, Contact 26. (21) Jay Howard, Dallara-Honda, 37, Mechanical
Winners average speed: 159.508
Time of Race: 2:04:47.1555
Margin of victory: 1.4629 seconds
Cautions: 4 for 36 laps
Lead changes: 10 among 7 drivers
Lap Leaders: Briscoe 1-7, Franchitti 8, Briscoe 9-47, Franchitti 48-132, Tagliani 133-165, Power 166-169, Briscoe 170-189, Wheldon 190, Mutoh 191, Patrick 192, Briscoe 193-228.
Point Standings: Franchitti 246, Power 243, Dixon 235, Castroneves 211, Briscoe 208, HUnter-Reay 201, Wilson 179, Kanaan, 179, Andretti 169, Wheldon 164.