AUSSIE RULES • LOCAL LAD MAKES GOOD • POWERLESS AGAIN
RYAN BRISCOE/No.6 Team Penske won the Nikon Indy 300 Indy Racing League IndyCar race in Surfers Paradise Sunday. The Aussie led the most laps and celebrated his victory by doing doughnuts in front of the home town fans. He is the first Australian driver to win the Surfers race, and is the seventeenth different winner in 19 races. The only driver to repeat twice was SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, who raced for Newman Haas Lanigan Racing, and now is racing F1 overseas.
The margin of victory was 0.5019 seconds ahead of Aussie native-New Zealand citizen SCOTT DIXON/No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing who finished second.
Briscoe said “What a race, what a way to finish the year and kick off ’09. It is a dream come true. Team Penske gave me a perfect car. Dixon was gaining on me. I just had to keep it off the wall. I had a strong car. Just a great day.”
Third was American RYAN HUNTER-REAY/No.17 Rahal Letterman, who won the 2003 Surfers Champ Car World Series race as a Rookie, the first American rookie to win a Champ Car race in 20 years, and one of only five Americans who have won this race. This is RHR’s first full season with RHL.
Fourth and fifth were ALEX TAGLIANI/No.36 Conquest Racing and ORIOL SERVIA/No.5 KV Racing Technologies.
This was the first time in Australia for the IRL cars, and everyone with whom I spoke or listened to wants the race to return.
Powerful Will, who had been fastest in every session all weekend and started the race on pole, had the Surfers pole jinx bite him again. Another DNF. He’s had three poles and three DNF’s and one poor finish in the past four years. While leading, Power/No.8 KV Racing Technologies clipped the kerb in Turn Five and drove straight into the belted tire wall, nicking his right front wing. He had been in fuel saving mode, not pushing the car, and made a mistake. He owned up to it straight away.
Power’s co-team owner, JIMMY VASSER, won the Surfers race in 1996 with Chip Ganassi Racing.
Race Rookie E.J. VISO/No.33 HVM made a splash on the Gold Coast, finishing sixth, after running as high as second in his first ever Surfers race. Twice he was told by Race Control to move over: once to let Servia by because he cut corner, and later to relinquish position because he blocked.
TONY KANAAN/No.11 Andretti Green Racing was a bit driver. His right rear push rod broke, from stress. Kanaan was able to save the car from crashing and is looking ahead to next year.
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