Ryan Briscoe took advantage of a surprising pit strategy Sunday on the way to a victory in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington.
Team owner Roger Penske made the call to put Briscoe out of sequence with the other contenders and it paid off with the Australian driver’s second victory of the season and a 1-2 sweep for the team as Helio Castroneves finished second.
The race began about one hour after a downpour soaked the 2.25-mile,
13-turn road circuit. IndyCar officials ruled it a wet start and all the cars had to begin the race on grooved rain tires.
But with the sun shining and the track drying fast as the 26-car field took the green flag, cars quickly began heading for pit road to change to racing slicks. The Penske team waited to bring Briscoe onto pit lane until lap six, dropping him all the way to 16th.
“Team Penske was just awesome,” Briscoe said. “We ran into a bit of trouble early on and there was a chance we stayed on a bit too long there. That was all Roger (Penske); that was his strategy.”
Penske brought Briscoe back into the pits again on lap 23, ahead of most of the other contenders, putting him completely out of sequence but eventually working to his advantage.
“I think that was the only chance we had,” Penske said. “What a great drive for Briscoe. I think he’s validated himself now as one of the top drivers in the Indy Racing League. And, to finish 1-2, I couldn’t believe when I saw what happened here a few minutes ago.”
Fueler still critical
Keith Jones, a fueler for De Ferran Motorsports remained in critical condition in intensive care at THe Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, a day after he was injured in a pit fire during the American Le Mans Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Hamilton solidifies F1 lead
Lewis Hamilton won the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim, opening his lead in the Formula One standings with two dramatic passes that made up for a strategic blunder by his McLaren team.
But Hamilton, who now leads Ferrari’s Felipe Massa by four points in the overall standings, worked his way through the field before nudging past the Ferrari driver from the inside at turn No. 6 and then holding off Massa’s outside challenge soon after.
Easy for Edwards
Carl Edwards passed Jason Leffler with 48 laps remaining Saturday night and cruised to victory at the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 in Madison, Ill.
It was Edwards’ second win at Gateway International Raceway in three years and it came in front of a nearly hometown crowd. Edwards grew up in Columbia, Mo., about a 2-hour drive from the track.
Rssi takes bike title
Valentino Rossi won the United States (moto) Grand Prix, giving the Italian rider his first victory at Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.
Rossi’s 66th career victory stopped defending world champion Casey Stoner’s winning streak at three races.
Connolly blows engine
After defeating Ben Watson in the opening round of Pro Stock in the NHRA Schuck’s Auto Supply Nationals at Pacific Raceways, Elyria’s Dave Connolly blew an engine on his second run in the Charter Communications/LifeLock Cobalt.
“We blew the engine on the burnout,” said Connolly, who nevertheless lined up against Johnson. “The motor was running on seven cylinders and we were at the mercy of him (opponent Allen Johnson) going red (a foul start, which he didn’t). We just can’t catch a break.”
Connolly remains 11th in the Countdown to No. 1 points standings.
Funeral services for Terry Gibson, 46, who was killed during a supermodified race Friday at Toledo Speedway, will be Wednesday at 11 a.m. in the LaRue (Ohio) Baptist Church. Burial will follow in LaRue Cemetery where military honors will be conducted by the Wright Patterson Honor Guard.
Friends may call from 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Stofcheck-Ballinger Funeral Home in Richwood.
Gibson competed at Lorain and Sandusky speedways.