Will Power (KV Racing Technology): Saturday qualifyingImage Credit: Chris Von Wieldt
Aussie’s Power & Briscoe In Spotlight At Surfers Paradise
In the final race of the 2008 IndyCar season, with the championship already determined, Surfers Paradise Australia saw a tale of two native sons play out in a way that summed up a most unique season.
The 2008 IndyCar Series brought with it the drama of a host of new drivers and teams when back in late February it was announced that the two open wheel racing series that have the majority of their races and management in North America would merge into one competitive series.
One racing series (IndyCar) raced primarily on closed circuit, oval shaped, banked venues in the United States, the other (ChampCar) held the vast majority of their races on temporary and closed course street, airport, and road locations - internationally. With the merge, it was hoped that one series that featured a blend of both types of challenges for the drivers and teams would make for a better product … and for the most part, it is.
Take the last race of the season as an example of both the competitive aspects and the frustration of a merge when two native sons, Will Power of KV Racing Technology and Ryan Briscoe of Penske Racing squared off for the win at Surfers Paradise along the Gold Coast region in eastern Australia.
In the days leading up to the race held last night, North America time (mid-day Sunday in Australia) Will Power dominated the time trials during the warm-up sessions and captured the lead starting position in qualifying – a position he has captured twice before during the previous ChampCar races held at this venue.
But while Power has been unbeatable in qualifying at Surfers, his luck on race day has been abysmal, with collisions spoiling his races in every home appearance so far. A lapped 12th place in 2006 was his best Surfers finish to date.
"I've been in this position three years in a row, so we have to get it done," said Power
"I can't believe I have another pole start here. But, it's only the pole and the goal is to win the race on Sunday.
To win, Power would have to run a mistake-free race with New Zealander and 2008 ICS Champion Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Australian Ryan Briscoe of Marlborough Penske Racing.
Podium: race winner Ryan Briscoe, second place Scott Dixon, third place Ryan Hunter-Reay - Surfers Paradise, 2008-10-26 (Streets of Surfers Paradise): Image Credit: Chris Von Wieldt
This excerpted and edited from autosport.com -
Briscoe takes home victory at Surfers
By Matt Beer Sunday, October 26th 2008, 04:26 GMT
Ryan Briscoe fended off Scott Dixon to take a home win at Surfers Paradise, after Will Power crashed out of the lead having dominated most of the weekend.
For the third year in a row, Power's race ended in an accident after he had taken a commanding pole. But unlike his previous Surfers disappointments, this time Power's incident was a solo mistake rather than a collision.
The KV driver's crash on lap 16 left Briscoe (Penske) leading from Dixon (Ganassi), where he would remain until the flag.
Power immediately opened a four-second advantage at the start, as Dixon had to back off and hand second to Briscoe having cut the first chicane to hold the position on the opening lap.
An early yellow for a crash by Dale Coyne Racing's Mario Moraes, who had already tangled with Vitor Meira (Foyt) at the start, brought Briscoe and Dixon back onto Power's tail, but the Australian had little trouble pulling away again at the restart.
Although Briscoe began chipping away at his lead, Power was still two seconds in front when he misjudged the Turn 5/6 chicane on lap 16 and smashed his left-front suspension on the wall.
"I just clipped the inside wall," said Power. "Just a very bad mistake, very unfortunate. We were saving heaps of fuel, I wasn't pushing hard and it just caught me out."
Briscoe and Dixon dominated the second half of the race, with the Penske driver able to hold a steady two-second advantage over the current champion.
That gap was reduced to almost nothing with five laps to go, when Briscoe was badly held up lapping Patrick, but the Australian was able to resist huge pressure from Dixon and claim his third win of the year.
"What a way to finish the year and kick off 2009," said Briscoe. "It's a dream to win in my home country."
Newman/Haas/Lanigan's Justin Wilson, who had been a match for Power in practice, was forced to start at the back following pre-race gearbox problems. He carved through the field early on - making up 11 places in six laps - but would drop right out of contention after a tangle with Bruno Junqueira at a restart.
So, how did the Transition Teams and Drivers fare in this final race of the inaugural merged IndyCar open wheel racing series?
Pos Driver Team Time
4. Alex Tagliani Conquest + 19.9844
5. Oriol Servia KV + 20.4376
6. EJ Viso HVM + 33.7249
9. Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan + 1:20.0592
11. Justin Wilson Newman/Haas/Lanigan + 1:31.9353
15. Bruno Junqueira Dale Coyne + 1 lap
19. Jaime Camara Conquest + 2 laps
Driver Team Laps
Will Power KV 16
Mario Moraes Dale Coyne 7
... notes from The EDJE