In a three-week span of 2009, Ryan Briscoe was on a roll. He started on the front row in consecutive races at Milwaukee, Texas and Iowa, and claimed runner-up finishes on each of the ovals.
This season, the recent Connecticut transplant gained four positions to finish ninth in the Firestone 600 at the 1.5-mile, high-banked Texas Motor Speedway on June 7 and heads to the .894-mile Iowa Speedway off an uplifting fourth place July 6 in the Pocono INDYCAR 500 fueled by Sunoco on the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway. The ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest on the one-mile oval is Aug. 17.
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The diversity of venues is partly what Briscoe enjoys about competing in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Following the July 12 race at Iowa Speedway, there is a doubleheader on the streets of Toronto, the Mid-Ohio and Sonoma Raceway road courses, the challenging Milwaukee Mile and the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway oval to close the championship.
“We came from Houston (1.634-mile, 10-turn temporary street course), went to Pocono – two tracks that couldn’t be more far apart from each other – and then you go to Iowa. It’s what IndyCar is all about; the continual adaptation of different types of circuits and driving styles,” he said.
The next transition is racing 200 laps on the Pocono Raceway tri-oval to 300 laps on the variably-banked Iowa Speedway. A 75-minute practice session July 11 precedes single-car qualifications, with a 30-minute session at 6 p.m. (Central). NBCSN will telecast the race at 7 p.m. (Central).
“Going from any track to Iowa it takes a few laps to get your eyes used to it and the G forces that you have to experience. Pocono is faster obviously, but Iowa is fast because it’s such a short lap and the turning doesn’t stop,” said Briscoe, who did not compete at the track in Newton, Iowa, in 2013 but tested there in mid-June.
“That was a really good refresher, so I don’t think it really hurts that I didn’t race there last year. For Pocono, not testing there this year as a lot of teams did, I think racing there last year was a huge help.”
Briscoe has four top-10 finishes in his five races at Iowa, topped by the second place in 2009, and has started in the top 10 in each of the races. Eighth place at Houston 2 and the season-high fourth place at Pocono a week later have been positive steps to start the second half of the calendar.
“We’re really coming together as a team,” said Briscoe, in his first season driving the No. 8 NTT DATA car full time. “I still think we need to work on our qualifying performance; we just not getting the most out of the tires (on road/street courses). It’s all about execution and I’m feeling confident we’re getting stronger as the season progresses.”
Auction for Mann's Indy 500 helmet starts July 13
Pippa Mann’s Indianapolis 500 race-worn, autographed helmet will be up for bid at auction starting at 8 p.m. (ET) July 13 through 7:59 p.m. (ET) July 20. CLICK HERE to bid.
Proceeds benefit Susan G. Komen Central Indiana to support local and national breast cancer research, as well as breast health services for under-insured and uninsured women.
“This entire project started with the idea of simply taking my red crash helmet and turning it pink to support the cause, and it quickly grew into something fairly amazing,” said Mann, who drove the pink Susan G. Komen car. “My Indianapolis 500 was no longer about me, and to have been a part of creating this opportunity for Susan G. Komen is something I will always be incredibly proud of.”
No. 12 crew earns Firestone Pit Performance Award
The No. 12 Verizon Team Penske crew won the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award at the Pocono INDYCAR 500 fueled by Sunoco with a total pit lane time of 168.445 seconds. For each Verizon IndyCar Series event this season, with the exception of the Indianapolis 500, the team with the shortest accumulated time on pit lane will be awarded $10,000. Teams must run at least 95 percent of the scheduled laps to be eligible.
Sebastian Saavedra, who tied his career best oval finish of 15th at Pocono Raceway on July 6, will compete in his 50th Verizon IndyCar Series race July 12 at Iowa Speedway. He won the 2010 Indy Lights race at the track. ... The logos of Wichita State University and companies based in Wichita, Kan., will be on the sidepods of the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car at Iowa Speedway. Engineering students from the university will tour the garage and watch the race. Team co-owner Wink Hartman is a Wichita native.