About the track
The 2.385-mile, 12-turn natural-terrain road course has it all to challenge drivers -- elevation changes, a tight right-hand Turn 12 leading onto the frontstretch, a Carousel turn that requires downshifting -- all packed into a scenic setting.
Ryan Briscoe had finished second twice, third and fourth at Sonoma in the past four years. Think he was due?
Long overdue -- on the road course and in general -- the veteran Team Penske driver would interject.
So it was an elated Briscoe, who started next to Team Penske teammate and pole sitter Will Power, who hoisted a glass of cabernet in Victory Circle following the 85-lap GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. He held off Power by 0.4408 of a second for his first victory since Texas in 2010. Briscoe is the seventh different winner in 13 IZOD IndyCar Series races this season.
“It’s big. I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to win again," he said. "Especially here in Sonoma, I’ve always done so well at this track and I got my first-ever pole position here (2005) so it’s great to finally get the win. Great battle with Will at the end there."
Briscoe gained the lead on a pit stop sequence on Lap 65 when he hit the blend line ahead of Power, who had pitted a lap earlier but was caught behind traffic during the first full-course caution in more than 2½ races.
"He definitely had some bad luck in the pits, but we were there all day," Briscoe added. "This is definitely a confidence-builder."
Power, who clinched the Mario Andretti Road Course Trophy for the third consecutive year, did increase his championship points lead from five to 36 over Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport with two races remaining.
Dario Franchitti finished third and Rubens Barrichello posted a season-high fourth place after starting 11th. Graham Rahal placed fifth and Helio Castroneves was sixth. Simon Pagenaud clinched the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award with a seventh-place finish.
Listen to the INDYCAR Radio Broadcast of the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma