WEST ALLIS, Wis. -- Without weather interference, Ryan Briscoe driving the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing car in the Milwaukee IndyFest was secure.
Briscoe, competing in his third race for the team and fourth overall this season, had to make a flight bound for Paris hours after the 250-lap race on The Milwaukee Mile for events leading up to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He's competing full time for Level 5 Motorsports this season, and this will be Briscoe's first time in the historic endurance race in France.
He arrived in Milwaukee from France on June 13.
“The travel hasn’t been that bad,” said Briscoe, who also competed for Panther in the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit earlier this month. “It’s not that big a time difference and the flight is about the same as going out to the West Coast."
Briscoe qualified 19th and started 18th because of grid spot penalties (see below). He finished 15th.
“The National Guard Chevy was handling pretty good for us, but the gears were a bit long, so that was hurting us as we tried to race people off the corner," he said. "We’re continuing to build on our continuity, and we’ll continue to get better working together. The plan is to race as many events in IndyCar as we can this year with Panther, so we’ll get them next time.
"For me, this is a lot better than sitting home and watching, so I'm very appreciative of the opportunity I've got at Panther."
Oriol Servia, who occupied the No. 4 seat last week at Texas Motor Speedway and will compete at Iowa Speedway next week, was available if the race was postponed by rain and Briscoe had to vacate the venue.
“I love going to Iowa first because of the people," Servia said. "They are super-nice and I couldn’t believe how much they know about the series – your last three races, the last three years. They are very knowledgeable. In 2011 I was challenging for the win until the last pit stop and last year we were running really well. It’s a track we know we can do really well at and I’m looking forward to it.”
Franchitti, Rahal start from the back
The No. Target Chip Ganassi Racing car driven by Dario Franchitti and the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car driven by Graham Rahal were issued 10-grid spot penalties for the Milwaukee race for unapproved engine changes.
Their Honda engines were changed out before the minimum mileage threshold of 2,000 miles. They started on Row 12 of the 24-car grid. Franchitti and Helio Castroneves were the biggest movers of the race, each advancing 15 positions. Eighth place for Franchitti was his second consecutive top 10. Castroneves finished second.
E.J. Viso has qualified in the top five in six consecutive races. He finished a season-high fourth. Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay has qualified in the top 10 nine races in a row. He won for the third time at The Milwaukee Mile. ... Mike Mosely gave Chevrolet its first Indy car victory at The Milwaukee Mile in 1981. ... Pole sitters for the races at The Milwaukee Mile -- Marco Andretti (IZOD IndyCar Series) and Sage Karam (Firestone Indy Lights) -- are from Nazareth, Pa. ... Castroneves earned his second top-five finish in 13 races at The Mile. ... Rodger Ward has the most Indy car victories at The Mile with six.