Ryan Briscoe Claims Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen Pole with Record Setting Effort
Marks Penske Racing's Fifth Consecutive Pole at WGI; Briscoe's Second
By: WGI Staff on 7/4/2009
Ryan Briscoe accpets his award for claiming his second consecutive Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen pole.
Ryan Briscoe (#6 Team Penske) won the coveted pole position for the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen, setting a new track record along the way with a blistering 1:28.5970 (136.935 mph) . Briscoe said, “I haven’t had this much fun around a course in a long time.” The Penske driver who won the pole position for last year’s race continued, “I was worried about Justin (Wilson). Hopefully we can break the Penske jinx here and get a win. The “Reds” were a lot of fun here.” Penske Racing has held the qualifying record for each of the five years that the IndyCar Series has run at the historic road course.
The “Reds” were the talk of the series. Drivers had the option to use two sets of Firestone Option Tires, known as “Reds”, during the qualifying session. The Option tires are softer and give drivers more traction for their cars.
The drivers were only able to post one fast lap due to a crash by Dario Franchitti who was two corners into his first flying lap of the Firestone Fast Six session. This left some drivers with an unused set of “Reds” and a lost opportunity to get the pole.
Starting second in tomorrow’s Camping World Grand Prix will be Justin Wilson (#18 Z-Line Designs Dale Coyne Racing). Wilson said, “I was hopeful because I still had a set of Firestone option “Red” tires left and the other guys didn’t. I’m not sure I had enough for Ryan. That’s just how it goes. My guys worked hard. Tomorrow will be a good day. We’ll see how things develop.”
Three time Watkins Glen Grand Prix winner Scott Dixon will start the race from the inside of the second row. Of his qualifying run, Dixon said, “We seem to race better than we qualify here.” The Target Chip Ganassi racer is confident for the race, saying, “I think we found a good set up at the end there.”
Fourth fastest in the session is KV Racing Technology/Votorantim racer Mario Moraes. The Brazilian said, “The team did a great job. I didn’t have time to use my second set of “Red” tires. I think this result is the same as at the test a few weeks ago. I’m happy with my 4th placed.”
Graham Rahal posted the 5th fastest time in the critical Fast Six session. The second-year IRL racer said “The car felt pretty good. We struggle a little bit. We used this set of Reds twice so they didn’t have much left in them.” Unfortunately, Rahal’s car failed post-qualifying tech inspection and will be penalized 10 grid positions, back to 15th.
Ryan Briscoe set a blistering pace of 1:28.9409 in Group 1 of Round 1 of qualifying for the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen which put him in line to break Helio Castroneves’ qualifying record if he could maintain his pace to the end. Graham Rahal dipped below Castroneves’ 2007 track record by turning a 1:29.1607 in Group 2 of Round 1 qualifying.
Besides tires, the story of this qualifying session was track records. Six drivers broke the previous record of 1:29.1919 set by Helio Castroneves in qualifying for the 2007 Grand Prix at The Glen.
The IndyCar Series was using their road course qualifying format, which calls for two preliminary rounds before the top 6 fight it out in the Firestone Fast Six
The drivers from Group 1 who moved into Round 2 were Ryan Briscoe, Dario Franchitti, Mario Moraes, Danica Patrick, Tony Kanaan and Justin Wilson.
Group 2 drivers from Round 1 who moved on were Graham Rahal, Marco Andretti, Mike Conway, Dan Wheldon, E.J. Viso and Scott Dixon.
Surprisingly, three-time pole sitter Helio Castroneves was only able to muster the 14 fastest time in Round 1.
In Round 2 qualifying, all 6 drivers plus seventh fastest Mike Conway, broke the existing track record. Fastest of all was again Ryan Briscoe who posted an impressive 1:28.1322, over a second under the old mark. Amazingly, the difference between 5th and 7th place was a mere two hundredths of a second. Briscoe, Dario Franchitti, Justin Wilson, Mario Moraes, Scott Dixon and Graham Rahal had the speed to move into the Firestone Fast Six which determined to pole position winner.
Early in the Fast Six session, Dario Franchitti spun in Turn 11 and backed hard into the tire barrier. Franchitti remained unhurt after the scary looking incident which left him without a time for the session. Dario commented,” I just tried too hard. The Polaroid car felt good and I messed up on entry and I just lost the back. We’ll just start 6th tomorrow. I think we can win from there.”