Briscoe Beats Carpenter in an IndyCar Series Thriller at Kentucky Speedway
Team Penske Racing driver Ryan Briscoe came from behind to score a 0.0162-of-a-second victory over Vision Racing driver Ed Carpenter in a 300-mile IndyCar Series thriller at Kentucky Speedway tonight.
After Briscoe and Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon exchanged the lead five times in the first half of the race, Carpenter, who started 14th, flexed his car's muscle during second half of the race by taking his first of five race leads on Lap 137. He would exchange the lead with Will Power four times over the next 39 laps before diving to pit road for tires and fuel with 26 laps to go.
Following the green-flag pit stop cycle, Carpenter claimed the lead for last time on Lap 180. Briscoe made his way back through the pack and edged his car past Carpenter's for the first time on Lap 192. The two battled side by side through the closing stretch of the race before Briscoe emerged with his second victory of the season.
He takes over the top spot in the championship standings from seventh-place race finisher Scott Dixon and will enter next week's series event at the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course with an eight-point advantage over Dixon.
"Those last couple laps were tough. I don't know if I was imagining, but Ed Carpenter's line was getting wider and wider every lap. I knew that every lap I would get the edge on him across the start/finish line. Roger (Penske) was in my ear, too, saying just keep doing what you're doing, you're getting better off of Turn 4 and that's where we need to be good. I don't know if I've ever been more happy to cross a finish line. It was hard fought out there, a big win for me," Briscoe said.
Carpenter earns his career-best finish and fourth career top-five finish. He posted his third straight top-10 series finish at Kentucky Speedway and his fifth of the season through 12 events.
"I was trying, I was giving it all I had for my team. They did a great job in the pits keeping us up there. I was trying to hold up my end of the bargain. This was really close and I'm really happy to get second, but it hurts to be that close and not win," Carpenter said.
Andretti Green Racing driver Tony Kanaan took third, Briscoe's teammate Helio Castroneves claimed fourth and Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing driver Graham Rahal rounded out the race top five.
Tonight's margin of victory marked the second-closest finish in Kentucky Speedway history, the closest IndyCar Series finish in track history and the 11th-closest finish in IndyCar Series history.
Adrian Fernandez took the previous closest series finish at Kentucky Speedway when beat Buddy Rice to the line by 0.0581 of a second on August 15, 2004. Scott Lagasse, Jr., took the closest finish in Kentucky Speedway history when he finished .014 of a second in front of Wade Day in an American Speed Association event on May 7, 2004.
The race concludes the 2009 Kentucky Speedway season.
Story by Mike Schmaltz
~Kentucky Speedway ~