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Firestone 550k

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"Indy Redemption"
by Esteban Morales

June 5, 2010

Firestone 550k
 

Fresh off a disappointing performance at the Indianapolis 500, Ryan Briscoe reminded team owner Roger Penske that he is a championship caliber driver by winning his first race of the season, the Firestone 550k at Texas Motor Speedway.  Despite winning from pole, Briscoe did not have a trouble-free run to the checkered flags.

Briscoe’s initial hurdle was a long first pit stop that dropped him from the lead to fifth.  When the green flag dropped for the restart, Briscoe methodically began to carve his way back to the front.  Briscoe made up one position on lap 56, getting by Scott Dixon, and advanced to third during a lap 66 restart.  For much of the first half of the race, Briscoe patiently sat behind his teammate, Will Power, before inheriting second when Power made a second stop during a caution period to check for debris stuck to the undertray of his car.  The caution was caused by Simona de Silvestro, who crashed while exiting Turn 2.  Though de Silvestro was safely extricated from her Dallara, flames dramatically engulfed the car while the safety crew struggled to extinguish the fire.

When the race was restarted on lap 111, Briscoe followed race leader Dario Franchitti for approximately twenty laps before being shuffled back down to fifth during the penultimate set of pit stops.  Within a few laps Briscoe challenged Power, who had elected not to make a stop, for the second position.  Both drivers battled side by side for a number of laps, and ultimately found themselves fighting for the lead of the race before Power dropped into the pits on lap 170.

Danica Patrick soon stole the show by closing on Briscoe and making a bid for the lead on lap 175.  On lap 182, it looked as though Patrick would take the lead of the race heading into the final pit stops of the night after Briscoe ran wide.  Briscoe, however, was able to keep Patrick at bay until both made their final stops.  Patrick kept fans on their feet when Briscoe emerged from the pits on lap 192 and Patrick took the lead.  Briscoe ensured Patrick’s stint at the front was a short one and retook the lead the following lap.  From then on Briscoe was untouchable and easily pulled away from Patrick, eventually taking the checkered flags.

Further in the pack, Alex Lloyd impressed after finishing fourth at Indy.  Lloyd qualified sixth and initially ran with the leaders before dropping to the back of the field after a botched pit stop.  Lloyd drove from the back of the pack to finish eighth.

Results:

  1. Ryan Briscoe
  2. Danica Patrick
  3. Marco Andretti
  4. Scott Dixon
  5. Dario Franchitti
  6. Tony Kanaan
  7. Ryan Hunter-Reay
  8. Alex Lloyd
  9. Dan Wheldon
  10. Vitor Meira
  11. E.J. Viso
  12. Hideki Mutoh
  13. Tomas Scheckter
  14. Will Power
  15. Sarah Fisher
  16. Raphael Matos
  17. Mario Romancini
  18. Alex Tagliani
  19. Justin Wilson
  20. Helio Castroneves
  21. Mario Moraes
  22. Bertrand Baguette
  23. Milka Duno
  24. Simona De Silvestro
  25. Takuma Sato
  26. Jay Howard