The final day of the Nikon Indy 300 on the streets of Surfers Paradise has concluded with the locals ‘FIRING UP’ to take the ultimate spoils today.
In the IndyCar Series, Australian Ryan Briscoe became the first driver from ‘Down Under’ to win on the Gold Coast in the Event’s 18 year history.
Originally from Sydney, Briscoe is also the first driver to win on the Gold Coast under the IndyCar Series category sanction, after the US open-wheel racing unification earlier this year.
Briscoe had the Brisbane-born Kiwi Scott Dixon in hot pursuit for the entire 60 lap race as he led the way from lap 17, before taking the chequered flag to be the 17th different winner of the Event.
While Briscoe was triumphant, his fellow Australian and fan favourite Will Power saw an early lead come to a cruel end after he led the opening 16 laps.
Power brushed the inside wall on the apex of Turn Five, breaking his steering and heading into the Turn 6 wall in what is the second part of the Bartercard Esses.
Power attempted to limp his mount back to the pits but was forced to park at Turn Eight, one day after making history by winning his third-consecutive pole position on the Gold Coast and becoming the first three-time polesitter for the Nikon Indy 300.
While Power met an unfortunate end, the polesitter in the Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series was untouchable – with the Gold Coast’s Jamie Whincup following up his pole and race one victory with two race wins today.
The results saw Whincup undeniably clinch his tenth career round win and further establish his championship lead over fellow Ford driver Mark Winterbottom and Holden driver Garth Tander.
While Whincup relinquished the lead for a short period early in the first of today’s two races, the majority of the weekend saw him well and truly in the leading position where, despite a continuously challenging Tander.
When it came to round wins in the Carrera Cup, the only support category to race today, it was James Moffat who stood on the top step, with David Wall second and the season champion Craig Baird – the Gold Coaster secured the championship before this weekend’s final round – in third.
Almost 300,000 people enjoyed the four days of the Nikon Indy 300 this week, with a crowd of 94,465 fans coming through the gates today to see the total figure to 297,288.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY…
Ryan Briscoe: #6 Team Penske Honda/Dallara/Firestone – INDYCAR SERIES
“What a way to come off the year, with a win in my home country. It doesn’t get any better than this,” said Briscoe.
“A lot of credit to my guys at Team Penske, and my new engineer Eric, who did a great job this weekend. We’re so happy for all the fans – what a turnout and great event.
“Track position was everything at the race. My first pit stop I was into some lapped traffic and instead of getting held up we dove into the pits a little early. And that’s what helped maintain the track position and maintain the lead, and from there it was all downhill.
“Dixon is very quick and consistent, and he was in my mirrors all day long, but I just had to focus on not making a mistake and bringing it all home.
“It means a lot to me to win a race here in front of my family and friends, as I haven’t raced much in my home country.
“This race is important for the 2009 season, as the first two races are on street courses next year. And I also had a new engineer on board – it was great having the opportunity to work with him.”
“It’s a big honor to win here.”
Scott Dixon: #9 Target Chip Ganassi Honda/Dallara/Firestone – INDYCAR SERIES
“(My run) wasn’t too bad…could have been a big staggered at the start, (and I )had to give my spot back to Ryan,” said Dixon.
“I figured I was in front going into the Chicane and then obviously two of us weren’t going to fit through there so I decided to set it up and then I had to get back behind and then pretty much that’s where I saw his rear end.
“It wasn’t too much fun for me and I got pretty good time on the pit stop I think, and that yellow came out and as we were doing our pit stop the pace car stopped in front of us so we couldn’t get out of the pits and therefore Briscoe passed the pace car and we lost the spot again and it was a bit of pain there.
“Obviously we just didn’t have enough speed to pass, he was super quick especially on the longer runs, we were a little quicker at traffic.
“It was a great day, it was a bit of a mixed up race in the middle part there, but obviously I feel bad for Will, I think he was really quick and if he hadn’t made the mistake I think he was going to be very tough to beat.”
Will Power: #8 Aussie Vineyards – Team Australia Honda/Dallara/Firestone – INDYCAR SERIES
“Obviously, I am very disappointed,” said Power.
“The KV Racing Technology – Team Australia car was very quick. You could see how fast we were at the start of the race.
“Then I backed off to save a lot of fuel, not pushing hard, and then got caught out and clipped the inside wall and ricochet into the next one.
“It was a really bad mistake, the worst of my life. It was a very bad dat for me and I am very disappointed.
“But I want to thank all of the KVRT Team Australia crew for all of their hard work this weekend. They gave me a great Aussie Vineyards car and it’s a shame we could not finish this race.”
Jamie Whincup – #88 Team Vodafone Ford – V8 SUPERCARS
“Every time I walk into the workshop and I see Craig’s (winner’s) surfboard, it (has fired me up) even more… I am very excited to have won,” said Whincup.
“(Winning the Event) is obviously a big deal. Pole position and three race wins, you couldn’t do anything more…for me, it was the only major I hadn’t had success with.
“I put Indy in that major category, up there with Bathurst, Clipsal 500 and Sandown… I guess I would say it is another tick in the box for something I wanted to achieve in this category.”
Garth Tander – #1 Toll HRT Holden – V8 SUPERCARS
“We fought all the way to the end,” said Tander.
“We had a great start this morning and pulled a gap but it all went a bit wrong at the pit stop. One of the hallmarks of this season is taking the opportunities when they arise but we didn’t quite do it this weekend.”
RESULTS: NIKON INDY 300 ON THE STREETS OF SURFERS PARADISE – TOP TEN
Results of the Nikon Indy 300 IndyCar Series event October 26 on the Streets of Surfers Paradise, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (3) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 60, Running
2. (2) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 60, Running
3. (5) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 60, Running
4. (7) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 60, Running
5. (15) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda, 60, Running
6. (10) E.J. Viso, Dallara-Honda, 60, Running
7. (6) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 60, Running
8. (16) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara-Honda, 60, Running
9. (13) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 60, Running
10. (22) Buddy Rice, Dallara-Honda, 60, Running
22. (1) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 16, Contact
Winner’s average speed: 95.068 mph
Time of race: 1:45:50.3868
Margin of victory: 0.5019 of a second
Cautions: 3 caution flags for 6 laps
Lead changes: 7 among 6 drivers
Lap leaders: Power 1-16, Briscoe 17-19, Dixon 20, Franchitti 21-22, Briscoe 23-39, Tagliani 40, Viso 41, Briscoe 42-60.
RESULTS: COFFEE CLUB V8 SUPERCAR CHALLENGE
Round Points – Top Ten
1. Jamie Whincup – 300
2. Garth Tander – 276
3. Mark Winterbottom – 258
4. Todd Kelly – 218
5. Russell Ingall – 202
6. Craig Lowndes – 180
7. Steve Johnson – 178
8. Will Davison – 168
9. Lee Holdsworth – 168
10. Steve Richards – 154