Will Power qualifying on pole for a road or street course race in the IZOD IndyCar Series is usually as near a certainty as death and taxes. But now, even that last expectation is under threat.
Team Penske’s Power qualified second and finished fifth at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend, a race where Ryan Hunter-Reay won the pole, led the most laps and won the race.
As the only driver in the top-five who ran a two-stop pit strategy, which was changed on the fly by Penske Racing President Tim Cindric, Power was caught out by a lack of yellow flags after the opening four laps.
“Basically we were good until lap 31, and if we had a yellow anytime after that, we would have been golden,” Power told MotorSports Talk in a wide-ranging interview. “We had to then save a lot of fuel to get to the point on two stops. You have to push to get a lap time, while saving fuel, saving tires, but it’s hard to save fuel while going for it. But I still dropped the time.”
The stats showed Power was still able to go all out. He set his fastest lap of the race on lap 29, still on the Firestone red alternates he started on, at 1:10.1631 around the 2.3-mile circuit.
It was still an impressive recovery after falling to eighth on the start, when he went off line through Turns 1 and 2.
“I just didn’t get it right,” he admitted.
MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
- 2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
- 2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish
For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.
Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.
The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.
Following an early retirement for Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has closed even more on his third Formula 1 World Championship.
View it above in the race recap from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.