With the IndyCar season in the books and a limited amount of news to come since the season finale at Fontana, my MotorSportsTalk colleague Chris Estrada and are taking a look back at the 2013 season just past. Chris and I each ranked our top 10 drivers and some of the biggest stories; now we take a look back at the field driver-by-driver.
P26 and a man who racked up the frequent flier miles this year across various series and types of cars, Ryan Briscoe…
- Teams: Chip Ganassi Racing, Panther Racing
- 2012: 7th Place, 1 Win, 2 Poles
- 2013: 26th Place (7 Starts), Best Finish 12th, Best Start 9th, 0 Laps Led, 17.7 Avg. Start, 16.3 Avg. Finish
DiZinno says: I wonder if Briscoe’s heart was still in open-wheel even though he had a plum sports car opportunity with Level 5 Motorsports this year, because it was as weird a season trajectory as I’ve seen in ages. Despite committing to Scott Tucker’s massive operation in the American Le Mans Series, Briscoe got a deal done with Chip Ganassi for a fourth car at Indy. In June, his season got weird. He raced for Panther Racing in Detroit, replacing Hildebrand, then flew to Le Mans for scrutineering with Level 5, flew back to Milwaukee for Panther, flew back to Le Mans for the race, then did a weird Lime Rock/Pocono weekend doubleheader in July for both teams. All the ride shuffling went for naught when Briscoe broke his wrist in Toronto and missed a month of action in both cars. Unsurprisingly, the lack of consistency on the IndyCar side meant that a guy who’d been one of the six or seven best drivers over the last half dozen years didn’t garner a single top-10 result in his seven starts.
Estrada says: With all the back-and-forth he had to do this year between his full-time American Le Mans Series ride and his part-time IndyCar duties at Ganassi and then Panther, let’s hope Briscoe got himself some serious airline rewards. Combined with his wrist injury at Toronto, it’s easy to see why he was unable to enjoy much open-wheel success in 2013. A Top-10 finish got away from him in Detroit Race 1 when he spun out with four laps left, and in his remaining races with Panther, he was unable to break a chain of mid-pack results. His best finish of the year came with Ganassi at the Indy 500, but that, too, was relatively ho-hum.