Ryan Briscoe finishes short 2015 season with top-five finish

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Ryan Briscoe started his 2015 IndyCar season late to the party and ended it as the final obstacle to Juan Pablo Montoya’s own.

Briscoe, selected to replace James Hinchcliffe in the Schmidt Peterson No. 5 Honda after he was critically injured in Indianapolis 500 practice, finished his eight-race campaign with a fifth-place finish Sunday at Sonoma.

The Australian worked his way there after starting 17th. Had he been passed by Montoya, Scott Dixon would not be the 2015 IndyCar champion.

“It’s nice to finish the season on a high note with a good race in the No. 5 Arrow Electronics car,” said Briscoe. “We got the strategy right and just ran a mistake-free race. It was sort of a grind out there, making the laps and trying not to run off the track. I’m pleased.”

In his eight starts, Briscoe had an average starting spot of 17.8 and an average finish of 12th. Sunday’s result was his best among four top-10 finishes on his shortened season. Sonoma was his second top-10 in a row, after also finishing eighth at Pocono.

“We had a good run and my best result of the year,” Briscoe said. “I think we’ve been unlucky not to get some better results so it’s nice to bring one home and a solid top-five.”

While a top-five is a good note to end on, his 2015 season will likely be remembered for his dangerous crash through the infield of Auto Club Speedway during the MAVTV 500, which he walked away from and later was able to laugh at.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.