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.