Camping World GP at the Glen
Circuit: Watkins Glen International Raceway (3.37-mile road course) Watkins Glen, NY
2008 Winner: Ryan Hunter-Reay (Rahal Letterman Racing Honda) 92.964 mph average
Weather: Mostly sunny, mild, 74 degrees F
Posting what would prove to be the pole lap in the opening minutes of final qualifying, Ryan Briscoe claimed the top starting position Saturday at Watkins Glen International Raceway in preparation for Sunday’s Camping World GP at The Glen.
With the drop of the green flag for the third and final round of Firestone "Fast Six" knockout qualifying, Briscoe left pit lane on the same softer "Red" tires he had used in the previous round. His quick lap of 136.935 mph around the historic, upstate New York road course became the pole speed when, moments later, rival Dario Franchitti crashed heavily, but without injury, into the Turn 11 tire wall.
Cleanup from the Franchitti wreck consumed much of the remaining time in the 15-minute session, and prevented any serious challenges to Briscoe. Still, Justin Wilson was pleased to put his Dale Coyne Racing Honda ahead of many larger, better funded teams with his second-place effort, with previous three-time Glen winner Scott Dixon, third. Sunday's 60-lap race starts at 1:30 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on ABC.
Ryan Briscoe (#6 Team Penske Honda) pole qualifier, 2nd pole of 2009; 6th career IndyCar pole: "I went out [for Fast Six final qualifying] on hot tires, so I wanted to post a [quick] lap time before they went off. So, when the red flag came out [stopping the session for Franchitti's crash], it definitely worked to my advantage. Tomorrow’s race will be interesting. The option [softer compound] 'Red' tires give much, much better grip around this track, but will they last for an entire fuel run in the race? I guess we'll find out on Sunday."