National Guard Panther Racing No. 4 Chevrolet Proves Quick in First Race of Weekend Doubleheader

DETROIT, Mich. - (June 1, 2013) – National Guard Panther Racing driver Ryan Briscoe made a spirited charge through the grid Sunday during the first race of this weekend’s Chevrolet Duel in Detroit, but a late-race spin relegated the team to a 21st-place finish. Briscoe, signed by the team just two days ago, was decisively quick in his first IndyCar Series start in the No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet and will have another opportunity during Sunday’s 70-lap weekend finale.

“It was good fun out there,” Briscoe said. “I passed a lot of cars and the car was great.”

Briscoe started in the 21st position, but passed his way up to 14th by the team’s first pit stop on Lap 23. He remained in 14th as cars began cycling through pit stops and had reached seventh before making the team’s second, and final, pit stop of the day on Lap 51. Briscoe returned to the field in 15th, but his pace increased dramatically as the race continued and he began to pick his way up the grid; reaching 10th place after passing Tristan Vautier on Lap 60. Then, as Briscoe caught up to Graham Rahal with just four laps remaining, he spun into the tire barrier. There was no damage to the National Guard car, but since the race was in its final laps he was not restarted and finished 21st.

“I was just setting up Graham (Rahal) for a pass there with a few laps to go and turned in too wide on the dust and the National Guard car came around on me,” Ryan explained. “It’s a real bummer that we didn’t finish but all-in-all it was a super positive race, and we had really good speed. I was feeling really good in the car and the pit stops were great. We’ll try to have the same kind of pace tomorrow.”

Earlier in the day, Briscoe qualified 13th for tomorrow’s race with a top lap speed of 106.734 mph, 1:19.2627 seconds. The Australian will be traveling to Le Mans to test with Level 5 Motorsports following tomorrow’s race and unavailable for the remainder of races this month. Panther expects to announce a fill-in driver early next week, and Briscoe is a possible candidate to run again for the team later in the 2013 season when his schedule allows.

Race Broadcast Info:
The second race of the Chevrolet Indy Duel in Detroit will be broadcast live on ABC at 3:30 pm (ET), with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network, XM/Sirius Channel 211. Practice, qualifying and race coverage is also available on the IndyCar Mobile app from Verizon. -