Briscoe Makes Glen History

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Rookie Ryan Briscoe ran the fastest lap in the history of Watkins Glen International’s famed Long Course Wednesday, by a mere four ten-thousandths of a second.

Several thousand fans cheered as the IRL IndyCar Series held an open test in preparation for the September 25 inaugural running of the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Argent Mortgage.

Briscoe ran a lap of 1:31.7200, 132.272 mph on the 11-turn, 3.4-mile circuit in the No. 33 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Toyota Panoz, with Tony Kanaan shown at the same speed with a lap of 1:31.7204 in the No. 11 7-Eleven Andretti Green Racing Honda Dallara.

Castroneves was third in a Marlboro Team Penske Toyota, 1:31.9613, 131.896 mph, with the trio swapping the top spot throughout the day.

Fourth was Scott Dixon, followed by Vitor Meira and Bryan Herta — all of whom were unofficially under the existing record set by Bruno Giacomelli in qualifying for the 1980 Grand Prix of the United States. Giacomelli ran a lap of 1:33.29, 130.315 mph, on the original 3.377-mile circuit, including the infamous “Scheckter Chicane” in the Esses.

Buddy Rice was seventh fastest, followed by Darren Manning, Dan Wheldon and Patrick Carpentier rounding out the top 10 of the 19 drivers who participated.

The Long Course now includes the Inner Loop at the end of the backstraight, with the record for the current configuration held by Andrea Montermini, 1:38.573, 124.17 mph, in a Ferrari 333SP in qualifying for the 1997 Six Hours of The Glen.

The Long Course record for Indy-type cars is held by Mario Andretti, who won the pole for the 1981 CART race with a lap of 1:56.167, 104.653 mph, running on rain tires. That event was the only time CART ran on the Long Course (Bobby Unser won a pair of races on the 2.428-mile Short Course in 1979-80), won by Rick Mears, and the professional last race at The Glen until 1984, when Corning Inc. and International Speedway Corporation partnered to bring the dormant circuit back to life.

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