Briscoe Best In Australia
October 25, 2008 | 11:58 P.M. EST
Briscoe, who started third in the No. 6 Team Penske car, led nearly two-thirds of the physically demanding 60-lap race. He took the lead for the final time on Lap 43 after the final round of pit stops and held off Dixon as he dealt with traffic in the late stages of the race.
"What a way to cap off the year and in my home country," Briscoe said. "It doesn't get better than this. I have to give credit to the guys at Team Penske. My new engineer Eric (Cowdin) did a great job all weekend. I'm just so happy for all the (Australian) fans. It was a great event and we're going to turn up the wick tonight."
Dixon, driving the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, finished 0.5019 of a second behind the Australian.
"We had a bit bad start and had to shortcut the track and give (Ryan) Briscoe a position back," Dixon said. "It was unfortunate because it's so hard to pass on track. The traffic at the end made it exciting. (If there was another lap, could you have passed?): "We were quicker in different spots. He was quicker than me, but we were quicker on the backside. I don't know, if he had made a mistake, we could have got him."
Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won the 2003 Surfers Paradise Champ Car race, finished third in the No. 17 Team Ethanol car for Rahal Letterman Racing.
"It was a long race with those curbs. They beat the hell out of you," Hunter-Reay said. "It was nice to get by Dario (Franchitti) in the beginning. From there I picked off good laps. Unfortunately, I got held up by (Alex) Tagliani for good while there, but the guys did a great job in the pits to get us by him, and I did my usual deal at Surfers. I've never been out of the top-five here."
Alex Tagliani was fourth in his third start in the No. 36 Conquest Racing car, while Oriol Servia was fifth in the KV Racing Technology Team Australia car.
Pole-sitter Will Power, a native of nearby Toowoomba, Australia, led the initial 16 laps, but a mistake in the quick backstretch Esses ended his day when the front-left of the No. 8 Aussie Vineyards -- Team Australia car made contact with the inside concrete barrier.
"Obviously, I'm very disappointed," Power said. "The KV Racing Technology - Team Australia car was very quick. You could see how fast we were at the start of the race. The I backed off to save a lot of fuel, not pushing hard and then got caught out and clipped the inside wall and ricocheted into the next one. It was a really bad mistake, the worst of my life."