Erstwhile IndyCar Series points leader Ryan Briscoe entered the 2009 season as one of the favourites to take the title after a strong end to 2008 - and is living up to the mantle.
Good afternoon. We're joined today by Ryan Briscoe, driver of the #6 Team Penske entry. Ryan won the 2009 season-opening race at St. Petersburg and finished fourth at Kansas, putting him second in the point standings as the month of May begins. This will be Ryan's fourth Indianapolis 500. He finished 10th in 2005 and fifth in 2007. Last year, he qualified on the front row and finished 23rd.
Ryan, let's get your take a little bit on the season so far. A win at St. Pete, some bad luck cost you another potential win at Kansas, but still second right now heading into Indianapolis has got to feel pretty good.
Yeah, it feels great. I think especially our performance in Kansas was very encouraging coming into the month of May. Last year at Kansas we struggled a little bit and it really looks like we've picked up our game a little bit at these one-and-a-half-mile ovals and hopefully that translates over into Indianapolis as well.
But it's great. Certainly kicked off the season much better than I had last year. I'm just so excited it's May already.
For just about every race you can ask a driver about that weekend and you can hear him say, 'If we can't win it, we need to get a good points finish for the championship.' I don't know that I've ever really heard anyone say that about the Indy 500. Is the focus on Indy solely on winning the race?
Well, yeah. I can pretty much say we've put the championship on hold for a few weeks here. We're just focused on trying to get the big trophy here this month. You can pretty surely say it's bigger than the championship, this race. You don't really get remembered for coming second at the Indy 500. Definitely a lot of focus on trying to win this race.
But, being my fourth start here, it's really the first time, though, coming into it where I feel as though I've sort of got the confidence and the experience where I can actually have a legitimate shot at it. Just really excited that we're carrying good momentum coming into the race this month.
With that being said, what's the game plan as you come into the month? You have a couple days, obviously qualifying and pole day on Saturday. What is the game plan as you approach the month?
It gets going pretty quickly. The first week is all about getting the balance into the car, getting it tuned in, and then by the end of the week feeling confident enough to start trimming out and getting ready for qualifying. Saturday we're already going for pole. Most importantly, if you can't get the pole, you need to try to at least get qualified on that first day so you can start working on race preparation.