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IndyCar Driver of the Year 2011: 6th

You voted Ryan Briscoe into 6th place in Crash.net's IndyCar Driver of the Year poll!
Top 10 IndyCar Driver of the Year 2011:
6. Ryan Briscoe

Birthplace: Sydney, Australia
Team: Team Penske
2011 starts: 17
Poles: 0
Wins: 0
Top 5: 4
Top 10: 10
Championship points: 364
Championship position: 6th

Ryan Briscoe's season, like that of the third Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves, has been somewhat overshadowed in 2011 by the stunning and unrelenting success of Briscoe's Australian compatriot Will Power, who dominated the pole positions and the race podiums and seemed all-but unstoppable on road courses.

Briscoe, on the other hand, had to settle for his first year at Penske without a win since he first joined the squad in 2008. That's not to say that there was any dip in his form - he had a solid year and finished second at Long Beach and in third place at Sao Paulo, Texas and Sonoma - the latter as part of a historic 1-2-3 Penske lockout of both the starting grid and then the podium for the first time in 15 years.

Otherwise, Briscoe has been mainly playing the loyal wingman to Power's championship campaign. He's also been the team's Mr Nice Guy and avoided controversy, while his team mates have launched verbal tirades and earned themselves hefty penalties with their very public complaints against IndyCar organisers and race control. Briscoe, by contrast, has just got on, got the job done and put on the perfect corporate face for the sponsors.

The cruel irony looked to be that Briscoe might have been rewarded for his sterling service in 2011 with an appointment at the job centre. With sponsorship increasingly hard to find for 2012 it seemed that Penske were going to have to step down from a three- to a two-car team next year. Clearly Penske wasn't about to drop Power, and Helio Castroneves is still a big name with a huge commercial draw for potential backers, so it was Briscoe who unfairly found himself in the potential firing line. Fortunately team boss Roger Penske was able to pull together the money in time to confirm that the same trio of drivers will be back on the grid for him after all, for their third consecutive full season together next year.

Even so, the affable Aussie will need to look at some way of distinguishing himself in 2012, which will need to be a more conspicuously successful season for him. Simply being the loyal supporting team player may no longer be enough: it looks very much as though Briscoe needs to prove that he's a real title contender next year to keep his seat any further. Let's hope he can do just that.

Top 10 IndyCar Driver of the Year 2011 results so far:

7. James Hinchcliffe
8. Graham Rahal
9. Ed Carpenter
10. JR Hildebrand



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Ryan Briscoe crashes during Saturday morning practice on Pole Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He had to switch to the spare car for qualifying, and failed to make the Pole Day grid. [Picture credit; Robert Ellis for IndyCar Media]
Ryan Briscoe on track during Friday Practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 20. [Picture credit: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media]
The Long Beach podium trio of Dario Franchitti, Mike Conway and Ryan Briscoe [Photo credit: Dan Helrigel - IndyCar Media]
Ryan Briscoe on track on the streets of Baltimore. [Photo credit: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media]
Ryan Briscoe. [Picture credit: IndyCar Media]
Ryan Briscoe with Penske Racing team mate Helio Castroneves. [Picture credit: IndyCar Media]
Penske`s Ryan Briscoe in action during practice on the streets of Sao Paulo. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Ed Carpenter on track at Iowa (Photo by Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to a fourteenth-place finish Saturday, July 13, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Power lost the championship points lead to teammate Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, who finished eighth. (Photo by Dan Streck/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, races to a third-place finish Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6, takes over the championship points lead with an eighth-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Dixon won the pole and finished in fourth-place. Kanaan led for most of the race and finished third. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6, took over the championship points lead with an eighth-place finish Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. (Photo by Brett Moist/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan lead the pack at the start of the Iowa Corn Indy 300 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Incident between Mikhail Aleshin and Takuma Sato bring out the first yellow flag of the Iowa Corn Indy 300 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Incident between Mikhail Aleshin and Takuma Sato bring out the first yellow flag of the Iowa Corn Indy 300 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan leads the field during the Iowa Corn Indy 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The #28 Andretti Autosport team celebrates victory (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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