Ryan Briscoe took advantage of an out-of-sequence pit-stop to claim his second win of the 2008 IndyCar Series, heading home championship contenders Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon in a Penske 1-2 in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

The Australian had started on the front row, alongside team-mate and polewinner Castroneves, but struggled in the opening stages and dropped back as far as sixth spot as the various teams pondered when to make the change from wet weather tyres to slicks as the Mid-Ohio layout dried rapidly after pre-race rain.

Having conceded spots to Justin Wilson, Dixon, Vitor Meira and Tony Kanaan, Briscoe inherited the lead by being one of the latest stoppers, coming in on lap seven - and dropping to 17th as a result of losing vital time to those who had benefited from the dry weather rubber's four-second-a-lap advantage. He continued to struggle for pace on the slicks, however, and opted to stop again on lap 23, putting him out of sequence with the rest of the field.

When most of the field made their second stop under yellow following Mario Dominguez's rear wing-induced spin, however, Briscoe - who crashed out last week in Nashville - was catapulted into the top four and then took top spot when Justin Wilson and Dan Wheldon stopped under the third yellow ten laps later. From then on, the Penske driver was the man to beat.

Another yellow almost as soon as the greens had been shown allowed him to save fuel and, when the field was unleashed four laps further on, he and second-placed Mario Moraes appeared to catch Will Power and the rest napping. Despite going with the Australian, Moraes had nothing for the leader, and Briscoe - who had seen a potential race win at Watkins Glen go begging courtesy of Dixon's pace car gaffe - quickly built up a five-second lead.

He handed the lead to the Brazilian rookie by pitting under green on lap 55, but knew that, from there, he could run full throttle to the finish. The Penske crew returned the #6 to the fray ahead of others to have made their stops around the same time and, when those ahead followed suit, the iconic red-and-white machine was back in front.

Again, Briscoe began to edge away from his pursuers, now headed by Bruno Junqueira - who had not stopped and was trying to conserve fuel in search of a surprise podium for Dale Coyne Racing - and even a final yellow flag period for the luckless Moraes proved to be little more than a mild hindrance to his progress.

Once given the green, Briscoe checked out, capitalising on the stubborn Junqueira's determination to go as far as possible on his dwindling fuel load and bottling up the chasing Castroneves and Dixon, opening out a twelve-second lead by the time the Coyne car finally accepted the inevitable. Far enough ahead to ease off in the closing laps, the Australian still enjoyed a seven-second margin as he took the flag.

Title rivals Castroneves and Dixon took their duel all the way to the chequer, but neither was tempted to make the sort of move that could jeopardise their chances of serious points. The only bone of contention came as the final yellow flew, with Dixon passing the second Penske before being put back behind it. The pair were split by just 0.43secs at the line, as Helio chipped a few precious points from the growing gap between them.

Junqueira's late stop, which came nine laps from home as the plucky Dale Coyne team accepted its fate, dropped the Brazilian down to 13th, promoting the two KC Race Technology entries of Power and Oriol Servia into the top five after a strong run from the former Champ Car team, while Meira came home sixth after again seeing a promising run fail to yield a maiden IRL victory.

The Brazilian had been the first to commit to slicks, stopping at the end of lap one and reaping immediate benefit as he rose through the ranks to lead when Briscoe pitted at the end of lap six. He held sway until Dominguez had his rear wing collapse and pitch him into the gravel for a second time on lap 24. With the majority of the frontrunners pitting from behind the safety car, the Panther team was unable to get Meira out in front of the likes of Power, Dixon and Castroneves and he settled in at the foot of the top ten. Contact with Dixon after the green flag stops later in the race cost Vitor further positions after he had edged his way back towards the front, and he eventually trailed Servia across the line by a little over a second.

Tony Kanaan took seventh, overcoming Darren Manning in the closing stages, but was largely anonymous as more accomplished road racers came to the fore. Manning, who had finished second at the last road course round at Watkins Glen, appeared to be in a strong position after also taking slicks early on and chasing Meira until Dominguez's mishap, but suffered the same fate as the Panther driver and was left to battle for the minor places thereafter. He appeared to be keeping Kanaan at bay until the final few laps, when the AGR man slipped through.

Hideki Mutoh, for once, had to give best to Power in the rookie battle, but still racked up another top ten finish, while Watkins Glen winner Ryan Hunter-Reay bounced back from an early coming-together with Enrique Bernoldi - which brought out the first yellow of the day on lap eight - to round out the top ten. While its victim was forced into another early retirement, the Ethanol car was craned back onto the track and Hunter-Reay then made use of strategy to work his way back up the order.

Dominguez, Milka Duno and Marty Roth all also relied on the safety crew's generosity to make it to the finish, the Mexican having twice gone off. The second incident provided a fright for both the #96 and the chasing Hunter-Reay as his rear wing folded at speed on the back straight, pitching him into the gravel. Fortunately, neither car nor driver was hurt, and Dominguez was able to resume, eventually finishing a couple of laps down in 19th.

That left him behind the once-lapped cars of Graham Rahal - another to spin off - Dan Wheldon and AJ Foyt IV, both of whom were involved in a four-car shunt that brought the yellows back out within a lap of the lap 43 restart. Dominguez, ironically, was the catalyst to that, spinning Wilson in the middle of the pack, leaving Wheldon, Marco Andretti and Foyt with nowhere to go. Foyt shunted Wheldon, while Andretti lifted Wilson's NHLR into the air. Remarkably, the AGR driver was the only casualty, retiring with damaged steering, but Foyt and Wheldon both lost a lap to repairs.

Wilson, meanwhile, had run at the front after qualifying on row two, passing Castroneves for the lead on lap five and then returning to the point by not pitting with the herd on lap 27, but was scuppered by the incident having just made his fuel call under the yellow for Duno's spin. The Briton had had to wait an extra lap to follow Wheldon into pit-lane after the pace car appeared as he was passing pit entry, but was still well-placed in the midfield when Dominguez failed to leave him room.

With a top ten finish disappearing, Wilson provided some of the closest action in the closing stages as he harried Danica Patrick for eleventh, eventually getting through with a handful of tours remaining. Once ahead of the AGR car, however, he opened out a five-second gap, but was too far adrift of Hunter-Reay to make up another spot.

Patrick had enough in hand to keep ahead of Junqueira, while Jaime Camara and Ed Carpenter completed those finishing on the lead lap. Behind Dominguez, Buddy Rice paid the price for early gearbox problems, coming home three laps adrift, while both Roth and Ernesto Viso, who suffered transmission problems at his final stop, took the flag five laps down on Briscoe. Duno brought up the rear, a further lap adrift.