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Unusual strategy works for Briscoe

MOTOR RACING

July 21, 2008|From the Associated Press

Ryan Briscoe took advantage of a surprising pit strategy on the way to a victory in Sunday's Honda Indy 200 at Lexington, Ohio.

Team owner Roger Penske made the call to put Briscoe out of sequence with the other contenders and it paid off with the Australian driver's second victory of the season and a sweep for the team with Helio Castroneves finishing second.

The race began about one hour after a downpour soaked the 2.25-mile, 13-turn road circuit, leaving puddles in places. IndyCar officials ruled it a wet start and all the cars had to begin the race on grooved rain tires.

But, with the sun shining and the track drying fast as the 26-car field took the green flag, cars quickly began heading for pit road to change to racing slicks. The Penske team waited to bring Briscoe onto pit lane until the sixth lap, dropping him all the way to 16th.

With little to lose, Penske brought Briscoe back into the pits again on Lap 23, ahead of most of the other contenders, putting him completely out of sequence and, eventually working to his advantage.

"I think that was the only chance we had," Penske said. "What a great drive for Briscoe. I think he's validated himself now as one of the top drivers in the Indy Racing League. And, to finish 1-2, I couldn't believe when I saw what happened here a few minutes ago."

It's the eighth 1-2 finish and first since 2005 at Phoenix for Penske.

Defending race winner and series points leader Scott Dixon finished third, followed by Will Power and Oriol Servia.

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Lewis Hamilton won the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, solidifying his lead in the Formula One standings with two dramatic passes.

Hamilton overtook Ferrari's Felipe Massa and then runner-up Nelson Piquet Jr. of Renault at the same hairpin.

Hamilton leads Massa by four points in the overall standings.

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After more than six years of racing, Tony Bartone raced to his first NHRA victory in funny car at the Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals at Kent, Wash.

Bartone beat Ron Capps, who was also trying to break out of a winless streak that dates to 2007 at Richmond.

Bartone powered his Chevy Monte Carlo to a 4.454-second pass at 238.17 mph to get the long-awaited win.

Tony Schumacher, in top fuel, and Jason Line, in pro stock, also were winners at the 14th of 24 events in the NHRA series.

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