SONOMA, Calif. — Ryan Briscoe got past Team Penske teammate Will Power out of a pit stop and led the final 22 laps to hold off the two-time defending Sonoma champion on Sunday for his first IndyCar victory since 2010.
"The last year was the first year that I hadn't won a race in a while," Briscoe said about 2011. "You've just got to keep plugging away, keep pushing hard."
After Power led all but six of the first 63 of 85 laps at the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, Briscoe took over when Power got caught in traffic following a scary crash for Sebastien Bourdais and Josef Newgarden.
Both drivers apparently avoided serious injury when Bourdais, a St. Petersburg resident, lost control on cold tires and slammed Newgarden into a protective barrier. Newgarden injured his left index finger.
Chevrolet clinched the manufacturers' title in the first season of its return to IndyCar.
And Power left Sonoma in command of the championship race, ahead by 36 points after his closest pursuers had problems.
"I love to win, but we still got the points and made the most out of the situation that it was," Power said. "I can't help but be disappointed, but full congratulations to Ryan."
Ryan Hunter-Reay, second in points, finished 18th and was left fuming after Alex Tagliani spun him out with 10 laps to go. Helio Castroneves was penalized after making contact with Scott Dixon on Lap 1 and was sixth; Dixon came in 13th.
Hunter-Reay had an animated discussion after the race with Tagliani, who apologized later on Twitter.