WEST ALLIS, Wis. Ryan Briscoe held off Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon and barely slipped through a late-race crash to win Sunday's IndyCar Series race at the Milwaukee Mile.
A week after an embarrassing pit lane accident that took out fan favorite Danica Patrick at Indy, Briscoe redeemed himself with his first victory for Team Penske.
"It's nice, I'll tell you," the 22-year-old Australian said. "The car was just magic today. We just came through the field and it felt so good."
It appeared for most of the 225-lap race that Dixon would run away to another victory, but Briscoe caught the leader and passed him on lap 177. All the drivers up front made green-flag stops before the finish, but Briscoe came out of the fuel stops back out front on lap 207 and stayed there despite heavy pressure from Dixon in the closing laps.
With four laps to go, the lapped cars of pole-winner Marco Andretti and Ed Carpenter came together in heavy traffic, sending both into the wall. Vitor Meira, who started last after crashing Saturday in qualifying, ran over Andretti's car, flying into the air and then hitting the wall just as Briscoe drove past.
All the top cars made it through the melee without damage, but the race ended under caution with two-time defending race winner Tony Kanaan third, followed by Dan Wheldon and Briscoe's teammate Helio Castroneves.
Oriol Servia, one of the drivers making the transition from the defunct Champ Car World Series into the newly unified IndyCar Series, sustained damage on the second lap when he banged off of Briscoe's rear wing. The Spaniard pitted under the ensuing caution flag for a new nose and came back from a lap down to finish sixth, the last driver on the lead lap.
Patrick was never in contention, finishing a lap down in ninth.
Briscoe, who lost his ride after a season with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2005, got another chance with Roger Penske's team this year and crashed in three of the first five races, falling all the way to 19th in the points.
But the youngster came back Sunday to give Penske his 300th victory.
"This will help in the points and, hopefully, we can just keep getting some front-running positions in the rest of the championship," Briscoe said.
He dedicated the win to former Penske driver Rick Mears, a four-time Indy winner who is now a consultant for the team. Mears was honored before the race on the 30th anniversary of his first win.
"I can't tell you how special it is to win my first IndyCar race on the 30th anniversary of Rick's first win," Briscoe said. "I wouldn't have won it without his advice here."