Briscoe Quickest at Watkins Glen

Indy Racing League rookie Ryan Briscoe led the way during road course testing at Watkins Glen on Wednesday as the track's overall and long-course lap records fell

Briscoe Quickest at Watkins Glen

Briscoe's best lap of 1:31.7200 edged out reigning champion Tony Kanaan by just 0.0004 seconds. Four other drivers, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Vitor Meira and Bryan Herta also beat both long course records around the track.

"It was amazingly fun driving around this fantastic race track," explained Briscoe. "It's so fast and challenging. I'd really like to thank everyone at Watkins Glen International - I know they put in a lot of work and money for the safety of the track and they definitely made improvements."

The long-course circuit record, which was established when the track did not have an inner and outer loop but did have the Scheckter Chicane at the bottom of the Esses, was 1:33.291 and was set by Bruno Giacomelli in an Alfa Romeo during qualifying for the 1980 US Grand Prix.

The overall track record on the configuration used during the test was 1:38.573 and set by Andrea Montermini in a Ferrari 333SP sportscar in 1997.

All the drivers present were impressed with the Watkins Glen layout, especially after track officials had made some safety modifications.

"The layout is unbelievable," said Castroneves. "The safety things the IRL asked they did except a few things yet that are not a big issue. We're going to really enjoy being at that place not only for the layout but the history that is over there."

But Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon still believed that there were parts of the track that would make some of Formula One's stars a little nervous.

"I think it's challenging," said Wheldon. "The corner after the chicane let me tell you if (Michael) Schumacher was here there's no way he'd set foot on this track on that corner. He'd want to miss that. The barrier is way too close. If Schumacher saw that barrier right there he'd freak out."

Watkins Glen hosts its round of the IRL on September 25.

Leading Times:

Pos Driver Make-Engine Time Speed 1. Ryan Briscoe Panoz-Toyota 1:31.7200 132.272 2. Tony Kanaan Dallara-Honda 1:31.7204 132.272 3. Helio Castroneves Dallara-Toyota 1:31.9813 131.896 4. Scott Dixon Panoz-Toyota 1:32.3318 131.396 5. Vitor Meira Panoz-Honda 1:32.7276 130.835 6. Bryan Herta Dallara-Honda 1:32.8251 130.697 7. Buddy Rice Panoz-Honda 1:33.3113 130.016 8. Darren Manning Panoz-Toyota 1:33.3603 129.948 9. Dan Wheldon Dallara-Honda 1:33.5043 129.748 10. Patrick Carpentier Dallara-Toyota 1:33.5066 129.745 11. Sam Hornish Jr Dallara-Toyota 1:33.5162 129.732 12. Dario Franchitti Dallara-Honda 1:33.6211 129.586 13. Kosuke Matsuura Panoz-Honda 1:33.7731 129.376 14. Tomas Scheckter Dallara-Chevrolet 1:34.3470 128.589 15. Alex Barron Dallara-Toyota 1:35.0144 127.686 16. Scott Sharp Panoz-Honda 1:35.0575 127.628 17. Danica Patrick Panoz-Honda 1:35.0883 127.587 18. Roger Yasukawa Dallara-Honda 1:37.8893 123.936 19. Ed Carpenter Dallara-Toyota 1:37.9973 123.799 All Timing Unofficial 

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