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2008 Nikon Indy 300

The 2008 Nikon Indy 300 was the 19th and final race of the 2008 IndyCar Series season. It was held on 26 October 2008 on the Surfers Paradise Street Circuit in Queensland, Australia.

Australia 2008 Surfers Paradise
Race details
Non-championship round of the 2008 IndyCar Series season
Surfers Paradise Street Circuit.svg
Track map of the Surfers Paradise street circuit at Surfers Paradise, Australia.
Date26 October, 2008
Official nameNikon Indy 300
LocationSurfers Paradise Street Circuit
Queensland, Australia
CourseTemporary Street Circuit
2.795 mi / 4.498 km
Distance60 laps
167.700 mi / 269.880 km
WeatherFine with temperatures reaching up to 27.9 °C (82.2 °F)[1]
Pole position
DriverWill Power (KV Racing Technology)
Fastest lap
DriverDario Franchitti (Target Chip Ganassi Racing)
Time1:35.1552 (on lap 54 of 60)
FirstRyan Briscoe (Team Penske)
SecondScott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing)
ThirdRyan Hunter-Reay (Rahal Letterman Racing)

It was the first time the race was held for the Indy Racing League after 17 years as a Champ Car race. The race did not count towards the 2008 IndyCar season points as the race date was held after the Chicagoland Speedway 300, which was preset as the season finale prior to the merger of Champ Car and IRL. The previous non-points race had been the 1992 Marlboro Challenge, a CART all-star race.

The race was won by an Australian driver for the first time in the 18-year history of the event with Ryan Briscoe winning for Team Penske after leading much of the race, while pushed hard by the near-local, New Zealander Scott Dixon. Ryan Hunter-Reay emerged from an entertaining dice to complete the podium in third position.

Team changesEdit

With the championship decided, some teams used the race as a prelude to the 2009 season. Dario Franchitti made his return to IndyCar after a failed attempt at breaking into NASCAR, taking Dan Wheldon's seat at Chip Ganassi Racing,[2] with Wheldon moving on to his 2009 team, Panther Racing, replacing Vitor Meira.[3] Meira moved to his new team, A. J. Foyt Enterprises.


Rain fell on early parts of qualifying which caught several cars out, most notably Danica Patrick who hit the wall on her out lap wrecking the nose of the car and putting her out of qualifying without a lap recorded. The rain stopped fairly early and Ryan Hunter-Reay made best fist of the conditions, topping Group 1 two and a half tenths of a second clear of Alex Tagliani. The group was well spaced with Vitor Meira and E. J. Viso almost a second behind the top two and well clear of the final two cars to advance, Mario Moraes and Ryan Briscoe. Graham Rahal missed the cut by less than two-tenths of a second with Oriol Servià the other car unlucky to miss out.[4]

Will Power continued to show the pace he hadd shown through practice to top the second group, almost four second faster the Group 1 as the track dried. Tony Kanaan shadowed the local hero with Justin Wilson within a tenth of Kanaan. Scott Dixon and returning team mate Dario Franchitti progressed while again a Penske car sat on the bubble, Hélio Castroneves the last car to make it into Group 2. Marco Andretti was well down on Castroneves while Dan Wheldon made a troubled debut for his new team, missing the cut by almost two seconds.[5]

Dixon topped Section 2 track times improving from over 1:50 to 1:39.2049 for Dixon's best lap. Castroneves improved to second ahead of Kanaan, who would subsequently lose his bets lap and drop out of the top six, Franchitti and Briscoe. Power having led much of the session stopped early and had a nervous wait as his time was rapidly bettered, but made it through with Hunter-Reay joining the Firestone Fast Six.[6]

Dixon, Power and Briscoe swapped top times early until Power started to dominate. With time running out Dixon recorded a 1:35.7672, the fastest lap time recorded in all of qualifying with Briscoe and Franchitti filling the top three when on his last lap Power backed off and found something for a last charge, recording a 1:34.9451, smashing the Fast Six field by eight tenths of a second.[7]

Qualifying resultsEdit

Pos Nat Name Team Group 1 Group 2 Top 12 Firestone
Fast Six
1   Will Power KV Racing Technology 1:50.4357 1:40.4642 1:34.9451
2   Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 1:50.7996 1:39.2049 1:35.7672
3   Ryan Briscoe Team Penske 1:55.4900 1:40.3121 1:35.8007
4   Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing 1:51.3389 1:39.8594 1:35.9336
5   Ryan Hunter-Reay Rahal Letterman Racing 1:53.1807 1:40.8848 1:36.4030
6   Hélio Castroneves Team Penske 1:51.5920 1:39.6232 1:36.7425
7   Alex Tagliani Conquest Racing 1:53.4650 1:41.3122
8   Tony Kanaan Andretti Green Racing 1:50.6625 1:41.4023
9   Justin Wilson Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing 1:50.6966 1:42.0429
10   E. J. Viso HVM Racing 1:54.5978 1:42.9185
11   Vitor Meira A.J. Foyt Racing 1:54.2486 1:44.3348
12   Mario Moraes Dale Coyne Racing 1:55.1731 1:51.5054
13   Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing 1:55.6155
14   Marco Andretti Andretti Green Racing 1:52.2084
15   Oriol Servià KV Racing Technology 1:55.6628
16   Hideki Mutoh Andretti Green Racing 1:53.3353
17   Bruno Junqueira Dale Coyne Racing 1:58.0183
18   Dan Wheldon Panther Racing 1:53.9160
19   Ed Carpenter Vision Racing 1:58.7664
20   Jaime Camara Conquest Racing 1:54.0514
21   Townsend Bell Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 1:58.9264
22   Buddy Rice Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 1:54.3489
23   Danica Patrick Andretti Green Racing No time
24   A. J. Foyt IV Vision Racing No time


Justin Wilson pitted on the warm-up lap with the gearbox sticking in third, but rejoined to start from the back. Will Power immediately dominated the start, pulling a two-second lead on the first lap. Scott Dixon started second but after being forced to cut the first chicane was relegated behind Ryan Briscoe by the officials.

Mario Moraes and Vitor Meira clashed at the second chicane with Meira spinning without hitting anyone. A few lap later Moraes caused the first safety car, clipping the turn 2 chicane, breaking the right rear corner of the car. Townsend Bell was eliminated after a clash with Helio Castroneves which wrecked Bell's steering. Later the same lap Castroneves had a right rear puncture caused by Danica Patrick's front wing while passing the Andretti Green Racing driver.

Lap 17 saw the end of Power's dominance of the meeting as he crashed at the Bartercard chicane, which put Briscoe into the lead ahead of Dixon. Briscoe pitted for fuel immediately upon catching backmarker Patrick, but Dixon waited another lap and was held up behind her. At the same time Graham Rahal touched the rear of Car 20, spinning the Vision Racing car at the bottom corner and Ed Carpenter stopped as well, almost blocking the track. The emerging safety car almost hit Dixon as he completed his stop.

Behind the safety car Patrick stopped and stalled, almost hitting the stationary car of Carpenter. Dario Franchitti clipped the tyre bundle on the inside of the same chicane and spun and stalled bringing out the safety car. After the restart Tony Kanaan had the right rear suspension break without apparent reason.

After the second round of pitstops the battle for third between Alex Tagliani and Ryan Hunter-Reay was interrupted by Dario Franchitti as poor pitstop and a poor pit position for Conquest Racing saw Tagliani drop several position behind EJ Viso. Viso later would twice have to give up spots for cutting chicanes, first to Tagliani, then Castroneves. Lap 48 saw Jaime Camara go straight on and stalled the car attempting to recover.

In the races closing stages Dixon closed in on Briscoe, the two remaining local drivers lapping significantly faster than the rest of the field. Ed Carpenter hit the wall at turn 3 on the last lap but it did not affect the lead battle and Briscoe won his home race ahead of Dixon. Ryan Hunter-Reay finished third.

Race resultEdit

Final results sourced from:.[8]

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid
1 6   Ryan Briscoe Team Penske 60 1:45:50.3868 3
2 9   Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 60 +0.5 secs 2
3 17   Ryan Hunter-Reay Rahal Letterman Racing 60 +9.1 secs 5
4 36   Alex Tagliani Conquest Racing 60 +20.0 secs 7
5 5   Oriol Servià KV Racing Technology 60 +20.4 secs 15
6 33   E. J. Viso HVM Racing 60 +33.7 secs 10
7 3   Hélio Castroneves Team Penske 60 +34.5 secs 6
8 27   Hideki Mutoh Andretti Green Racing 60 +55.7 secs 16
9 06   Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing 60 +1:20.1 secs 13
10 15   Buddy Rice Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 60 +1:31.9 secs 22
11 4   Dan Wheldon Panther Racing 60 +1:31.9 secs 18
12 02   Justin Wilson Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing 60 +1:31.9 secs 9
13 26   Marco Andretti Andretti Green Racing 60 +1:38.4 secs 14
14 14   Vitor Meira A.J. Foyt Racing 59 + 1 lap 11
15 18   Bruno Junqueira Dale Coyne Racing 59 + 1 lap 17
16 10   Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing 59 + 1 lap 4
17 2   A. J. Foyt IV Vision Racing 58 + 2 laps 24
18 7   Danica Patrick Andretti Green Racing 58 + 2 laps 23
19 34   Jaime Camara Conquest Racing 58 + 2 laps 20
20 20   Ed Carpenter Vision Racing 57 Off course 19
21 11   Tony Kanaan Andretti Green Racing 34 Mechanical 8
22 8   Will Power KV Racing Technology 16 Off course 1
23 23   Townsend Bell Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 8 Contact 21
24 19   Mario Moraes Dale Coyne Racing 7 Off course 12

Support categoriesEdit

The 2008 Nikon Indy 300 shared the top billing with Round 11 of the 2008 V8 Supercar Championship series, as well as three support categories.[9]

Category Round winner
V8 Supercar Jamie Whincup (Ford BF Falcon)
Formula 3 John Martin (Dallara F307 Mercedes-Benz)
Australian Carrera Cup James Moffat (Porsche 997 GT3 Cup)
Aussie Racing Cars Paul Morris (Commodore-Yamaha)



  1. ^ Weather information for the 2008 Nikon Indy 300 at the Australian Government's Bureau of Meteorology Website
  2. ^ "Franchitti To Join Dixon at Team Target for IndyCar Series Finale in Surfers Paradise". 19 September 2008. Retrieved 27 September 2008.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "A Debut Down Under: Wheldon Confirmed in no. 4 car for Australia Race Oct. 26". 23 September 2008. Archived from the original on 5 December 2008. Retrieved 27 September 2008.
  4. ^ "Top Section Times (Qualifications Round 1/Group 1) - IndyCar Series" (PDF). 25 October 2008. Retrieved 27 October 2008.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Top Section Times (Qualifications Round 1/Group 2) - IndyCar Series" (PDF). 25 October 2008. Retrieved 27 October 2008.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Top Section Times (Qualifications Round 2/Top 12) - IndyCar Series" (PDF). 25 October 2008. Retrieved 27 October 2008.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Top Section Times (Qualifications Round 3/Firestone Fast 6) - IndyCar Series" (PDF). 25 October 2008. Retrieved 27 October 2008.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Unofficial Lap Report - IndyCar Series" (PDF). 26 October 2008. Retrieved 27 October 2008.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Surfers Paradise Street Circuit 26 October 2008 Nikon Indy 300 - 2008 V8 Supercar Championship Series -Rd 11". National Software. 26 October 2008. Retrieved 26 October 2008.[permanent dead link]

Previous race:
2008 Peak Antifreeze Indy 300
IndyCar Series
2008 season
Next race:
2009 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
Previous race:
2007 Lexmark Indy 300
2008 Nikon Indy 300 Next race:
2009 Nikon SuperGP

Coordinates: 27°59′17.9″S 153°25′42.1″E / 27.988306°S 153.428361°E / -27.988306; 153.428361