Once again Ryan Briscoe is putting on one heck of a late season surge. The Australian driver has four straight top 10 finishes, including two straight podiums with a win at Sonoma and runner-up in Baltimore over the last two races.
This surge, however impressive, is likely too little too late as Briscoe will probably be out of the No. 2 Chevy next season.
Penske likes Briscoe but the Aussie hasn't produced much success throughout the duration of a season. Briscoe has never finished worse than sixth in the points in his four full-time seasons with Penske, but he has consistently had to use a late season surge to get there. If Briscoe would only have run consistently all season he possibly could have been a champion, and that failure is why I think he won't return to Penske in 2013.
With all that being said, Briscoe has been one of the best as the season ends every year.
Briscoe's worst season came last year when he finished sixth in the standings, but he closed the season with three top 10's in the final five races. This year as Briscoe is about to complete his fifth season at Penske as he sits sixth in points, but is on a roll and looking to break the top five after being eighth in points just a few races ago.
In 2010, Briscoe started off slow once again, but regained his form with five top six finishes in the final seven races, including eight top sixes in the last 11 races. If Briscoe could have landed in victory lane more often or had better luck he would have been in the title hunt.
Briscoe's best season came in 2009 in which he had eight top fours in the last nine races, and in five of the last six races he finished no worse than second. He had three wins that season and finished third in the overall standings.
In Briscoe's first year at Penske he had seven straight top 10 finishes to close the season, including two wins. He finished fifth in the standings on the strength of those great finishes.
With the series rolling into Fontana for the final race of the 2012 season I expect nothing less than a top five out of Briscoe. Penske provides great power on ovals and Briscoe is good on high speed, high banked tracks.
It's a shame he's likely out at Penske after this season, but with his late season surges he'd be a valuable pickup for any team.