The racetrack is the last place you'd expect to find an IZOD IndyCar Series driver on a day off, but that's exactly where Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe spent parts of this week.
Briscoe visited Charlotte Motor Speedway on Aug. 10 to watch Austin Cindric compete in the final round of the Summer Shootout Series' Bandolero Bandit division before heading to Kentucky Speedway on Aug. 11 to watch his teammate Will Power test in advance of the Kentucky Indy 300.
"I went to Charlotte Motor Speedway partly because I am a race fan and partly because of the people who are involved," said Briscoe, who lives on nearby Lake Norman. "I went last night because it was Austin (Cindric) racing. I've followed him since he started racing a year and half ago. Obviously, I'm close to his family, and we're friends."
Cindric is the son of Penske Racing president Tim Cindric and Briscoe says he watches the 10-year-old race whenever the IZOD IndyCar Series standout has the chance.
"I talk to him about racing and he's showing big improvement and becoming a great race driver," Briscoe said. "It's fun to watch his progress. He's really into it. It reminds me of when I started racing go-karts. He's doing it for the fun of it. He wants to win, but he's learning and he's having a good time with it and that's the most important thing."
But while watching a Bandolero run around a quarter-mile oval won't help Briscoe defend his wins at Chicagoland Speedway and Kentucky Speedway, Ryan reckons his time watching Power will be of great use – even if he isn't driving the car.
"I want to be involved," Briscoe said. "I want to see what goes on today and get a read on Will's feedback and how the track has changed from last year. It's been so long since we've gone oval racing that when we get back to Chicago I don't want to forget about the oval program. We tried to test here earlier this year and the test was canceled, so this is an important test. I just want to be out here and get a read first hand on how things are going."