Defending Sonoma champ Ryan Briscoe cleared to race

  • IndyCar driver Ryan Briscoe is interviewed after a practice session on Belle Isle in Detroit, Friday, May 31, 2013. Briscoe says he was surprised to get a shot to race in the Detroit Grand Prix scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. JR Hildebrand's loss ended up being Briscoe's gain. Panther Racing terminated Hildebrand's contract Thursday after his third major mistake since joining the team in 2011. The team called it "mutual agreement” with the 2009 Indy Lights champion, who made 37 starts in the No. 4 National Guard/Panther Racing Chevrolet. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Ryan Briscoe will be back at Sonoma Raceway to defend last year's victory after missing two races with a broken right wrist.

Briscoe was cleared to drive following a full day test for Panther Racing last week at Sonoma, where he wore a carbon fiber wrist brace. He broke his wrist in the first doubleheader event at Toronto last month and needed surgery to repair the break.

"My wrist held up pretty good during the test, although the brace was a bit of a nuisance," Briscoe said. "But we made good progress during the test and worked through our program really well. I was pleased with our pace and definitely looking forward to coming back next week to find more speed."

Briscoe has seven career IndyCar starts at Sonoma. He won last year driving for Penske Racing and has four podium finishes and has led 66 total laps.

"We knew Ryan was a tough guy and would bounce back from his wrist surgery quickly," Panther owner John Barnes said. "He looked great at the test we had last week and you don't have to do much research to see how well he's done historically at Sonoma Raceway."

Briscoe has been alternating with Oriol Servia at Panther since JR Hildebrand was released following the Indianapolis 500. It will be Briscoe's sixth and final race with the team as he's scheduled to fulfill his ALMS commitments the rest of this season.

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