2004 Champ Car Champion Nominated for SPEED Channel Driver of the Year Award

INDIANAPOLIS (January 4, 2005) -- A popular name on SPEED Channel's website during the past year was the 2004 Champ Car World Series Champion Sebastien Bourdais, who had an outstanding sophomore season in clinching his first Vanderbilt Cup in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. The Newman/Haas Racing pilot had those accomplishments recognized again at the end of the 2004 season by being one of seven drivers nominated for the SPEED Channel Driver of the Year award.

The 25 year-old Frenchman dominated the 2004 Champ Car campaign en route to his first series title. He led the series in poles, laps led, and victories in 2004. Scoring eight poles, Bourdais went on to score five of his seven victories from the pole position. The flying Frenchman took the lead in 11 out of 14 races this season, including a series-record nine in a row, producing a total of 443 laps led. Bourdais stood on the podium ten times this year.

During the fourteen races of the season, Bourdais never started lower than third. One of his best runs came in Denver when a first-turn spin caused him to drop to the back of the pack. Bourdais worked his magic by maneuvering his way through the field on a tight street-course track to reclaim the lead and earn one of his many wins of the season.

Racing fans of all disciplines recognized Bourdais for his furious climb to the top as he was voted as the Driver of the Quarter for the third quarter of the 2004 season. Despite winning the fan vote during the third quarter, he finished second in the overall ballot for both the third and fourth quarters.

Bourdais is joined on the ballot by NEXTEL Cup Champion Kurt Busch, NHRA PowerAde Pro Stock record-setter Greg Anderson, NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson, World of Outlaws legend Steve Kinser, NHRA PowerAde Top Fuel champ Tony Schumacher, and Indy Racing League winner Tony Kanaan.

The year-end winner is determined by 18 journalists' secret ballot votes and the overall winner of the fan votes on www.speedtv.com. Fan voting for the 2004 Driver of the Year award began on January 1 and will end on January 16, 2005. The winner will be announced exclusively on SPEED Channel January 24.