CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Bridgestone race report

Bourdais does a late-night McDrive-thru into victory Lane Sebastien Bourdais thought he was cursed on North American soil in the Champ Car World Series, but armed with new sponsorship from McDonald's he ended the jinx in impressive fashion by...

Bourdais does a late-night McDrive-thru into victory Lane

Sebastien Bourdais thought he was cursed on North American soil in the Champ Car World Series, but armed with new sponsorship from McDonald's he ended the jinx in impressive fashion by capturing the first nighttime road race in Championship Auto Racing Teams' 25-year history.

Bourdais, in the McDonald's/Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola on Bridgestone tires, ran second until the third pit stop of the 115-lap race. He edged leader Paul Tracy out of the pits and proceeded to rapidly build an advantage of more than 10 seconds. The sensational Champ Car rookie continued on to victory even after a collision with Adrian Fernandez that damaged Bourdais' car just ahead of the left rear tire.

Afterward, Bourdais credited the Potenza racing radials for contributing to the victory - especially in the decisive stint where he pulled away from Tracy.

"I knew that if I was able to hang on for the first two runs, we were going to short fill (on fuel) and with the new tires we had a chance to overtake," said Bourdais. "We overtook Paul in the pits and I just had to put in a big gap to secure the position. I was in clean air, which made a big difference, and we put in some front wing, which helped to use the best of the new tires. The Bridgestone tires were so consistent and the grip was so high. It was incredible!"

Bourdais' first two wins this season came in England and Germany, but he had several other possible victories taken away by varying misfortunes. He and Tracy are now tied for the series lead with three victories apiece this season. All drivers in the Champ Car World Series compete on Bridgestone Potenzas, the Official Tire of CART.

Quote from Brett Schilling, Senior Chemist, Bridgestone Motorsport:

"Once again we saw the Champ Car drivers pushing their machines to the limits tonight, and the Potenza race tires were there every step of the way. The tire wear rate was quite good, despite the blazing laps that were run at near-qualifying speeds all night. We were especially impressed with the stint Sebastien Bourdais ran once he got into the lead. He was clocking consistent laps in the low 59-second range, reaching for every bit of speed he could find, and the Bridgestone tires answered the call. The fans, including a large contingent from Bridgestone/Firestone, were treated to an exciting debut of night racing in Cleveland and we're pleased to have been a part of this memorable evening."

Race temperatures ranged from 87 to 84 degrees track and from 82 to 81 degrees ambient (F). Race temperatures ranged from 31 to 29 degrees track and from 28 to 27 degrees ambient (C).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Paul Tracy , Sébastien Bourdais