CHAMPCAR/CART: Denver: Bridgestone race report

Bumped at Beginning, Bourdais Bounces Back with Brilliant Drive Not even a first-lap incident that dropped him from pole position to 13th place could stop Sebastien Bourdais today. The Newman/Haas Racing driver and series points leader put his...

Bumped at Beginning, Bourdais Bounces Back with Brilliant Drive

Not even a first-lap incident that dropped him from pole position to 13th place could stop Sebastien Bourdais today. The Newman/Haas Racing driver and series points leader put his car and Bridgestone Potenza tires through the limits as he battled back through the field and went on to collect his fifth victory of the season and the eighth of his two-year Champ Car career.

Bridgestone brought its highest-grip street-course compound tire to Denver this year after using the intermediate compound the past two races here. Some were skeptical the softer compound could stand up to the rigors of a long run in race conditions, but Bourdais proved the doubters wrong. Late into his second stint, the driver of the McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola strung together a series of laps in the 61-second range on a set of tires with more than 20 laps on them, slicing a deficit of greater than 10 seconds to then-leader Paul Tracy in half. Bourdais owned 11 of the 14 laps in the race that were run in less than 62 seconds and, as if to put an exclamation point on the win, set the fastest lap of the race (61.256 seconds) on the next-to-last circuit of the 90-lap event.

"I finished the race with (laps of) 61.3 twice in a row, so the Bridgestone tires were obviously holding up very well," said Bourdais, who finished 7.446 seconds ahead of Paul Tracy. "It was kind of a struggle in the first stint because I was always in the back of somebody's car. When you are following someone, you are wearing out the tires faster due to the lack of downforce, yet still I was able to keep the balance and they gave me awesome grip so I was able to pass everybody one by one. I'm pretty happy with the package that Bridgestone brought to Denver."

Runner-up Tracy added, "The track was very slippery but I was able to make the Bridgestone tires last throughout the runs. We obviously didn't have the kind of grip that Bourdais had on his car, so we need to do our homework and get the car to work a little better."

Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport: "Bridgestone brought its softest street-course tire in our lineup to a difficult circuit, the conditions were hot with track temperatures reaching 130 degrees, yet the tire performance for the fastest cars was excellent. After Sebastien's early incident put him back to 13th place, it was thrilling for the fans to watch him drive back to the front again. Our congratulations to Sebastien and the entire Newman/Haas team on a 1-3 finish today. Denver is a great event for Bridgestone all around, including the Bridgestone Champ Car Night street party on Thursday, the Blizzak winter driving demonstrations all weekend in the Pepsi Center and capped off with a spectacular race today. It's an event we cannot wait to return to next year."

Race temperatures ranged from 118 to 130 degrees track and from 83 to 87 degrees ambient (F).

Race temperatures ranged from 48 to 54 degrees track and from 28 to 31 degrees ambient (C).

-bridgestone-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Tracy , Sébastien Bourdais