CHAMPCAR/CART: Denver: Pre-race notes, facts, schedule

WHO'S HOT Sebastien Bourdais ( ...

WHO'S HOT

Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonalds Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was the man to beat in San Jose. After starting from the pole position, Bourdais kept his car upfront on an exigent street course and in the process extended his points lead to 28 points over Paul Tracy. This weekend Bourdais will be going for his third consecutive win at a track he was quite successful on last year, leaving the "Mile High City" with both the pole and victory.

Oriol Servia (#2 Pacificare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has been on a roll, scoring five podium finishes in six races. Last week in Denver the Spaniard started from the outside pole and was able to hold off a hard charging Justin Wilson to take the third position. In his last two Denver starts Servia has two top-ten finishes, his best coming in 2003 when he finished third and led 30 laps around the tricky street course.

Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola Bridgestone) chased Bourdais all over San Jose, but came up short of taking home the top spot. Tracy's second place last week marked his sixth podium finish in eight Champ Car races this season. In the "Mile High City" Tracy has never placed outside of the top ten. Last year he came home second, leading 40 laps on the day.

Justin Wilson (#9 Intel/RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has scored four consecutive top 10 finishes including his first Champ Car victory in Toronto. In San Jose, Wilson just came short of scoring a podium finish, finishing fourth after starting in the ninth position on a track that was extremely difficult to pass on.

Ronnie Bremer (# 19 American Medical Response/Dale Coyne Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has found a new momentum since joining Dale Coyne Racing after the Molson Indy Toronto. In his two rides in the Dale Coyne machine the rookie has recorded two top ten finishes, making up at least nine spots in each event. This weekend the Ronnie returns to Denver after recording his first Toyota Atlantic victory there one year ago.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

Nelson Philippe (#34 Wellbox/Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) earned the best starting spot of his Champ Car career in San Jose when he gridded sixth.

2004 Roshfrans Rookie of the year A.J. Allmendinger (#10 CDW/RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has shown streaks of brilliance with strong qualifying efforts and scoring the pole position in Edmonton. This weekend will mark another "home event" for Allmendinger since RuSPORT makes its home in Loveland, Colorado. Allmendinger has recorded one Toyota Atlantic win in Denver in 2003 and backed that up when he moved up to Champ Car by finishing 5th in last year's race.

After joining the Forsythe Racing team a few days before Long Beach, Mario Dominguez (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) is quietly moving his way back to the front. After two weeks of finishing in the fifth position Dominguez looks to build on those efforts in Denver. In three previous starts in the "Mile High City" the Mexican has one top-five and one top-ten finish to his credit.

Bjorn Wirdheim (#4 HVM Inc. Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) not only left San Jose with a consistent 8th place finish, he also led 11 laps around the demanding street circuit. It was the second time this rookie had led, the first coming in Monterrey when he paced 18 circuits.

DID YOU KNOW?

Denver, the capital of Colorado, was established by a party of prospectors on November 22, 1858, after a gold discovery at the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River. Town founders named the dusty crossroads for James W. Denver, Governor of Kansas Territory, of which eastern Colorado was then a part. Denver is also a sprawling city in a state of long distances and mountainous obstacles. To tackle long distances and tough terrain, Coloradans have become auto-dependent. Denver has one of the highest per-capita motor vehicle ownership rates in the country--with an average of one licensed vehicle for every man, woman and child. The first Grand Prix race was held in Denver in 1990 when Al Unser Jr. took the checkered flag. Champ Car returned to the "Mile High City" in 1991 when Al Unser Jr. once again left victorious. After those two races Champ Car took a hiatus from Denver but returned in 2002 and has been holding events there ever since.

NOTEWORTHY

Alex Tagliani will make his 100th Champ Car start when he takes the green flag in Denver. All of those starts have come consecutively, making him just the 13th driver in series history to make 100 consecutive starts.

This weekend Sebastien Bourdais will be attempting to take the checkered flag in the top position for the third consecutive time. The last time Bourdais was able to pull off the 'hat trick' was last year when he was victorious in Portland, Cleveland, and Toronto.

Paul Tracy and Sebastien Bourdais are the only drivers to win multiple Bridgestone Pole Awards and have multiple victories this season. Oddly enough five different drivers have started from the top position and five different drivers have taken home victories in the eight events this season.

Paul Tracy leads the series in qualifying average with an average starting spot of 2.63 after eight events. He has started in the top five in every event this season, his worst start being fifth in Milwaukee.

BY THE NUMBERS

840 -- Laps completed this year (of a possible 841) by Sebastien Bourdais. 215 -- Total Denver laps led by Bruno Junqueira (of a possible 296) in the last three years. 72 -- The average temperature in August in Denver. 11 -- The number of laps Bourdais led last year on the way to his victory in Denver. 10- The number of rounds that will take place in the WBC Super Lightweight Continental Americas Championship the night before the Grand Prix. 9 -- Fewest number of cars on the lead lap at the end of a Denver race. 2.1 -- The millions of people that call the Denver Metro Area Home. 4 -- The number of drivers that have led laps in the three Denver events. 3 -- The number of drivers in the field that have a victory in Denver. 2- Times in the last three years that the margin-of-victory in Denver has been less than a half-second. 1.65 -- The length of the Denver course.

Fast Facts:

WHAT: Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver presented by PacifiCare

WHERE:  Denver, Colorado

WHEN: Friday -- Sunday, August 12-14

SUPPORT EVENTS: Toyota Atlantic Championship, Trans-Am Series, Formula BMW, SPEED World Challenge Touring and GT Series, Formula Drift

CHAMP CAR SCHEDULE (All times local):

FRIDAY, AUGUST 12
Atlantic practice, 8:15 -- 8:45 a.m.
Champ Car practice, 10:15 -- 11:30 a.m.
Trans-Am practice, 11:45 a.m. -- 12:15 p.m
Atlantic qualifying, 1:15 -- 1:45 p.m.
Champ Car qualifying, 2:00 -- 3:00 p.m.
Trans-Am qualifying, 4:00 -- 4:30 p.m.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 13
Trans-Am practice, 8:45 -- 9:05 a.m.
Atlantic qualifying, 9:20 -- 10:15 a.m.
Champ Car practice, 10:30 -- 11:30 a.m.
Champ Car qualifying, 2:00 -- 3:00 p.m.
Trans-Am race, 4:30 -- 5:45 p.m.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 14
Atlantic warmup, 8:30 -- 8:45 a.m.
Champ Car warmup, 9:30 -- 10:00 a.m.
Atlantic race, 11:30 a.m. -- 12:15 p.m.
CENTRIX FINANCIAL GRAND PRIX OF DENVER PRESENTED BY PACIFICARE, 1:45 p.m.

U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE:

SUNDAY, AUGUST 14 -- SPEED Channel, Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver presented by PacifiCare. Qualifying show begins at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time with live race coverage to follow at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.

2004 CHAMPION:  Sebastien Bourdais

2004 POLESITTER: Sebastien Bourdais

TRACK LAYOUT: 1.657-mile street course
RACE LENGTH: 97 laps (160.729 miles) or two hours, whichever occurs first

TRACK RECORDS: Qualifying (one lap) -- 2004, Sebastien Bourdais, 99.516 mph (59.942 seconds). Race -- 2004, Sebastien Bourdais, 89.103 mph (1:40:25.232), based on 90 laps (149.130 miles).

RACE ROUND: 9 of 14 in the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.

CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES POINTS LEADERS: 1, Sebastien Bourdais, Newman/Haas Racing, 216; 2, Paul Tracy, Forsythe Championship Racing, 188; 3, Justin Wilson, RuSPORT, 175; 4, Oriol Servia, Newman/Haas Racing, 160; 5, A.J. Allmendinger, RuSPORT, 126;

NEXT EVENT: August 28, Molson Indy Montreal, Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

INSTANT REPLAY: Sebastien Bourdais put forth the most impressive drive of his young Champ Car career in Denver last season, coming from the back of the pack to take the victory. Bourdais started on the pole but never made it through the first corner as contact with teammate Bruno Junqueira resulted in a spin that dropped him to 13h in the field. He made up ground quickly and was back in the top five by the time the first round of pit stops came into play. Junqueira and Paul Tracy swapped the lead between themselves while Bourdais labored to the front, with Bourdais passing Junqueira for third with 25 laps to go. A fortuitous caution flag erased Tracy's 11-second lead over Mario Dominguez and Bourdais, allowing Bourdais to close on the pair. He passed the Mexican on the restart and needed just two more laps to get past Tracy, taking the lead for good on Lap 80 of the 90-lap event. Tracy settled for second with Junqueira, Dominguez and rookie A.J. Allmendinger rounding out the top five.

-ccws-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Al Unser Jr. , Bruno Junqueira , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Mario Dominguez , Sébastien Bourdais , A.J. Allmendinger , Bjorn Wirdheim , Nelson Philippe , Ronnie Bremer , Dale Coyne , Al Unser
Teams Dale Coyne Racing