Carpentier Takes a Two-Fer at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Canadian Champ Car driver Patrick Carpentier has been knocking on Victory Lane's door throughout the 2004 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season, but until...
Carpentier Takes a Two-Fer at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Canadian Champ Car driver Patrick Carpentier has been knocking on Victory Lane's door throughout the 2004 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season, but until he arrived on the picturesque Monterey Peninsula in central California the likable veteran's efforts went in vain, even as he stayed in title contention.
Starting second on the 18-car grid with the #7 Indeck Lola/Ford- Cosworth/Bridgestone racer in the 79-lap Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterrey on the 2.238-mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca permanent road course, Carpentier waited out problems in front of him and led 40 laps en route to victory over Bruno Junqueira's #6 PacifiCare Lola, which finished more than five seconds in arrears. It was the second consecutive win at this track for Carpentier, who at one point led by 22 seconds. "I love the new soft compound Bridgestone tires," he crowed. "They really hook the Lola up!" He saved fuel, waited for teammate Paul Tracy to stop earlier, "so I pushed as hard as I could to run a very fast lap and we just gained our momentum from that point on."
Junqueira earned his 23rd podium and seventh in 11 races this year, despite crashing in Saturday morning practice and starting eighth. "I knew I had to finish and had to run in a strong position," Junqueira said. He gained on teammate and point leader Sebastien Bourdais, who finished eighth in the #2 McDonald's Lola and now leads by 275-251.
Third place went to Oriol Servia's yokeTV.com Lola, bringing the first podium to Dale Coyne Racing in more than eight years. The Catalonian suffered fuel system cutouts and two wheel-to-wheel altercations in the infamous Corkscrew turn. "We've been close in so many races that it is great to finally get the result," he said. Michel Jourdain Jr. earned fourth with the #9 Gigante Lola and declared himself "happy with the result considering all the incidents at the start of the race."
Ryan Hunter-Reay snagged his best finish in the #4 Herdez Lola since Road America with a fifth-place result, while Alex Tagliani, like so many recovered from early incidents to take sixth in the #8 Johnson Controls Lola. Point leader Bourdais' Lap one cut Bridgestone courtesy of tenth- finisher Paul Tracy's #1 Indeck Lola jinxed his race and the Frenchman called the day "a result that didn't equal the potential."
The Champ cars take their second venture on an oval this September 25th when they attack the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway with Race #12, the Bridgestone 400 Presented by Corona Saturday night fight.