Newman/Haas Duo Provide Double Down in the Desert Thrills Bourdais leads Junqueira to flags in sixth closest Champ Car race; Carpentier third The season-long chase for the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford ...
Newman/Haas Duo Provide Double Down in the Desert Thrills
Bourdais leads Junqueira to flags in sixth closest Champ Car race; Carpentier third
The season-long chase for the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford championship has come down to three drivers, two races and one chassis after tonight's Bridgestone 400 Presented by Corona on the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway oval.
Point leader Sebastien Bourdais won a thrilling and safe race in his #2 McDonald's Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone Champ car by 0.066 seconds over his Newman/Haas Racing teammate Bruno Junqueira's #6 PacifiCare Lola. Patrick Carpentier earned third podium slot with the #7 Indeck/Forsythe Championship Racing Lola to keep his title hopes alive. Only this trio have any hope of taking home Champ Car's Vanderbilt Cup after the final two races of the 14-event 2004 campaign are run.
Bourdais battled to the finish with Junqueira, overcoming the team's need to make two engine swaps on race day and a pit stop refueling problem to lead 100 of 166 laps on a warm desert night, taking his sixth win of the season. "I was flat out all around and all credit to the team who gave me a perfect set-up for the race," Bourdais reflected. "I could run anywhere on the track with my Lola."
Junqueira was aggravated to take second to the Frenchman but said, "I'm very frustrated with the outcome because my Lola was perfect tonight. This was a clean race with Sebastien and Patrick and, anytime you bring it home in one piece with a race like this, it's a good race." Polesitter Carpentier overcame gearbox prrep woes to take third and considered this second oval contest of the year "a fun race. I enjoyed it. We made a few changes and overall the Lola was good."
This trio paces the point standings and is in combat for the title. Bourdais continues to show his rear wing to Junqueira 307-280, while Carpentier takes sole possession of third place with 241 points. The next contest for the Champ Car World Series takes place at Surfers Paradise, Australia on the 24th of October; the season finale is set for Mexico City on November 7th.