CHAMPCAR/CART: Las Vegas: Newman/Haas Racing race report

McDONALD'S DRIVER BOURDAIS EARNED FOURTH WIN IN THE PAST FIVE RACES WITH TONIGHT'S VICTORY IN THE CHAMP CAR HURRICANE RELIEF 400 IN LAS VEGAS; PACIFICARE DRIVER BROUGHT THE TEAM CONSECUTIVE 1-2 FINISHES HERE OVERALL: Bourdais led a total of 53...

McDONALD'S DRIVER BOURDAIS EARNED FOURTH WIN IN THE PAST FIVE RACES WITH TONIGHT'S VICTORY IN THE CHAMP CAR HURRICANE RELIEF 400 IN LAS VEGAS; PACIFICARE DRIVER BROUGHT THE TEAM CONSECUTIVE 1-2 FINISHES HERE

OVERALL: Bourdais led a total of 53 laps in the 166 lap event and overcame an early-race setback when his shock cover flew off his race car and reduced his downforce approx. 200-300 pounds. On Lap 123, he made contact with the back of Paul Tracy's car when the Canadian quickly decelerated in an apparent attempt to come into the pits. In the driver's meeting prior to the race, it was agreed that the competitors would put two wheels below the white line on at a specific part of the track to signal that they were going to slow down and enter the pits. Servia challenged Bourdais and Tracy throughout the race and led six laps although he was within 0.5 to one-second of the leaders for the majority of the race.

Sebastien Bourdais, No. 1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "Well, the least I can say it's not been a smooth ride, I guess. We lost the front hatch on the early stage when I was behind Oriol, just before the first pit stop. From there on, I knew it was going to be pretty difficult. You know, the car was kind of draggy. It wasn't as fast. We lost quite a bit of downforce. We were wearing out the tires a little more than we were supposed to. The car was like a rock, really. When I was behind PT, it was just fine because obviously you don't have any pressure. But when I was running by myself, the car was a little slower, for sure. I was just more concerned about the level of downforce really because I'm pretty sure we lost a couple hundreds of pounds. Over the length of the stint we're using the tires significantly faster than anybody else. I had to just keep on my toes to just adjust the car. Every time I was starting to understeer a little, I had to do something, then it would oversteer. I would correct it all the time. It was a nerve-wracking race. I'm so glad it's over. I was a little bit afraid that it was going to be a tough race, but somehow I was able to stay in the tow of Tracy. I was getting ready to finish second because he was battling pretty hard to stay in front, even when he was saving fuel. I don't remember which stop it was, it must have been the third stop or something like that, just dragged me all the way up there in traffic, nearly stuffed me in the wall coming off turn two. Then I went to the left. Then he dragged me all the way to the left going to the white line. But he stayed there. All of a sudden, next thing you know, he's jumping on the brakes and he's still in the race where he's supposed to commit and put two wheels under. I was so surprised, I didn't even have time to brake before we made contact. I was right in his gearbox. It's a miracle we made it through. Quite a bumpy ride for the McDonald's car but, all in all, a very good result for the team. They got the reward for their hard work. I'm pretty sick of all this controversy with him because I think Tony Cotman made it pretty clear, he had a public statement at the end of the race saying Tracy was in the wrong, he didn't commit to the pits, and I had no idea he was going to pit. What can I say? The facts are talking for themselves. Once again, there's hiccups on the way with him. But all I can say is we extended the lead for the championship, and that's all that really matters now."

- FAST FACTS: Was his 15th win in the series, fourth in the past five races and fifth this season...Was his second race here. Started third last year and led 100 laps which included a wheel-to-wheel battle with his teammate Junqueira for the final 15 laps en route to a 0.066-second margin of victory over his teammate. Bourdais and Junqueira swapped the lead four times in the final seven laps as well as ran wheel to wheel for the final 20...Bourdais won four out of the past five race this weekend after victories in Edmonton, San Jose, Denver and Las Vegas....Leads the point standings with 310 over second place Oriol Servia's 243 (+67).

Oriol Servia, No. 2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "It's kind of frustrating (finishing second). Now my head is just going over the last 15 laps, what could I have done different, what if I would push it (push to pass) longer on the restart, you know, maybe pass him, then he would not have been able to pass me back. But at the end of the day, at that point you're just doing what you can. They were going to tell him on the radio whenever I was going to push it. He knew just pushing it as much as I was going to push it, he was going to stay ahead. I think it was pretty difficult at that point to get around him. I was able to go beside him, but then, you know, the juice was over, the push-to-pass was over, he was on the inside, had shorter line. There's not much I could do. It was good fun. At the beginning of the race, I was saving a little more fuel than both of them (Sebastien and Paul Tracy), hoping that maybe towards the end and on the third stop there was going to be a yellow on that three-, four-lap difference, then it would have been golden, two laps ahead of everybody. It would have been nice. We're gambling a little bit there. At the end, it was impossible to overtake. We touched wheels also. So I had both side pods marked. It was pretty exciting at 200 miles an hour. It was good race, and I'm very happy for the team to finish 1-2 again. For the championship, I don't know exactly how the points are, but obviously I must be a little better, a little more solid in second place. It's a good weekend for the PacifiCare team."J J - FAST FACTS: It is his seventh podium finish of the season, the 12th of his career...It was his second race here. Started last in the 18-car field after a car problem did not allow him to attempt to qualify. Gained approx. 10 positions at the start, led four laps but finished 12th...Is ranked second in the standings with 243 points to leader Bourdais' 310 (-67) while Paul Tracy is ranked third with 216 points.

- NEWMAN/HAAS RACING FACTS: NHR has won THREE races (Bourdais 2004 & 2005, Mario Andretti 1983) and earned a total of SIX podium finishes (2nd -- Servia 2005, Junqueira 2004, Ma. Andretti 1984) in Las Vegas.... Beginning with Cristiano da Matta's victory in Australia of '01, NHR has won 30 of the past 64 races...Since they began competition in 1983, Newman/Haas Racing is the most successful team competing in the Champ Car World Series and the second most successful overall open-wheel racing team competing today. Marlboro Team Penske (MTP) has earned 124 open-wheel wins and is in their 38th season while NHR has earned 89 and is in their 23rd. During the years that NHR has been in existence (1983-current) MTP has earned 85 wins while NHR has earned 89 wins (includes MTP's 7-24 Milwaukee win). Perhaps the most impressive detail however is the fact that NHR ran only one driver it's first six seasons (Mario Andretti) while MTP ran two-to-three drivers per season. From 1989 to present, NHR has been a two-car team while MTP expanded from a two car team to run three cars for three of those seasons.

-nhr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Mario Andretti , Sébastien Bourdais , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Team Penske