CHAMPCAR/CART: Las Vegas: Pre-race notes, schedule

Champ Car Hurricane Relief 400 WHOS HOT Oriol Servia ( ...

Champ Car Hurricane Relief 400

WHOS HOT

Oriol Servia (#2 Pacificare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) may have only led one lap in Montreal, but it was the most important one, as he learned when he recorded his first career victory. Servia's win vaulted him into second in the points standings. Last year in Las Vegas the Spaniard was able to lead four laps, before finishing in 12th place. Servia scored a podium finish in Champ Car's most recent oval race, placing second in Milwaukee

Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has been the face of consistency this year winning four races and finishing in the top-five nine of the year's 10 races with a series leading average finish of 3.1 this season. In Montreal the Frenchman led every practice and qualifying session, but after a problematic pit stop he was regulated back to fourth. Bourdais currently leads the points standings by 61 points over his Newman Haas teammate. Last year in Las Vegas Bourdais led a race-high 100 laps, and outdueled teammate Bruno Junqueira for the win, beating him to the line by .066 seconds.

Timo Glock (#8 DHL Global Mail Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) brought home his first career podium in Montreal. On a pit strategy call the German took the top spot with twenty laps to go in the race. He fought tenaciously too keep the lead away from a hard charging Servia, but lost the lead on a Steward's decision after straight-lining the final chicane on two occasions. Going into Vegas Glock leads the Roshfrans rookie of the year contest by 27 points over Ronnie Bremer (#19 American Medical Response Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone).

Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) brought home his second podium and seventh top-five finish this season in Montreal. It was the first time he has seen the podium since his win in Toronto. The Brit has had a solid season thus far finding himself only nine points out of second in the points standings. In his pervious start in Las Vegas, Wilson gained seven spots from his starting position finishing eighth.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

Rodolfo Lavin (#55 HVM Inc. Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) after not having a ride going into 2005, will be making his fourth start with HVM this season in Las Vegas. Last year in Sin City, Lavin had a consistent race starting in the sixth position, before bringing his car home fourth.

Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) is always a driver to watch on the ovals. Earlier this season he captured the pole in Milwaukee and led 15 laps before finishing fifth. Last year in Las Vegas Vasser started on the outside pole and was in the fifth position when the checkered flag fell.

A.J. Allmendinger (#10 Western Union Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has been solid on the ovals in his short Champ Car career finishing sixth or better in each of the three circle-track starts. Last year in Las Vegas Allmendinger had a solid day starting in the seventh spot and coming home sixth. Earlier this year in Milwaukee Allmendinger captured his best career oval finish when he finished second.

DID YOU KNOW

Major league auto racing made its debut in Las Vegas in 1954 when a hundred-mile national championship race (the series which evolved into what Champ Car is now) was run. The one mile dirt track was a former horse racing track found behind the old Thunderbird hotel. The race victor was Jimmy Bryan, who won the last four races that season and the 1954 championship. After that initial appearance Champ Cars did not return to Vegas for several years, but racing did not disappear. In 1966, the Stardust Raceway opened for business. The 3-mile road course hosted major auto races from 1966-68 with Bobby Unser winning the one and only Champ Car race there in 1968. Champ Car staged two races in 1983 and 1984, with Caesars Parking lot configured into a modified oval consisting of five turns. The unique design produced some exciting racing, with Mario Andretti winning in 1983 and Tom Sneva out dueling Al Unser Sr. in the 1984 season finale, in which Andretti clinched the season championship by surviving a spectacular late-race spin with John Paul Jr. It's still possible to take a lap around the old racing circuit, but you had better bring your credit card, as the Forum Shops at Caesars were erected on what used to be the front straightaway. In 1996 Las Vegas Motor Speedway opened and hosted a wide variety of racing series. It wasn't until 2004 that Champ Car made its first start on the 1.5 mile oval with Sebastien Bourdais walking away as the victor.

NOTEWORTHY

Series points leader Sebastien Bourdais as completed all but one of the 1,017 laps run so far this season, a completion percentage of 99.90 percent. This is the second-best lap-completion percentage in series history, second only to A.J. Foyt, who missed just one of the 1,550 laps run in 1963 on his way to the series title.

Newman Haas has an amazing record in Las Vegas whether on the Caesar's Palace course or on the oval. In its first year of existence in 1983 Newman Haas racing won its second race with driver Mario Andretti in Las Vegas. Then in 1984, they came back to finish second to Tom Sneva. When Champ Car returned to Las Vegas, this time on the oval, Newman Haas cars finished first (Bourdais) and second (Junqueira). Going into Vegas this weekend the Newman Haas team has never finished lower than second in a Las Vegas event.

Oriol Servia's win in Montreal makes him the ninth driver in the 18-car field to have a Champ Car victory on his resume. Timo Glock's second-place run in that race makes him the 12th driver in the Vegas field to have scored a podium finish in the series.

Oriol Servia scored his first victory in Montreal on his 95th career Champ Car start. Amazingly enough, the current Champ Car driver with the highest amount of starts without a victory is third-year driver Rodolfo Lavin, who has 35 series starts. Michel Jourdain Jr. holds the series record for starts before his first win, running 125 races before his 2003 win in Milwaukee.

BY THE NUMBERS

100,000 -- Approximately the number of hotel rooms found in the Las Vegas area. 42,000- tons of asphalt was used in the building of LVMS. 1,600 -- The number of acres LVMS covers in the desert200 -- Number of light poles around LVMS. 106 -- How many teams can occupy the air-conditioned garages in the LVMS infield. 100 -- Number of laps Bourdais led on the way to his 2004 victory at LVMS. 12 -- Degrees of banking found in the turns at LVMS2 -- How many races the Newman-Haas team has won in Las Vegas. 1.5 -- Miles, how far a lap at LVMS is. .066 -- The margin of victory Bourdais won by in 2004.

FAST FACTS

WHAT: Champ Car Hurricane Relief 400

WHERE: Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nevada

WHEN: Friday -- Saturday, September 23-24

EVENT SCHEDULE (All times local):

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23
Champ Car rookie practice, 12:00 -- 12:45 p.m.
Champ Car full field practice, 12:45 -- 2:30 p.m.
Champ Car qualifying, 4:30 -- 6:00 p.m.
Champ Car practice, 8:00 -- 9:30 p.m.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24
Champ Car warmup, 4:15 -- 4:45 p.m.
LAS VEGAS CHAMP CAR 400, 8:30 p.m. (approximate time)

U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE:
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 -- SPEED Channel, Las Vegas Champ Car 400, 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

2004 CHAMPION: Sebastien Bourdais
2004 POLESITTER: Patrick Carpentier

TRACK LAYOUT:  1.5-mile superspeedway oval

RACE LENGTH: 166 laps (249.000 miles)

TRACK RECORDS: Qualifying (one lap) -- 2004, Patrick Carpentier, 206.186 mph (26.190 seconds). Race -- 2004, Sebastien Bourdais, 167.832 mph (1:29:01.061), based on 166 laps (249.000 miles).

RACE ROUND: 11 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, 276; 2, Oriol Servia, Newman/Haas Racing, 215; 3, Paul Tracy, Forsythe Championship Racing, 211; 4, Justin Wilson, RuSPORT, 204; 5, A.J. Allmendinger, RuSPORT, 164.

NEXT EVENT: October 16, Champ Car Grand Prix of Korea, Ansan, South Korea.

-ccws-

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