CHAMPCAR/CART: Las Vegas: RSPORTS race report

RSPORTS HAS A BITTERSWEET FIRST RACE IN 2007 ON THE STREETS OF LAS VEGAS LAS VEGAS, Nevada (April 8, 2007) -- It was definitely a bittersweet day for RSPORTS as driver Justin Wilson did not finish the first Champ Car race in 2007 due to a ...

RSPORTS HAS A BITTERSWEET FIRST RACE IN 2007 ON THE STREETS OF LAS VEGAS

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (April 8, 2007) -- It was definitely a bittersweet day for RSPORTS as driver Justin Wilson did not finish the first Champ Car race in 2007 due to a mechanical failure, while teammate Alex Tagliani rounded out a solid top-five performance in today's inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Concerns began to return on the #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone after this morning's warm up session. Wilson finished the session in the tenth spot, and was not very happy with how the car had been behaving on track. The CDW crew worked hard to solve those issues, and they were content with car before starting the race and had hopes of a solid performance throughout the afternoon.

After starting eighth on today's grid, the 2006 Champ Car running-up drove the #9 CDW/RSPORTS Champ Car hard for as long as he could before a broken gearbox would end his day on Lap 20. It has been a tough weekend for the #9 crew, as they had been dealing with multiple issues that just were not resolved in time for Wilson to make a stronger 2007 debut.

Tagliani and the #8 LXN2 crew made some changes overnight which they thought would help them in today's race. However, during the morning warm up session, Tagliani decided that he did not prefer the changes, despite finishing second quickest in the 30-minute session. The team went back on the changes and made some other small adjustments to have a race ready car for this afternoon's event.

Tagliani, who started in the fourth spot, fought hard throughout the one hour and forty-five minute timed race. Completing 68 laps during that time period, the Las Vegas resident made a strong showing on the familiar streets and gave the local residents something to cheer about when he took the lead on Lap 28. The RSPORTS #8 LXN2 team decided to take a gamble with their race strategy, but it did not pay off for the team in their first event in 2007. However, there was some payback, as Tagliani took the checkered flag in the fourth spot and was able to earn 23 championship points during the first of 16 races on the 2007 Champ Car World Series schedule.

The next stop on the three-races-in-a-row Champ Car season kick off tour is Long Beach, California. Champ Car and RSPORTS will return to the familiar 1.968-mile temporary street course on April 13-15.

Quotes

Alex Tagliani #8 LXN2 Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone

"I am very happy with our overall results this first race. The LXN2 guys did a fantastic job for me all weekend and I want to thank them for all their hard work. We had little issues throughout the race, but we were able to finish in one piece. We came in early for our first pit stop, but that strategy ended up blocking us for a better finish as we had to stop three times, while others only made two stops. We definitely had a P2 car, we could have beaten (Paul) Tracy on strategy and Robert Doornbos on speed. But we will take a fourth place finish; it is a great way to start the season. Our goal is to win the Championship, and what is important is that we obtain as many points as we can. We have started out the season on a positive note and I think that this will be a great season for the entire RSPORTS team."

Justin Wilson #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone

"It was a tough day. It's really disappointing that we weren't able to go the distance in the #9 CDW/RSPORTS car. We'll have to go away and study what happened. But even before the problem we just weren't where we wanted to be today. We've got some work to do to get back on the pace."

Paul Gentilozzi, RSPORTS team co-owner

"We wish we could go back and change our strategy with the #8 LXN2/RSPORTS car, but it is what it is. We made a bet -- no better place to do it then Vegas, and it just didn't pay out for us. We will take P4, with no complaints. We had a fuel vent issue which caused us to be in the pits too long, which messed up our overall race strategy. So we feel we could have finished on the podium with Alex, but we take away some good championship points and are pleased with the overall weekend.

It is a shame with Justin. They were struggling for the last two days, and hoping that things could come together for the race. Things were starting to look bright for a while, but it didn't last long. Overall I think the two worked well together and RSPORTS is definitely going to be offering some competition to the rest of the Champ Car field this season!"

Dan Pettit, RSPORTS team co-owner

"It was a tough day and the #9 CDW crew had been struggling all weekend. Several issues arose during the race, but the car is in one piece. I do not think that we had a bad first showing this season. Alex did a tremendous job today finishing fourth and posting the fourth fastest-lap time in the race. So things are coming together for both sides, we just have to get through all the minor stuff and then we will be quite competitive. The season is just starting, there is a lot more to come, and I am very excited!"

-credit: rsports

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Alex Tagliani , Paul Gentilozzi , Robert Doornbos