CHAMPCAR/CART: Monterrey: Newman/Haas Racing race report

PACIFICARE DRIVER JUNQUEIRA WON THE TECATE/TELMEX MONTERREY GRAND PRIX; EARNED FOURTH WIN FOR NEWMAN/HAAS RACING IN MONTERREY; McDONALD'S DRIVER BOURDAIS FINISHED FIFTH DUE TO COMPLICATION AFTER STARTING FROM POLE - PacifiCare driver Bruno ...

PACIFICARE DRIVER JUNQUEIRA WON THE TECATE/TELMEX MONTERREY GRAND PRIX; EARNED FOURTH WIN FOR NEWMAN/HAAS RACING IN MONTERREY; McDONALD'S DRIVER BOURDAIS FINISHED FIFTH DUE TO COMPLICATION AFTER STARTING FROM POLE

- PacifiCare driver Bruno Junqueira led the final 9 laps of the 76-lap Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix to earn the eighth win of his career as well as take over the Champ Car World Series points lead with a one-point advantage over teammate Sebastien Bourdais after Round 2 of 14. The win was the fourth for Newman/Haas Racing (NHR) in the five events held at the 2.104-mile temporary road course at Fundidora Park and first by Junqueira here as well as the sixth podium finish by the team at this venue. It was also the 25th victory in the past 55 Champ Car races. Junqueira was hindered by a boost problem during qualifying that limited him to a fifth place start. In temperatures approaching 100 degrees, he held his starting position through the first caution period and until his first pit stop on Lap 17 during the second caution period for rookie Ronnie Bremer. He returned to the race in his same position but moved into fourth place on Lap 29 when Nelson Philippe, who was out of pit sync with the frontrunner made a pit stop. He held the position through two more caution periods for Ricardo Sperafico and Jimmy Vasser before he moved into third place by Lap 39. He made his second pit stop on Lap 46 and returned to the race in eighth place during the caution period for Timo Glock and Jimmy Vasser who made contact. He returned to the field in eighth place behind drivers that had yet to make their second stops but moved into fourth place after fifth place runner Paul Tracy and sixth place runner Bourdais made contact while Bourdais was passing the Canadian on Lap 48. Former NHR driver Cristiano da Matta also sustained damage in the incident and the three returned to the pits for various repair or to retire from the race. Junqueira was now running behind three cars that were on an alternate pit strategy and theoretically would need to pit for fuel if the race continued without a caution. Mario Dominguez and Vasser brought out the seventh caution of the day when they came into contact and thus extended leader Philippe, Bjorn Wirdheim and Oriol Servia's run on limited fuel. Philippe pitted during the caution and Junqueira moved up to third place on Lap 58. Once the race returned to green he held his positions but moved into second place on Lap 61 when Servia lost control of his race car and Junqueira narrowly missed being collected by the incident. The eighth caution period of the race came out on Lap 63 when A.J. Allmendinger spun and stalled his race car. The race went green on Lap 67 and Junqueira was unable to pass then leader Wirdheim but successfully pulled off the pass on Lap 68. On Lap 69 the final caution period of the race came out for Glock and Philippe who made contact. On the restart, Junqueira was able to hold off rookie Andrew Ranger, who had maintained a top four rank in the closing stages of the race, and won by a margin of 1.3 seconds. He earned a total of 32 points during the race.

"It's really hard to be mistake free on a hot day like today and I think you saw drivers making mistakes that they normally wouldn't make because of the heat," said Junqueira. "I think the fact that I train in the heat of the day makes a difference. The PacifiCare car was really good and I am very happy to get my first win of the season."

- McDonald's driver Sebastien Bourdais started the 76-lap Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix race from pole and led a total of 17 laps but had to settle for a fifth place finish due to a race hindered by contact with Paul Tracy. He earned the provisional pole on Friday and the broke his own track record in qualifying on Saturday but was unable to experience the McDonald's team's potential in the race on Sunday. The temperatures continued to rise during the weekend and race day saw conditions approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit. He held his position at the start of the race and thorough the first two of nine caution periods during the race. During the second caution period he made his first pit stop and returned to the track behind Paul Tracy who the team felt had violated the pit procedure by driving in the "slow" lane entering the pits. Despite a quick stop by the McDonald's team he returned to the track in fourth place behind two drivers that were out of sync with the pit sequence of the front runners and behind Tracy. He held the position through a caution period for Ricardo Sperifico and until he moved into third place on Lap 29 when temporary leader Nelson Philippe pitted for fuel. He held third place through two more caution period and subsequent restarts when he moved into second place behind Tracy on Lap 39 when previous second place runner Bjorn Wirdheim made a pit stop. He made his second pit stop on Lap 46 during the caution period for Timo Glock and Jimmy Vasser and the team felt that Tracy again violated a pit rule by crossing over the directional lines. He returned to the track in sixth place behind others out of pit sequence. On Lap 48 he attempted to pass Tracy for position and the Canadian did not give him space to complete the pass and the two collided. Cristiano da Matta was apparently included in the accident as the three each returned to the pits for repair. Tracy was unable to continue but Bourdais received a replacement for his right rear tire and returned to the track with da Matta. He steadily moved up in the ranking and was in seventh place by Lap 63 of 76 before a caution came out to remove the car of A.J. Allmendinger who spun and stalled his car. Be held his position through the restart and the ninth and final caution of the race when Timo Glock and Philippe made contact. He passed Ryan Hunter-Reay after the restart and then was briefly passed by da Matta when he was held up behind slower cars. By the time the checkered flag flew he had moved into fifth place. He collected 23 points for his finish and a total of 25 during the weekend. Following are his post-race comments:

"We lost another race thanks to Tracy," said a disappointed Bourdais. "He was goofing around in pit in and pit out. He doesn't give you any room when you are trying to pass him and things like that but that's usual PT. As much as I like him because he's a nice guy, he's just not on the race track. It's got to stop. Somehow it's got to stop."

- Up Next...The team will run two Newman/Haas Team CENTRIX cars in the Indy Racing League-sanctioned Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 29 for Junqueira and Bourdais who qualified 12th and 15th respectively. The following Saturday they will compete in the Time Warner Cable Grand Prix of Milwaukee, Round 3 of the Champ Car World Series on Saturday, June 4.J J - NEWMAN/HAAS RACING AND PENSKE TIED FOR WINS DURING SAME PERIOD...With 84 wins, 87 pole positions and 205 podium finishes since their first season of 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 122 open-wheel wins and is in their 38th season while NHR has earned 84 and is in their 23rd. During the years that NHR has been in existence (1983-current) MTP has earned 84 overall open-wheel wins while NHR has earned the same. 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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Series IndyCar
Drivers Ricardo Sperafico , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Mario Dominguez , Mario Andretti , Sébastien Bourdais , A.J. Allmendinger , Bjorn Wirdheim , Nelson Philippe , Ronnie Bremer , Andrew Ranger , Timo Glock , Cristiano da Matta