CHAMPCAR/CART: Monterrey: Pre-race notes, facts, schedule

The Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford Monterrey, Mexico WHO'S HOT 2004 Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais ( ...

The Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford
Monterrey, Mexico

WHO'S HOT

2004 Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola Bridgestone) picked up where he left off in 2004, coming from fourth place on the grid to win the season-opening Grand Prix of Long Beach for the 11th win of his career.

Teammate to Bourdais, Bruno Junqueira (#2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) ran up front all day in Long Beach and came home in the third spot, extending his streak to seven consecutive podium finishes dating back to the end of the 2004 season. He is one of just 11 drivers in series history to score seven consecutive podium finishes.

2003 series champion Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) showed that he is ready to back up his quotes about taking back the Vanderbilt Cup in 2005. The veteran scored the 23rd pole of his career by leading Long Beach qualifying and he paced 23 laps en route to a second-place finish in the race.

Justin Wilson (#9 SanDisk Ford-Cosworth/Lola Bridgestone) celebrated his move to RuSPORT for 2005 by matching his career-best finish in his first trip with the Colorado-based team. The big Englishman qualified fifth and came home a strong fourth in the season opener, and also scored an extra championship point by leading a lap in the race.

Popular Mexican pilot Mario Dominguez (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) also celebrated an offseason move with a strong performance. The fourth-year driver qualified third in his first race with Forsythe Championship Racing and finished fifth in Long Beach for the third straight season.

Champ Car welcomed its share of rookies in the 2005 season opener but none had a better day than Timo Glock (#8 Deustch Post Speed Academy Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone). The German qualified sixth for his first Champ Car race and stayed in the hunt all day, eventually finishing sixth. The result put him atop the standings for the series' Rookie-of-the-Year title.

Former Toyota Atlantic competitor Ronnie Bremer (#55 HVM Inc. Ford-Cosworth/Lola Bridgestone) had an equally impressive Champ Car debut in Long Beach, finishing seventh and leading two laps. Bremer became the first series rookie to lead a lap in his debut since Sebastien Bourdais turned the trick by pacing the field in his 2003 debut on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

2002 series champion Cristiano da Matta (#21 Bell Micro Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) returns to the same Fundidora Park layout where he posted wins in the first two series visits to Monterrey. Da Matta won from the outside of the front row in 2001 and came from fifth to win in 2002.

Sebastien Bourdais has scored back-to-back poles in Monterrey heading into the 2005 event. If he wins the pole for this year's event, he will be the first driver since Rick Mears 1989-91 to win three consecutive poles at a track currently on the Champ Car schedule.

Paul Tracy enters this year's Monterrey race as the holder of the event record for most laps led in a race. The Canadian led 69 trips around the 2.104-mile course in taking his 2003 victory.

Alex Tagliani (#15 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) is one of six drivers that have competed in each of the four previous Champ Car races in Monterrey, but is the only one of those drivers to have finished in the top five on three separate occasions. Tagliani has scored three consecutive top-five runs in Monterrey including a podium finish of third in 2003.

DID YOU KNOW?

Fundidora Park, which has hosted the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford for the last four seasons, is the site of the very first foundry for steel making in Latin America. The foundry shut down years ago, but gained new life and fame in 2001 when it emerged as the centerpiece of the park. 127 pieces of steel-making equipment dot the grounds as do the buildings that once housed one of the giants of the Mexican steel industry. Three museums, a concert stage and a 17,000-seat arena are also on the grounds of the park.

NOTEWORTHY

This year's Champ Car field will feature four past Champ Car World Series champions. 2004 champ Sebastien Bourdais, 2003 champ Paul Tracy, 2002 champ Cristiano da Matta (#21 PKV Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), and 1996 champ Jimmy Vasser will compete against one another and 14 other drivers in a battle to reclaim the ultimate prize, the Vanderbilt Cup.

Da Matta returns to Fundidora Park after two years away in Formula 1, in essence returning as a two-time defending race champion. The Brazilian won the Monterrey race in 2001 and 2002 before jetting off to Formula 1.

The 2.104-mile temporary layout in Fundidora Park will host the Champ Cars for the fifth time with this year's edition of the event. Six drivers in this year's field have the distinction of competing in all five events including 2003 winner Paul Tracy, Jimmy Vasser, Alex Tagliani, Oriol Servia, Michel Jourdain Jr. and Bruno Junqueira.

Of the 19 expected starters at Fundidora Park, only two will be making their first-ever trip to the facility. Rookies Timo Glock and Marcus Marshall will be making their Mexican debut in 2005. Fellow rookies Ronnie Bremer and Andrew Ranger competed in last year's Toyota Atlantic event on the 2.106-mile road course.

BY THE NUMBERS

84 -- Number of laps led by Cristiano da Matta in his two Monterrey wins -- the most by a Champ Car driver. 69 -- Number of laps led by Paul Tracy in his 2003 win, a single-event record for Monterrey. 15 -- Starting spot of the only Monterrey podium finisher ever to have started outside the top five (Paul Tracy, 2001). 9 -- Number of the most lead changes in a Monterrey event. (2004) 6 -- Highest number of different race leaders in a Monterrey race. (2002,2004) 5- Deepest starting spot to have yielded a Monterrey winner. (da Matta, 2002) 3 -- Number of times the winner in Monterrey has gone on to win the championship. Also the number of rookies that have led race laps in Monterrey. 1 -- Number of times the race has been won from the pole position. (Bourdais, 2004)

PRONUNCIATION
* Ronnie Bremer (BREH-mur)
* Sebastien Bourdais (Boor-DAY)
* Bruno Junqueira (Joon-CARE-ah)
* Alex Tagliani (Tag-lee-AH-nee)
* Oriol Servia (SIR-vee-ah)
* Nelson Philippe (Fill-EEP)

FAST FACTS

WHAT: Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix Presented by Roshfrans

WHERE:  Fundidora Park, Monterrey, Mexico

WHEN: Friday-Sunday, May 20-22

SUPPORT EVENTS: Toyota Atlantic, Formula Renault, Clio Cup

CHAMP CAR SCHEDULE (All times local):

FRIDAY, MAY 20
10:15 -- 11:30 a.m., Champ Car practice
2:00 -- 3:00 p.m., Champ Car qualifying

SATURDAY, MAY 21
10:30 -- 11:30 a.m., Champ Car practice
2:00 -- 3:00 p.m., Champ Car qualifying

SUNDAY, MAY 22
10:45 -- 11:15 a.m., Champ Car warmup
2:45 p.m., TECATE/TELMEX MONTERREY GRAND PRIX PRESENTED BY ROSHFRANS

U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE:

SATURDAY, MAY 21
Bridgestone Pole Qualifying Show, 8:30 p.m. SPEED Channel.

SUNDAY, MAY 22
Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix Presented by Roshfrans, 11p.m. SPEED Channel

2004 CHAMPION: Sebastien Bourdais
2004 POLESITTER: Sebastien Bourdais

TRACK LAYOUT: 2.104-mile temporary road circuit
RACE LENGTH: 76 laps, 159.904 mph

TRACK RECORDS:
Qualifying (one lap) -- 2004, Sebastien Bourdais, 102.474 mph (1:13.915).
Race -- 2002, Cristiano da Matta, 90.544 mph (1:58:30.642) based on 85 laps (178.840 miles)

RACE ROUND: 2 of 14 in the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.

2005 CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES POINTS LEADERS: 1, Sebastien Bourdais, Newman/Haas Racing, 34; 2, Paul Tracy, Forsythe Championship Racing, 29; 3, Bruno Junqueira, Newman/Haas Racing, 27; 4, Justin Wilson, RuSPORT, 24; 5, Mario Dominguez, Forsythe Championship Racing, 22.

-ccws-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Mario Dominguez , Rick Mears , Sébastien Bourdais , Nelson Philippe , Ronnie Bremer , Andrew Ranger , Timo Glock , Cristiano da Matta , Michel Jourdain