CHAMPCAR/CART: Road America: Pre-race notes, schedule

WHO'S HOT It may have taken two days thanks to Mother Nature, but Sebastien Bourdais ( ...

WHO'S HOT

It may have taken two days thanks to Mother Nature, but Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) conquered the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve for the first time in his career while notching his sixth victory of the season. As a result the "Flying Frenchman" widened his point lead to sixty-two points over the duo of A.J. Allmendinger (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone).

CTE Racing HVM continued to run strong in Montreal as the squad saw both their drivers finish in the top five for the second race in a row, for the first time in team history. Nelson Philippe (#4 CTE Racing HVM Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) finished on the podium for the second time in his career and for the first time on a road course. With his third consecutive top-five finish the Frenchman held on to the fourth position in the point standings. Rookie Dan Clarke (#14 CTE Racing HVM Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) earned his sixth top-ten run this season. His fourth place finish moved him up two spots in the point standings into eleventh, just a single point from cracking into the top-ten.

Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) continued his run for Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year when he turned in his sixth consecutive top-ten run this season in Montreal. With a fifth place finish Power moved into sixth place in the point standings, just six points from breaking into the top-five. Power leads the rookie standings by 20 points over Dan Clarke.

Rookie competitor Nicky Pastorelli (#8 Curacao Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) turned in his best career finish of sixth in Montreal. Pastorelli started 17th on the grid and picked up eleven spots during the day, earning the point for gaining the most positions.

In Montreal, Charles Zwolsman (#34 Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) brought home another career best result when he finished in the eighth position. Going into Road America the rookie looks to continue a string of five consecutive top-ten runs, second-longest of the season by a rookie. Last year in Atlantic competition in Elkhart Lake, Zwolsman had a strong top-five run.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

The last time the Champ Car World Series visited Road America Alex Tagliani (#15 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) celebrated his first career Champ Car victory. Tagliani charged up through the field from a thirteenth place starting position to take the checkered flag. The Canadian has led 39 laps around the historic road course and has three consecutive podiums at Road America dating back to 2002.

In his rookie year in 2001 Bruno Junqueira (#2 Hole in the Wall Camps Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) showed he knew how to tame the curves of Road America when he notched his first career win. Since then the Brazilian has recorded a pole position, and led the 2003 event wire-to-wire to score a second victory on the Wisconsin course.

Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) is another driver that excelled at Road America early in his career. In his first appearance there in 1992 the Canadian won the pole position and led five laps, earning the first pole of Champ Car career. The next year Tracy returned and took not only the pole position, but won the race leading it wire-to-wire. In all Tracy has three pole positions, two victories, and has led 119 laps in Elkhart Lake.

Last year at Road America, Tonis Kasemets (#18 Flexvoit Abrasives Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) recorded his third victory of the Atlantic season by starting from the pole position and leading all 17 laps. Kasemets, who hails from Estonia but now lives just a couple hours away from Elkhart Lake in Mundelein, Illinois, has two top-five finishes on his adopted home track from his time in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship.

NOTEWORTHY

Sebastien Bourdais, A.J. Allmendinger and Justin Wilson are the only drivers to win Champ Car races this year through 11 events. The record for fewest winners in a season is three, that coming in 1964 when A.J. Foyt won 10 of 13 races while Parnelli Jones (two) and Lloyd Ruby (one) shared the other three.

Nelson Philippe scored a third-place finish in Montreal, marking the first time in his young Champ Car career that he has scored three consecutive top-five results.

Alex Tagliani has earned podium finishes in each of his last three trips to Road America, making it the only track where Tagliani has earned three straight podium finishes.

Of the three drivers to have completed at least 1,000 of the 1,075 laps run this year, two of them are rookies. Justin Wilson leads in laps completed with 1,037 with first-year pilots Will Power (1,017) and Katherine Legge (1,007) following behind.

Paul Tracy's penalty of seven championship points stemming from an incident in San Jose made him the second driver this season to have points deducted from his total. Mario Dominguez also lost seven points for his actions in Milwaukee. This is the first time since 2000 (Oriol Servia, Michael Andretti) that two drivers have been penalized with the loss of points in the same season.

Justin Wilson leads the Bridgestone Passion For Excellence Award after 11 races, pacing Will Power by more than three seconds. Wilson would be the first person other than Sebastien Bourdais to win the award in this, the fourth year that the honor has been given.

In the Nation's Cup standings, France has run out to a 34-point lead over England after 11 events. Dan Clarke's third-place finish in Montreal kept England close, while A.J. Allmendinger's mechanical trouble dropped the U.S. a distant 63 points behind France.

DID YOU KNOW?

In 1950 the Elkhart Lake Businessman's Association decided to organize a series of road races throughout the town. They called upon the Chicago Region Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) to help organize the first road race at Elkhart Lake. The 1950 circuit start-finish line was on County Road P. Competitors went north to County Road J, then South into the Village of Elkhart Lake, and West on what is now County JP, and reconnected with County Road P for a total distance of 3.3 miles. For the next two races, in 1951 and 1952, a different course was used. It was 6.5 miles long, on County Roads J, A, and P. Today, you can still drive the original courses as they have not changed much with time. In 1955, Cliff Tufte started what is now known as Road America, in a configuration that has changed little over the past 50 years. In 1982 Champ Car made its first visit with a rain-disrupted race won by Hector Rebaque. Today, Road America is one of the oldest road-racing courses in North America and is also the longest natural road racing facility in North America. In 2005, Road America celebrated not only its 50th anniversary, but also the track's inclusion to the Register of Historic Places. The Road America race circuit is one of only two preserved circuits in the United States given this prestigious honor.

BY THE NUMBERS

119 -- The most laps any active driver has led in Elkhart Lake (Paul Tracy). 24 -- This year will be the 24th time a Champ Car race has been ran in Road America. 7 -- How many drivers have recorded their first career wins on the Elkhart Lake circuit. 7 -- How many Champ Car races have been won from the pole position on the Wisconsin road course. 2 --How many members of the Villeneuve family that have recorded their first career Champ Car wins in Road America (1995 CART Champion Jacques Villeneuve won his first race in 1994 and his uncle Jacques Villeneuve also won his first race there in 1985).

FAST FACTS

CHAMP CAR GRAND PRIX OF ROAD AMERICA

WHAT: Champ Car Grand Prix of Road America

WHERE: Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

WHEN: Friday--Sunday, September 22-24

SUPPORT EVENTS: Champ Car Atlantic, Formula Ford 2000, SCCA Mazda MX-5, Skip Barber National

CHAMP CAR SCHEDULE (All times local): FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 -- 8:00 - 9:20 a.m., Atlantic practice; 10:15 - 11:30 a.m., Champ Car practice; 1:00 - 1:45, Atlantic qualifying; 2:00 - 3:00 p.m., Champ Car qualifying. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 - 8:45--9:40 a.m., Atlantic practice; 10:30--11:30 a.m., Champ Car practice; 1:00 - 1:45 p.m.; Atlantic qualifying; 2:00 - 3:00 p.m., Champ Car qualifying. SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 - 8:00 - 8:15 a.m., Atlantic warmup; 9:00 - 9:30 a.m., Champ Car warmup; 10:30 - 11:30 a.m., Atlantic race; 1:00 p.m. CHAMP CAR GRAND PRIX OF ROAD AMERICA

U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE (Eastern Time): SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 - Champ Car Grand Prix of Road America qualifying, SPEED, 11:30 p.m.; Champ Car Grand Prix of Road America, SPEED, 2:00 p.m. (Live)

TRACK LAYOUT: 4.048-mile road course

RACE LENGTH: 51 laps (214.544 miles)

TRACK RECORDS: Qualifying (one lap) -- 2000, Dario Franchitti, 1:39.866 seconds (145.924 mph). Race -- 2002, Cristiano da Matta, 1:56:43.030 (124.856 mph) based on 60 laps (242.880 miles)

RACE ROUND: 12 of 14 in the 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.

2006 CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES POINTS LEADERS: 1, Sebastien Bourdais, Newman/Haas Racing, 310; 2, A.J. Allmendinger, Forsythe Championship Racing and Justin Wilson, RuSPORT, 248; 4, Nelson Philippe, CTE Racing - HVM, 175; 5, Paul Tracy, Forsythe Championship Racing, 173.

INSTANT REPLAY 2004: Alex Tagliani came from 13th on the grid to score his first Champ Car victory as well as the first for Rocketsports Racing, leading Rodolfo Lavin and Sebastien Bourdais to the checkered flag. Tagliani changed up his pit strategy on Lap 15, leading a pack of five cars that got off sequence in response to a Roberto Gonzalez spin. Two-time Road America winner Bruno Junqueira spun just two laps later, putting the Tagliani car in the proverbial catbird seat. He traded the lead with Paul Tracy during mid-race pit stops, and then had to run down Lavin after their final stops, making the pass for the lead on Lap 43. A late yellow set the stage for one more restart but Tagliani was equal to the task and rolled to the win.

-credit: ccws

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve , Justin Wilson , Michael Andretti , Bruno Junqueira , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Mario Dominguez , Parnelli Jones , Sébastien Bourdais , A.J. Allmendinger , Katherine Legge , Rodolfo Lavin , Skip Barber , Roberto Gonzalez , Nelson Philippe , Charles Zwolsman , Lloyd Ruby , Will Power , Tonis Kasemets , Nicky Pastorelli , Cristiano da Matta , Dan Clarke