CHAMPCAR/CART: San Jose: Newman/Haas Racing preview

INAUGURAL TAYLOR WOODROW GRAND PRIX OF SAN JOSE A MILESTONE EVENT FOR CHAMP CAR AND NEWMAN/HAAS RACING WHO WILL COMPETE IN THEIR 375TH EVENT SAN JOSE, California (July 27, 2005) --- This weekend's Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose is not...

INAUGURAL TAYLOR WOODROW GRAND PRIX OF SAN JOSE A MILESTONE EVENT FOR CHAMP CAR AND NEWMAN/HAAS RACING WHO WILL COMPETE IN THEIR 375TH EVENT

SAN JOSE, California (July 27, 2005) --- This weekend's Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose is not only an inaugural event and marks the beginning of the second half of the 14-race Champ Car World Series, it is also a milestone 375th event for Newman/Haas Racing (NHR). Although leading the championship battle with McDonald's0x00ae driver Sebastien Bourdais and ranked fourth with PacifiCare driver Oriol Servia, the team hopes to maintain the momentum that saw them earn their first 1-2 finish since the 2004 season-finale in Mexico City at the previous race in Edmonton, Canada and make progress in their bid to earn their first consecutive title and sixth overall.

"The season has been kind of difficult so far but the McDonald's team is leading the championship and maybe after the win in Edmonton things have begun to turn around," said Bourdais who turned a mistake-free race into victory after starting 10th -- one of only two non top-six starts in his career. "Hopefully we can keep the lead leaving San Jose and move forward for the rest of the races. We have had some frustrations in many of the events and have not had the kind of finishes we would have liked to have but we'll see how it goes in the second half of the season. Definitely we would like to see the luck turn around as it did in Edmonton and start some momentum."

At the halfway point in the 14-race season, Bourdais holds a 21-point lead over second place Paul Tracy (161) and 30 over third place Justin Wilson (152). PacifiCare driver Oriol Servia is only 26 points out of second place (135) while A.J. Allmendinger is fifth with 122.

San Jose is the second of three new venues on the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford schedule, with Ansan, Korea coming in Round 12 of 14. The 11-turn temporary San Jose track layout will provide a number of challenges for the drivers, including a sharp braking zone where they will decelerate from speeds upward of 170 mph to 35 mph in order to navigate the Turn Three hairpin. The 1.443-mile course winds around the McEnery Convention Center but despite the many "unknowns" Bourdais is confident in Newman/Haas Racing's ability to make educated guesses.

"There are quite a bit of unknowns with this new track," said Bourdais who is one of five different winners in seven races this season. "There are not a whole lot of corners so it should be pretty straight forward. We just don't' know exactly what kind of surface we're going to hit there but hopefully we are going to have a nice venue, a good crowd and another great new event. Obviously it's harder for the team than it is for us drivers to go to a new track. We just go out and drive the car but they have to figure out a setup well in advance of getting to town and they have to anticipate many things like the gear ratios, ride height, what kind of grip your going to get out of the track which dictates what kind of spring rates you use and other things. There is a lot of guessing for a new track but Newman/Haas has been pretty good at it."

After earning 85 wins, 88 pole positions and 211 podium finishes in their 23 seasons of Champ Car competition to date, NHR would like to earn the same result their 350th event brought them -- a 1-2 finish in the 2003 event in Denver by Bruno Junqueira and Bourdais. So far in 2005 the team has earned three wins (2-Bourdais, 1-Junqueira) and nine podium finishes with PacifiCare driver Oriol Servia earning four of those in only five races with the team since subbing for Junqueira who is recuperating from injury. After stringing together three podium finishes in a row for the first time in his Champ Car career, Servia is on a roll and feels there is no reason not to continue the success.

"The relationship couldn't be better," said Servia of his experience at NHR. "From the first minute I joined the team I got a huge amount of support from all of the team members, the owners and my sponsor PacifiCare so it's been great. The good thing is that every session we go out, it's better, better, better! We're getting closer and closer to the P1 position. I knew we weren't the fastest out there in Toronto when I was leading but sometimes things happen in racing and you can win even if you aren't the fastest. Four podiums in five races for the PacifiCare team with the past two being second place is pretty good and we are hoping to continue this in San Jose. We're really working to get the PacifiCare car to P1, which is what the team deserves."

NHR SAN JOSE -- ADD ONE

Although the team has never competed on this course, they have experienced some success in California. Over the years they have earned 10 wins and 16 pole positions in the state. The wins include four in Long Beach (Bourdais 2005; Mario Andretti 1987, 1985, 1984), four in Monterrey (da Matta 2002; Michael Andretti 1992, 1991 -- 2 times) and two in Fontana (da Matta 2001, Fittipaldi 2000). Their 16 poles in California include eight in Long Beach (Junqueira 2004; Mi. Andretti 1995; Mansell 1993; Mi. Andretti 1992, 1991; Ma. Andretti 1987, 1985, 1984) and eight in Monterrey (Bourdais 2004, da Matta 2002, Mi. Andretti 1992, 1991, 1991*, Ma. Andretti 1987, 1986, 1984). In total they have earned 31 top-three finishes in California and hope to add to that this weekend.

San Jose is known as the "Capital of Silicon Valley" as 6,600 high technology companies call it home. Currently, it is the largest city in the Bay Area, the third largest in the state of California behind Los Angeles and San Diego and the 10th largest in the U.S. The fans that turnout for the inaugural race will most likely cheer on their local favorites A.J. Allmendinger of Los Gatos and Jimmy Vasser of nearby Morgan Hill, under postcard-like conditions in a city that has an average of 300 days of sunshine a year. Although Servia hails from Catalonia, Spain, he is sure to have many of those in attendance rooting for him as sponsor PacifiCare is based in California and has many customers in the area.

"I think it's great to race in San Jose," said Servia. "It's definitely the high tech heart of the state and probably the world so I think it's important for a high tech series like us to be racing in that area. We will be close to the people and in a PacifiCare market so I think its going to be very important for the series and the team to not only race there but to run well."

"I think street racing is obviously a big attraction for the racing series," added Bourdais. "We're going where the interest is. I heard a lot of very good things that are going to happen for the future. Champ Car is on the way up and that's a very good sign."

The Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose will get underway with qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday, with the inaugural event taking the green flag at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time on Sunday, July 31. The television coverage will begin at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time on SPEED Channel with a 30-minute show of highlights from qualifying, with live race coverage to follow immediately after.

Driver Stats and Quotes:

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, #1 McDonald'sFord-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

- IN EDMONTON: Will be his first race here.

- LEADING 2005 CCWS STANDINGS: Ended a series active record for most top-three starts at 15 with his fourth place qualifying effort at the season-opener in Long Beach but led a total of 37 laps and drove to victory in an exciting race that had seven different leaders...Was fastest on Fri. & and Sat.'s qualifying in Monterrey, Mexico, and led the first 17 laps but contact with P. Tracy while attempting to pass him caused an extra pit stop to replace his flat tire and ultimately limited his finish to fifth ...Started sixth on the oval in Milwaukee and was in podium contention when he exceeded the speed limit (55 in a 50) on his last stop and dropped to a sixth place finish but regained the points lead by seven over 2nd (Wilson)...Started fifth in Portland after losing his fastest laps in Fri. & Sat.'s qualifying sessions. Finished second in the event after leading seven laps to increase his points lead to 11 over second (Tracy)...Started third and finished fifth in Cleveland and lost the points lead to Tracy who won from pole...Regained pts. lead after finishing fifth in Toronto. Started from pole and led the first 34 laps before contact with Tracy while the two were racing out of the pits limited his result...Extended points lead from 15 over second place to 21 after his win from a 10th place start in Edmonton...Leads the standings with 182 points to second place Tracy's 161 after Round 7/14.

- RECORD FOR WINS: With his 12th win in his 39th start (Edmonton) he bettered Alex Zanardi's record of 12 wins in 41 starts.

- 2004 OVERVIEW: In 14 CCWS events, he won SEVEN races and EIGHT poles as well as set the fastest race lap six times en route to the championship in only his second season in the series...Became the first since former NHR driver da Matta (2002 -- 19 total races) to earn seven poles in one season before breaking that record with eighth in season-finale...Is the first driver to have made 14 consecutive top-three starts to begin a season as well as the first driver to have started in the top-three 15 consecutive times, dating back to the 2003 season-finale in Mexico City...Earned a total of 369 points over second place finisher and teammate Bruno Junqueira's 341.

- 12 WINS / 15 POLES: Bourdais has earned 11 WINS ('03 -- England, Germany & Cleveland; '04 -- Monterrey, Portland, Cleveland, Toronto, Denver, Las Vegas, Mexico City; '05 Long Beach, Edmonton) and 15 POLES ('03 -- St. Pete, Monterrey, Germany, Cleveland, Australia; '04 -- Monterrey, Portland, Toronto, Elkhart Lake, Denver, Montreal, Laguna Seca, Mexico City; '05 -- Monterrey, Toronto).

ORIOL SERVIA, #2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

- IN EDMONTON: Will be his first race here.

- 4TH IN 2005 CCWS STANDINGS: Ran first two races with Dale Coyne Racing...Started 14th in season-opener in Long Beach and finished 11th...Started seventh in Monterrey, Mexico and was in second place late in the race before he spun and ultimately finished ninth in the event and ranked 13th in the point standings...Made his debut for NHR in Milwaukee as the replacement for Junqueira who was injured in the Indy 500 on May 29. Qualified ninth and went on to pass his new teammate Bourdais and ultimately finish third and move up to sixth place in the standings...On June 9 was named to drive the PacifiCare car until Junqueira recuperates...Started 12th in Portland and had pitted in fourth place after running fifth when his drive shaft failed and he retired in 16th place...Started sixth and finished third in Cleveland as well as set the fastest race lap...Earned his best qualifying position with team of fourth place in Toronto and matched his best career finish of second place after he led 20 laps but lost the lead with 11 to go...Started fourth, led two laps and finished second in Edmonton to move from his fifth place rank in the standings to fourth with 135 points to leader Bourdais' 182 after Round 7/14.

- NINE PODIUM FINISHES TO DATE: Of his nine career top-three podium finishes, his highest is second place at Toronto & Edmonton (2005 with NHR) and 2003 events in Milwaukee and Montreal. He finished third in Cleveland & Milwaukee (NHR, 2005), Laguna Seca (2004), Denver (2003) and Detroit (2000).

- HIGHEST CHAMP CAR START: His best career start is second place in Montreal and Denver in 2003.

What They're Saying About....

Sebastien Bourdais, #1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

(How the season has gone so far?) "The season has been kind of difficult so far but the McDonald's team is leading the championship and maybe after the win in Edmonton things have begun to turn around. Hopefully we can keep the lead leaving San Jose and move forward for the rest of the races. We have had some frustrations in many of the events and have not had the kind of finishes we would have liked to have but we'll see how it goes in the second half of the season. Definitely we would like to see the luck turn around as it did in Edmonton and start some momentum.

"There are quite a bit of unknowns with this new track. There are not a whole lot of corners so it should be pretty straight forward. We just don't' know exactly what kind of surface we're going to hit there but hopefully we are going to have a nice venue, a good crowd and another great new event. Obviously it's harder for the team than it is for us drivers to go to a new track. We just go out and drive the car but they have to figure out a setup well in advance of getting to town and they have to anticipate many things like the gear ratios, ride height, what kind of grip your going to get out of the track which dictates what kind of spring rates you use and other things. There is a lot of guessing for a new track but Newman/Haas has been pretty good at it.J

"I think street racing is obviously a big attraction for the racing series. We're going where the interest is. I heard a lot of very good things that are going to happen for the future. Champ Car is on the way up and that's a very good sign."

Oriol Servia, #2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

(How has your relationship with the team progressed?) "The relationship couldn't be better. From the first minute I joined the team I got a huge amount of support from all of the team members, the owners and my sponsor PacifiCare so it's been great. The good thing is that every session we go out, it's better, better, better! We're getting closer and closer to the P1 position. I knew we weren't the fastest out there in Toronto when I was leading but sometimes things happen in racing and you can win even if you aren't the fastest. Unfortunately Wilson was a little faster and got by me. Then at the end when the yellow came out, I had some Push to Pass left and he didn't so I was hoping for a restart but the race ended under yellow. Four podiums in five races for the PacifiCare team with the past two being second place is pretty good and we are hoping to continue this in San Jose. We're really working to get the PacifiCare car to P1, which is what the team deserves. I

I think it's great to race in San Jose. It's definitely the high tech heart of the state and probably the world so I think it's important for a high tech series like us to be racing in that area. We will be close to the people and in a PacifiCare market so I think its going to be very important for the series and the team to not only race there but to run well."

"I have only been able to look at the track map. The Newman/Haas team has done a lot of preparation for this event. They do a lot of simulation work on the computer and we were very well prepared for the new track in Edmonton. The cars were good in Edmonton and we finished 1-2 there so hopefully we can do the same in San Jose."

-nhr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy , Alex Zanardi , Oriol Servia , Mario Andretti , Sébastien Bourdais , A.J. Allmendinger , Dale Coyne