WHO'S HOT A.J. Allmendinger ( ...
A.J. Allmendinger (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) stayed alive in the 2006 title hunt with his victory in Road America. The American ace overcame a pair of large margins where he trailed Sebastien Bourdais by more than 10 seconds, then used a fast fuel stop to get in position for the pass that would give him the lead. In his two starts on the Gold Coast course Allmendinger has a top start of fourth, a runner up finish, and has led 6 laps.
For the first time since 2003 a rookie led the Champ Car field to the green flag as rookie contender Dan Clarke (#14 CTE Racing HVM Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) did the honors during the Grand Prix of Road America. His sixth place finish moved him into the top ten in the point standings, only 2 points out of eighth. It also moved him within seven points of taking the lead in the battle for Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year.
For Charles Zwolsman (#34 Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) it was a career day in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin as he posted his best qualifying effort and best finish of his rookie season. After a consistent race the Dutchman brought home his car in the seventh position. Going into Surfers the rookie looks to continue a string of six consecutive top-ten runs, which currently ties him for the most by a rookie contender this season.
Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) continued his quiet, yet strong 2006 season collecting his ninth top-five run of the season in Elkhart Lake. Currently the lanky Brit holds the distinction of completing the most laps this season, finishing 1,088 of 1,126 laps possible and is third in the point standings. In two starts in Surfers Paradise Wilson has yet to start or finish outside of the top eight.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
2005 Lexmark Indy 300 Champion Sebastien Bourdais returns in form to try to break the stretch of fifteen years without a repeat winner in the event. In three appearances at the track Bourdais has yet to start off of the front row. Along with last year's victory he also has one podium finish, and has led 38 laps on the Gold Coast.
The last time Bruno Junqueira (#2 Hole in the Wall Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) competed on the Australian Street Course at Surfers he ended his race day in Victory Lane. In his last three appearances on the Gold Coast the Brazilian has not qualified worse than third and has led 55 laps.
Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has led more laps at Surfers Paradise than any other driver that will be competing there this weekend. In twelve appearances the Canadian veteran has started in the top-five ten times, collecting a pole position in 2004. Tracy also has visited Victory Lane in Australia capturing the top prize in 1995.
Oriol Servia (#6 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) returns to the site where he won his one and only Champ Car pole last year. Servia paced qualifying in Surfers last season but was shunted aside in a first-lap incident. Despite falling to the back of the field, Servia battled back to score a fifth-place finish.
In his rookie season in 2002 Mario Dominguez (#8 Pemex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was a quick study of the Surfers Paradise course as he took home his first career victory on the Australian streets. In four starts on the Gold Coast the Mexican has three top-ten starts and finishes.
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.
Bonus points not withstanding, Sebastien Bourdais needs to finish ninth or better to clinch the 2006 Champ Car title this weekend.
In the fifteen years that the Champ Car World Series has raced on the Gold Coast, there has yet to be a repeat winner. This is the longest streak by any track in Champ Car history. This year there are four drivers in the field this year that can end the streak (Sebastien Bourdais, Bruno Junqueira, Paul Tracy and Mario Dominguez).
Five Australian drivers have taken the green flag during a Champ Car race in Surfers Paradise. Gary Brabham was the first racing in both the 1992 and 1993 events. He was followed by Jason Bright (2000), David Besnard (2004), Marcus Marshall (2005) and Will Power (2005). Last year marked the first time there was more than one Aussie in the field for the Lexmark Indy 300.
The highest finish for an Australian was in 2004 when David Besnard started the day in seventeenth before picking up ten spots during the day, bringing his car home in the seventh position.
Nineteen is most laps that have eclipsed in an event in Surfers Paradise before a starter has fallen out of the race. This mark was set in 2004 when Alex Tagliani fell out due to contact on lap 19.
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.
BY THE NUMBERS
316,459 -- The attendance record for set during last year's race weekend. 17 -- The furthest back any driver has come back to win from in Surfers Paradise (Adrian Fernandez, 2000). 7 -- The most official lead changes to be recorded in an Australian Champ Car race (set in 1992 and 2001). 6 -- The highest number of drivers to lead laps during a race in Surfers Paradise (1992 and 2000). 9 -- The record for cautions during the Lexmark Indy 300 (2003). 3 -- How many times the winner has started from the pole position in Surfers Paradise (Nigel Mansell, 1993; Jimmy Vasser, 1996; Dario Franchitti, 1999). 1 -- How many times the Australian Champ Car race has been run caution free.
WHAT: Lexmark Indy 300
WHERE: Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia
WHEN: Friday--Sunday, October 20-22
SUPPORT EVENTS: V8 Supercars, V8 Utes, Aussie Racing Cars, Carrera Cup
CHAMP CAR SCHEDULE (All times local): FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20 -- 10:10 - 11:25 a.m., Champ Car practice; 1:50 - 2:50 p.m., Champ Car qualifying. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21 - 10:00--11:00 a.m., Champ Car practice; 2:00 - 3:00 p.m., Champ Car qualifying. SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22 - 9:00 - 9:30 a.m., Champ Car warmup; 1:10 p.m. LEXMARK INDY 300
U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE (Eastern Time): SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22 - Lexmark Indy 300 qualifying, SPEED, 3:00 p.m.; Lexmark Indy 300, SPEED, 3:30 p.m. (tape-delayed)
TRACK LAYOUT: 2.795-mile street course
RACE LENGTH: 59 laps (164.905 miles)
TRACK RECORDS: Qualifying (one lap) -- 2002, Cristiano da Matta, 1:30.936 seconds (111.547 mph). Race -- 2001, Cristiano da Matta, 1:51:47.260 (97.511 mph) based on 65 laps (181.675 miles)
RACE ROUND: 13 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, 338; 2, A.J. Allmendinger, Forsythe Championship Racing, 280; 3, Justin Wilson, RuSPORT, 269; 4, Paul Tracy, Forsythe Championship Racing, 184; 5, Nelson Philippe, CTE Racing - HVM, 182.
INSTANT REPLAY: The 15th running of the Lexmark Indy 300 lived up to its billing as one of the most unpredictable races anywhere in the world, although the winner was not as much of a surprise. Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais became the third driver in the last four years to clinch the series championship with a win, coming from second on the grid to score the victory. Bourdais was the 15th different winner in the 15 Australia events, extending a series-record streak for the event that sees the Aussie event hold the mark for the longest stretch without a repeat winner. Oriol Servia scored the first pole of his six-year Champ Car career, but was shunted aside in the first turn after contact with Cristiano da Matta and Mario Dominguez. Paul Tracy came out of the first turn with the lead and held it for the first 19 laps, before Bourdais took the lead during the first round of pit stops. A balky gearbox ended Tracy's challenge, but A.J. Allmendinger took up the charge, battling Bourdais over the latter half of the race before settling for second. A crowd of 105,297 watched Bourdais climb the victory stand followed by Allmendinger, while Jimmy Vasser came home in third for what appears to be the final podium of his storied career. Alex Tagliani finished fourth, although not before drawing the ire of his adopted countrymen when he was involved in a collision with Australian rookie Will Power. Servia battled back from his opening-lap trouble to finish fifth.