CHAMPCAR/CART: 2004 Champ Car Awards Banquet report

Sebastien Bourdais Leads Hardware Parade at 2004 Champ Car Awards Banquet MEXICO CITY (November 9, 2004) -- Newman/Haas Racing's Sebastien Bourdais ( ...

Sebastien Bourdais Leads Hardware Parade at 2004 Champ Car Awards Banquet

MEXICO CITY (November 9, 2004) -- Newman/Haas Racing's Sebastien Bourdais (#2 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) had a big day Sunday as he clinched his first Champ Car World Series title, then followed that day with an equally big evening in Mexico City at the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford Awards Banquet.

Bourdais officially received the Vanderbilt Cup from Champ Car President and CEO Dick Eidswick Sunday night, adding the big trophy to a plethora of awards bestowed upon him after his win in Sunday's Telmex/Tecate Presented by Banamex. The series champion received a check for $750,000 for winning the series title, another $100,000 award for winning the Corona Cup and a $20,000 award given by the Robert Bosch Corporation.

In addition, Bourdais won the Bridgestone Passion For Excellence Award for the second consecutive season. The Bridgestone Passion For Excellence Award adds every driver's fastest laps from every race together, with the award going to the driver that has the lowest aggregate time over the season. Bourdais's combined time was more than five seconds faster than his next-quickest competitor, earning him the award of a one-of-a-kind painting by motorsports artist Jim Swintal. Swintal, who serves as the Champ Car Clerk of Course, created a painting depicting Bourdais' come-from-behind victory in this year's Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver. Bourdais was also awarded a brand-new Ford Mustang as a prize from the Ford Motor Company for winning the series championship.

But Bourdais was not the only driver to leave Mexico City with platitudes for their season's accomplishments. Second-year driver Rodolfo Lavin (#3 Corona Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was voted as the series Most Improved Driver and received a $10,000 check from the Robert Bosch Corporation after a season that saw him finish 14th in the season standings. A.J. Allmendinger (#10 Western Union Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) scored his second podium finish of the year six hours earlier, then officially received his award as the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year that evening. The Champ Car World Series also announced a donation of $16,000 to the Hole in the Wall Camps founded by Newman/Haas Racing co-owner Paul Newman.

Ryan Hunter-Reay (#4 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was named as the winner of the fifth annual Greg Moore Legacy Award, an award that honors the driver that most typifies the skills and spirit of the late Canadian star. Paul Tracy (#1 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), Patrick Carpentier (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Alex Tagliani (#8 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) accepted the Nations Cup for Canada after leading the Great White North to its second consecutive award.

Martin Birrane accepted the Constructor's Championship for Lola for the second consecutive season, celebrating a season that saw the chassis manufacturer wins all 14 races and all 14 poles over the course of the year. In addition, each of the top-10 drivers in the points were given their season-ending trophies and bonus checks, with the third-placed Carpentier, series runner-up Bruno Junquiera (#6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Bourdais making heartfelt acceptance speeches upon receiving their awards.

-ccws-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Paul Newman , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Sébastien Bourdais , A.J. Allmendinger , Martin Birrane , Greg Moore