CHAMPCAR/CART: Bourdais' IROC Daytona, day one notes

McDonald's Driver Bourdais Completed 1st Test in IROC Car DAYTONA, Fla. (February 9, 2005) --- Reigning Champ Car World Series Champion Sebastien Bourdais completed his first day of testing in preparation for the 2005 Crown Royal International...

McDonald's Driver Bourdais Completed 1st Test in IROC Car

DAYTONA, Fla. (February 9, 2005) --- Reigning Champ Car World Series Champion Sebastien Bourdais completed his first day of testing in preparation for the 2005 Crown Royal International Race of Champions (IROC) Series and is looking forward to the first of four races to be held at Daytona International Speedway on February 16.

"The test went well," said Bourdais, 25. "The car was not complicated to drive once it was set up well. At first it was very loose and everyone was saying the same thing so they made some changes and the car was much better. It's a safe, stable car; it doesn't move around at all whether you are between cars, on the outside or on the inside. Your success comes down to putting your car in the right place and getting others to work with you in the draft. We ran in groups of four today and I ran mostly with Danny (Lasoski), Bobby (Hamilton) and Jay Sauter and his dad who set up and maintain the cars. Everyone was very nice and helpful; they are used to drivers coming in that don't have any experience with the cars or tracks. I'm looking forward to the race; it's going to be fun!"

Bourdais will become the first defending series champion since Jimmy Vasser competed in the series in 1997 following his 1996 Champ Car title. Bourdais will also be only the second Newman/Haas Racing driver that has participated in the IROC series. Mario Andretti competed in the series twice (1987 & 1988) while with the team and six times overall (1976, 1978, 1979, 1980) as well as earned the title in 1979. Mario's son Michael Andretti ran in the IROC series in 1987 prior to joining the team in 1989.

"Sebastien did great, and he is a pleasure to work with," said Jay Signore, IROC President. "He was able to give us excellent feedback on the performance of the IROC cars, which are completely different animals than what he is used to driving. Today was our first day on the track with the race cars and we were working Sebastien, Bobby Hamilton and Danny Lasoski in the practice cars and simultaneously, shaking down the race cars. We were loose across the board this morning, but by the afternoon we had the cars dialed in better and all of the drivers were very complimentary of Sebastien's abilities having no experience in this arena. His goal is to come back next week and start logging laps in the IROC cars, because he understands experience is the best teacher here at Daytona, and from what I've seen today, he'll be an A-Student."

"Sebastien did very well with us here today," added Jay Sauter, Crown Royal IROC test driver. "Having never been in a stock car, especially here at Daytona where the draft is critical, he adapted very quickly and did so throughout the course of the day as we stepped through adjustments on the race cars.We were fighting a bit of a loose condition here today and it was probably a good thing for Sebastien to experience. We made some adjustments to correct for the track conditions and he responded to the changes immediately."

Bourdais will compete against other reigning champions such as Kurt Busch (NASCAR Nextel Cup), Bobby Hamilton (NASCAR Craftsman truck), Steve Kinser (World of Outlaws), Max Papis and Scott Pruett (Grand Am co-champions) and Martin Truex Jr. (NASCAR Busch). Other competitors include past champions Matt Kenseth (2003 NASCAR Nextel Cup and IROC champion), Mark Martin (4-time IROC champion), Helio Castroneves and Buddy Rice (both winners of the Indy 500) and Danny Lasoski (2001 World of Outlaws champion).

Twelve drivers will compete in equally prepared cars for grand prize of $1 million dollars that will be given to the driver with the most points. Following the season-opener at Daytona (February 18), the series will compete at Texas Motor Speedway (April 15), followed by Richmond International Raceway (September 8) and conclude at the Atlanta Motor Speedway (October 29). The events will be televised on SPEED TV.

Newman/Haas Racing, owned by actor/race car driver Paul Newman and racing entrepreneur Carl A. Haas, is the most successful team competing in the Champ Car World Series. The team will begin their 23rd season in Champ Car competition in 2005 and will attempt to score their sixth overall title after winning 82 races and 86 pole positions. Current drivers Bruno Junqueira and Sebastien Bourdais were preceded at the team by Mario and Michael Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Paul Tracy, Christian Fittipaldi and Cristiano da Matta. For more information log on to www.newman-haas.com, www.sebastien-bourdais.com, www.brunojunqueira.com, or www.champcarworldseries.com.

-NHR-

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About this article
Series IndyCar , IROC
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Matt Kenseth , Jay Sauter , Kurt Busch , Helio Castroneves , Michael Andretti , Max Papis , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Nigel Mansell , Scott Pruett , Mario Andretti , Paul Newman , Danny Lasoski , Sébastien Bourdais , Buddy Rice , Martin Truex Jr. , Mark Martin , Cristiano da Matta