CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Bridgestone race report

Bridgestone Motorsport's race tire development group, based just down the road in Akron, Ohio, opted to return to Cleveland in 2004 with the same winning tire compound/construction formula as the Champ Cars ran here in 2003. Based on the drivers'...

Bridgestone Motorsport's race tire development group, based just down the road in Akron, Ohio, opted to return to Cleveland in 2004 with the same winning tire compound/construction formula as the Champ Cars ran here in 2003. Based on the drivers' comments following today's race, it was undoubtedly the right call.

Sebastien Bourdais of Newman/Haas Racing avoided the first-lap melee at turn one that eliminated pole sitter Paul Tracy and drove to his second straight victory on the runways of Burke Airport. Afterward, Bourdais had glowing praise for the Potenza race tires that carried him to victory lane. His teammate, Bruno Junqueira, and Rocketsports Racing's Alex Tagliani were both balked in the lap-one incident, yet relied on the unfailing consistency of their Bridgestones to charge back to finish second and third, respectively.

The consistency of the Potenzas was typified in the fastest race laps run by Junqueira and Bourdais. Junqueira clocked the fastest lap of the race (58.980 seconds) on lap 95, when his tires had 25 laps on them. Bourdais' fast lap (58.996 seconds) came on the 23rd lap of his first stint, and he came within a tenth of a second of matching that on lap 94, riding again on tires with 23 laps on them.

"I am so glad that Bridgestone did not change the tires from last year," Bourdais said after notching his third win in five races this season. "We had an incredible package with the tires and my car could go faster and faster and faster when the fuel ran down. I also ran laps of 60.1 (seconds) on my first lap out (after changing tires), when I really had to push to stay out front. The grip was great, the Bridgestones held up really well and I am very happy for them."

Added third-place Tagliani: "Our car was really well set up for the Bridgestone tires. I could push as hard as I can and the tires stayed really consistent all 26, 27, 28 laps of the stint. They were fantastic!"

Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport: Congratulations to the entire Newman/Haas organization on a great 1-2 finish. It would've been interesting to see if Paul Tracy could've challenged Sebastien Bourdais in the race because Sebastien was clearly the fastest car out there today. Bruno Junqueira did an awesome job driving, coming from 13th place to finish second. He told me in victory lane that the Bridgestone Potenzas at Cleveland held up perfectly all day. He was able to run just as hard on used tires as he could run on new ones. We're very happy also to have entertained more than 1,000 customers and associates, and to have been instrumental in arranging the Singing Angels performing the national anthem before the race. It was a picture-perfect day for Bridgestone today at an event dear to us."

Race temperatures ranged from 102 to 112 degrees track and from 82 to 83 degrees ambient (F).

Race temperatures ranged from 39 to 44 degrees track and a constant 28 degrees ambient (C).

-ccws-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy , Sébastien Bourdais