FORD-COSWORTH AIMS FOR ITS 10TH VICTORY IN CLEVELAND - Ford-Cosworth heads to downtown Cleveland and Burke Lakefront Airport for this weekend's Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland in search of its 10th victory in the annual "Roar by the Shore." ...
FORD-COSWORTH AIMS FOR ITS 10TH VICTORY IN CLEVELAND - Ford-Cosworth heads to downtown Cleveland and Burke Lakefront Airport for this weekend's Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland in search of its 10th victory in the annual "Roar by the Shore." Ford-Cosworth has powered nine of the 22 previous Champ Car winners in Cleveland, including Sebastien Bourdais' first win on American soil in 2003 with the XFE. The DFX made the trip to Victory Circle five times between 1982 and 1986 with winners like Bobby Rahal ('82), Al Unser ('83), Danny Sullivan ('84 and '86) and Al Unser, Jr. ('85). Jacques Villeneuve won in Cleveland with the XB in 1995 en route to his series championship, and the XF gave Roberto Moreno his first career Champ Car win in 2000 and Patrick Carpentier's first-ever road course triumph in 2002.
CHAMPIONSHIP RACE - Bruno Junqueira remained on top in the championship standings by virtue of his second place finish two weeks ago in Portland - his third podium result in just four races. Junqueira (105 points) maintains a slim six-point margin over Patrick Carpentier (99 points), who has finished fourth or better in all four races heading to Cleveland. Sophomore driver Sebastien Bourdais (98 points) picked up his series-leading second victory of the season in Portland and trails his teammate, Bruno Junqueira, by a mere six points. Defending series champion Paul Tracy, who opened the season with a win on the streets of Long Beach, is lurking in fourth place with 79 points, followed closely by American Ryan Hunter-Reay (75 points), who won on the one-mile oval in Milwaukee earlier this season.
TRACKING THE ROOKIES - An impressive crop of rookie drivers have made their impact through four races, highlighted by Englishman Justin Wilson and American A.J. Almendinger. Wilson, a former Jaguar Formula One driver, has twice qualified inside the top four and has scored three top-six finishes in four starts, including a season-best fifth two weeks ago in Portland. The 2003 Toyota Atlantic champion, Almendinger has rebounded from a slow start to score a fifth-place finish in Milwaukee and a six-place result in Portland. Wilson leads the Rookie-of-the-Year standings and is sixth overall with 71 points, while Almendinger is ninth overall in the championship with 54 points.
DRIVERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON THIS WEEKEND IN CLEVELAND:
Sebastien Bourdais - has two pole positions, two victories and a third-place finish in four races this season and is third in the championship with 98 points. Captured pole position last year in Cleveland before turning in a solid performance under the lights to win his first Champ Car race on American soil.
Patrick Carpentier - has scored top-four finishes in all four races thus far this season, including a second-place result in Milwaukee, and currently lies second in the championship standings with 99 points. Carpentier scored his first career Champ Car victory on a road course on the runways of Burke Lakefront Airport in 2002, and has also claimed three top-five finishes in four career starts, including fifth in 2000 and four in 2003.
Bruno Junqueira - has been solid, if not spectacular, through four races this season with four top-six results, including runner-up performances in Long Beach, Monterrey and Portland, and currently leads the championship standings with 105 points. Junqueira has just one top-five finish in three starts at Burke Lakefront Airport, which came last year when he finished third.
Paul Tracy - began the season in Long Beach with a victory from pole, adding two top-six results in the three races since, including sixth in Monterrey and third two weeks ago in Portland. Currently fourth in the points with 79, Tracy has three top-four finishes in his last five appearances in Cleveland, including second in 2003.
SPARK PLUGS - Jimmy Vasser will make his 209th Champ Car start on Saturday evening in Cleveland, moving him past racing legend Mario Andretti for fourth in all-time Champ Car starts ... after seeing three different drivers occupy the top spot in the championship through the first three races of the season, Bruno Junqueira is the first to lead the points following consecutive events (Milwaukee and Portland) ...Sebastien Bourdais has accumulated seven pole positions and five victories in 23 career Champ Car races.