CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Pre-race notes

WHOS HOT At Portland International Raceway Sebastien Bourdais ( ...

WHOS HOT

At Portland International Raceway Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) collected his third consecutive win this season, leading 48 laps during the event. Last year at the Burke Lakefront Airport, the Frenchman saw his streak of three consecutive podium finishes in Cleveland come to an end when he was caught up in a first lap incident after starting on the outside pole position. Currently Bourdais leads the point standings by 11 markers.

In Portland, Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) collected his third podium finish in just four starts in Champ Car competition. Doornbos recorded the quickest time in a wet Saturday qualifying session to record his first front row start. Currently the Dutchman leads the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-year battle by 28 points. This weekend will be his first start at the Cleveland circuit.

Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) had his best weekend so far this season in Portland. The Brit took the pole position on Friday and held on to it during a rainy Saturday qualifying session. From his P1 place on the grid Wilson led from the start and stretched it to a 15 second margin before the first round of pit stops. He went on to lead a race high 51 laps around the course before finishing the race in the second position.

Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) rebounded in Portland after having a disappointing race in Houston, with his third top-four finish this season. The Australian also led three laps during the event and collected an extra championship point for improving the most positions during the event. Currently Power is second in the points standings just 11 points behind the leader.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) recorded his most recent victory in the 2005 Grand Prix of Cleveland and is one of six drivers ever to win twice in Cleveland. He is also one of the three drivers who have recorded back-to-back pole positions in Cleveland Grand Prix history.

Alex Tagliani (#8 Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) has finished in the top-10 in each of his last six visits to Cleveland including a podium in 2004 and a fourth-place the last two years. He has also led a total of 23 laps around the Burke Lakefront Airport in his previous two starts.

Last year in Cleveland, Graham Rahal (#2 Medi|Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) was the only Atlantic driver to visit victory lane in the double header. In his first event at the Cleveland circuit the Ohioan started in the fifth position and led the final nine laps of the event to take the victory. In the second race, Rahal dominated starting from the outside pole and leading all 32 laps during the event.

In 2004, when Ryan Dalziel (#28 PCM Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) last visited the Burke Lakefront Airport in Champ Car Atlantic competition he left victorious starting from the pole and leading all 32 laps in the event. The Scotsman in total has two podium finishes, and has yet to start or finish outside of the top ten at Cleveland in Champ Car's support series in Cleveland.

DID YOU KNOW

Burke Lakefront Airport has been part of Cleveland's shoreline for more than 50 years and site for the Cleveland Grand Prix for 26 years. The idea of a lakefront airport in Cleveland was conceived during the Great Lakes Exposition of 1936. World War II delayed plans for its construction, and it was not until 1947 that the airport actually opened. Owned and operated by the City of Cleveland's Department of Port Control, Burke supports the city with full crash and fire rescue and emergency medical services. City personnel, in turn, provide the manpower for field and maintenance, snow removal, custodial services, airport operations and other airport functions. Other than the Grand Prix of Cleveland the airport also hosts the Cleveland National Air Show in September. The airport is also home to the International Women's Air and Space Museum.

NOTEWORTHY

The Cleveland Grand Prix is the longest continuously-running temporary circuit in Champ Car, which is in its 26th running this year.

Turn one at the Burke Lakefront Airport is one of the most infamous on the Champ Car schedule. Six out of the last seven years a lap one, turn one incident has sent at least one racing machine to the garage.

In Portland, Sebastien Bourdais recorded Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing's 100th win. The victory also moved the Frenchman into the top-ten on the all time win list, tying him with Rodger Ward with 26 career wins.

The Cleveland track is one of the more difficult on the calendar, for the simple reason that the wide open spaces allow virtually no reference points from which the drivers can judge their turn-in points or apexes for the corners. For the same reason it is also provides a spectacular view for the fans, since the whole circuit can be viewed from their grandstand seats.

BY THE NUMBERS

6,198 ft -- The length of the longest of two runways at Burke Lakefront Airport.
10 -- How many times the Cleveland event has been won from the pole position.
9 -- The record for caution periods in a Cleveland Grand Prix (2006)
3 -- The most Cleveland Grand Prix's a single driver has scored a victory in (Emerson Fittipaldi and Danny Sullivan).
2 -- The number of drivers who have recorded back-to-back wins (Bourdais and Zanardi) on the Cleveland track.
2 -- In 1984 Danny Sullivan won the Cleveland Grand Prix by more than two laps, the biggest margin in Cleveland history.
0.305 -- The margin that Dario Franchitti won the 2001 Cleveland Grand Prix by, which is the closest in the history of the event.

-credit: ccws

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Justin Wilson , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Graham Rahal , Danny Sullivan , Sébastien Bourdais , Robert Doornbos , Emerson Fittipaldi , Will Power , Rodger Ward