CHAMPCAR/CART: Laguna Seca: Newman/Haas Racing preview


SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, #2 McDonald'sFord-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

- AT LAGUNA SECA: Will be his second race here. Started fourth in 2003 and was in third place when his pop-off valve broke at the end of the race and he finished 17th.

- 2004 OVERVIEW: In 10 events this season, he has won six poles and five races as well as set the fastest race lap five times.

- LEADS 2004 POINT STANDINGS WITH 258: Earned one point for being fastest in final qualifying in Long Beach although he started second to his teammate Junqueira, who set the fastest overall time in qualifying. Ran the fastest lap of the race and finished third...Won the Monterrey, Mexico race from his second consecutive pole at the track as well as set a new track record for his fastest race lap and took over the points lead for the first time in his CCWS career...Started second in Milwaukee but crashed on 50/250 laps and dropped to fourth place in standings with 62 points...Won from pole in Portland after he led 85 of 94 laps...Provisional pole was taken from him in Cleveland on Thursday after CCWS stewards ruled he blocked the qualifying lap of Ryan Hunter-Reay. He started third and won his third race of five this season after leading 88 of 97 laps to move him to second in the standings...Started on pole, led 75 of 84 laps, ran fastest race lap and earned his third consecutive victory in the series as well as his fourth of the season to earn the points lead...Failed to match a series record fourth consecutive victory in Vancouver when he started third, moved into second on the first lap but finished fifth in Vancouver due to a different fuel strategy employed by other teams. Set the second fastest race lap...Started from his fourth pole of the season at Elkhart Lake but finished third due to a race decided on fuel strategy...Won his fifth pole in Denver but contact on the first lap dropped him to 15th place. Charged back to lead the final 11 laps and win by a seven second margin over Paul Tracy...Earned his sixth pole of the season and 11th in CCWS career for a 39% average. Led 26 laps but contact with rookie Allmendinger ended his race in 15th place to close his pre-race lead from 58 points to 34 over second place Junqueira, who went on to win the race. Set the fastest race lap...Holds a 34 point lead over second place Junqueira, 258-224.

- EIGHT WINS: ('03 -- England, Germany & Cleveland; '04 -- Monterrey, Portland, Cleveland, Toronto & Denver).

- 11 POLES: ('03 -- St. Pete, Monterrey, Germany, Cleveland, Australia; '04 -- Monterrey, Portland, Toronto, Elkhart Lake, Denver, Montreal).

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA, #6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

- AT LAGUNA SECA: Will be his fourth race here. Started and finished second in 2003. Started third and finished fourth in 2002. Started 12th and finished seventh in 2001.

- 2004 OVERVIEW: Finished in the top-four seven times in 10 races, including one win and four second-place finishes. Set the fastest race lap three times.

- SECOND IN 2004 POINT STANDINGS WITH 224: Started on pole, led one lap and finished second in Long Beach...Drove to a second place finish after starting fourth in Monterrey, Mexico...Qualified 10th and finished 5th on the only oval race on the schedule in Milwaukee but moved into the lead of the standings with his finish...Maintained points lead after started and finished second in Portland. Was the provisional pole sitter on Friday but received a penalty in Saturday's qualifying and settled for a second place start. Ran the fastest race lap...Started sixth in Cleveland but finished second despite dropping to 13th due to avoiding an opening lap accident. Was his fourth second place finish of the season and third 1-2 for the team. Also set the fastest race lap...Started third in Toronto but was involved in an opening lap accident with Mario Dominguez and retired in 18th place. Lost lead in standings to teammate Bourdais who won the event...A suspension failure led to a crash in final qualifying and he started eighth and finished fourth in Vancouver...Started fourth in Elkhart Lake and ran as high as second place before fuel strategy and contact led to a 15th place finish...Started second in Denver but failed to win his third consecutive race here and finished third. Led the first 39 laps...Second in point standings with 192 points to leader Bourdais' 248 (-56).

- SIX WINS/22 TOP-THREE PODIUMS: Won SIX races (Elkhart Lake '01, Japan & Denver '02, Elkhart Lake & Denver '03, Montreal '04) and finished on the podium a total of 22 times (2nd -- Portland & Chicago '02, England, Laguna Seca & Vancouver '03, Long Beach, Monterrey, Portland & Cleveland '04; 3rd -- Elkhart Lake & Mexico City '02, St. Pete, Long Beach, Cleveland and Toronto '03, Denver '04).

- EIGHT POLES: ('01 -- Nazareth; '02 -- Japan, Elkhart Lake, Denver, Mexico City; '03 -- Elkhart Lake & Denver; '04 Long Beach).

What They're Saying About...

Sebastien Bourdais, #2 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "For sure we are going to work through the weekend on the evolutions we have learned on the setup to try to improve the car from last year. But all in all I know the car better, Craig (Hampson) knows me better and I know the track better. There is no reason to think we won't be in better shape than we were last year . The whole package is easier to manage. Everything has been working well so far preparation-wise this season. The whole McDonald's crew is really unified and we're just giving our best every single weekend. The best situation is to start the race from the front. We need to start up front; we won't win all of the races but it would be nice to win more before the end of the season.

"We had a pop-off value fail last year late in the race. It was pretty unfortunate. The thing went wide open, the spring broke and we had no boost anymore. We were going to be P3 because Paul Tracy was in pretty big trouble after an incident in pit lane and it would have probably been another podium finish for the McDonald's car but it never happened. We know we were pretty strong, we worked our way through the weekend but did not get the result like many races last year but this year is different and I'm sure we'll be plenty fast.

"Denver could possibly be something we look back on and say 'That's where we won the championship.' It was very important to be able to come back from where we were. We had a very fast car and that's really what it takes to win a championship. We'll just keep our heads down and stayed focused and continue as we have been working." Everything has been working well so far preparation-wise this season. The whole McDonald's crew is really unified and we're just giving our best every single weekend. The best situation is to start the race from the front. We need to start up front; we won't win all of the races but it would be nice to win more before the end of the season."

Bruno Junqueira, #6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "I like the track in Laguna Seca; it's a proper road course. Last year we were really good at the test and again on race weekend. I was on the provisional pole on Friday but on Saturday a red flag came out at a bad time in qualifying and I also got caught in some traffic and lost the pole by a small amount. In the race, (Paul) Tracy passed me and I went to third but then passed him back. I had the fastest car but I just couldn't get by (Patrick) Carpentier and I finished second. It was frustrating because that was a weekend when the PacifiCare car was very strong and we were capable of winning. We are going to try to have a better weekend this year and hopefully we can get a win in Laguna Seca. I love the track and it would be great to get a win there.

"I think in Laguna Seca we will be able to use the Push to Pass button in Turn 1. It's a very difficult track to pass on but let's see. Last year I was faster than Carpentier and there was no push to pass. Maybe if I had that edge, I could have passed him. I hope this year I can get the pole and not worry about it.

"I think with four races to go the race in Laguna Seca will be really exciting. People will be trying to get better position in the championship. It's a pretty nice track for racing; I think the fans in California should come to watch. I love Laguna Seca, Monterey, and Carmel. I think its one of the nicest areas in North America. I enjoy spending time there for race weekend. Racing in California is really important to PacifiCare, they have a lot of business in the area and I hope I can repeat our win in Montreal for them in California."


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