CHAMPCAR/CART: Las Vegas: Newman/Haas Racing preview

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, ...

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

- AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY: Will be his first race here, fourth on an oval ('03 - Germany & Milwaukee; '04 Milwaukee), and second on a Super Speedway (2-mile track in Germany was first).

- 2004 OVERVIEW: In 11 events this season, he has won SEVEN poles and FIVE races as well as set the fastest race lap five times. Became the first driver since former NHR driver da Matta (2002 - 19 total races) to earn seven poles in one season.

- LEADS 2004 POINT STANDINGS WITH 275: 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...Led the first lap in Laguna Seca from his seventh pole of season but was hit by P. Tracy on L2 entering the Corkscrew which resulted in a flat tire. Dropped to 14th, was in 9th place when contact with R. Gonzales forced hit to pit for a new front wing. Was in seventh place on the final lap when he went off course and ultimately finished eighth. Points lead narrowed to 24 over second place Junqueira, 275-251.

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

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

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

- AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY: Will be his first race here. Set the fastest lap time in the pre-race test held here in August.

- 2004 OVERVIEW: Finished in the top-four eight times in 11 races, including ONE win and FIVE second-place finishes. Set the fastest race lap three times.

- SECOND IN 2004 POINT STANDINGS WITH 251: 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...Won his first race of the season in Montreal after he started fourth and led the final 25 laps...Started eighth and finished second in Laguna Seca to close his deficit to points leader Bourdais from 56 to 24 with three races remaining...Second in point standings with 251 points to leader Bourdais' 275 (-24).

- SIX WINS/23 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 23 times (2nd - Portland & Chicago '02, England, Laguna Seca & Vancouver '03, Long Beach, Monterrey, Portland, Cleveland & Laguna Seca '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: "Racing in Las Vegas is a lot about the team effort and how good they are and how good your wind tunnel program is. (Engineer) Craig (Hampson) is very good at sorting out the best package to show up with to make the car as fast as we can. There are going to be some surprises though. The outcome isn't going to rely so much on the driver but it's going to be an exciting race because it's going to be close racing, hard racing and very fast and we cannot afford to make a mistake in those kinds of conditions.

"The McDonalds' car is going to be trimmed as much as it can because, with the banking of the race track and the layout, it's just going to be 'Go as fast as you can' racing and in order to do that you have to take out so much downforce and drag. We're going to be flat (on the gas pedal) a long, long, long time and reliability could have been a big issue if we were to have the extra boost the Push to Pass button gives as it's probably not too good for the engine. I think it's a good decision that the series made. Without it, it's going to be really hard racing already. Passing will be a challenge but I think people are going to show up with solution that could be somewhat risky with very, very low downforce to try desperately to take out some drag. That could be interesting.

"For sure everybody has a shot to win because it (driving on an oval) doesn't rely so much on the skill of the driver. It's about where you are on the race track, and what the scenario of the race is. Your race can turn upside down very, very fast so there is lot of guessing to the approach of the race. We just have to hope we make the right calls at the right time. We tested in the night conditions and everything was good. The lights are great in Las Vegas. They are used to having races at night time because it is so hot during the day. It's going to be a lot of fun and it sounds like there will be a big crowd. I hope they will continue the party the whole night long and hopefully we can join them to celebrate a good finish. It should be a very nice party weekend for the fans."

Bruno Junqueira, #6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "This is the first time Champ Car is going to race in Las Vegas and I'm very excited about it. We did a test over one month ago and the PacifiCare team was the fastest and I'm really looking forward to having a good race in Las Vegas. Racing in Las Vegas is very good for PacifiCare; they have offices in Nevada and they are very excited to have a race there.

"The aerodynamic package is going to be like a road course package with a little bit of change that will give the car more speed. There is going to be a lot of downforce so it will be a very close race. We're going to run two or three wide in the corner. I think it's going to be a really exciting race for the fans and I hope we can put the PacifiCare car in front.

"I think racing at night is fun; I like it. Especially at Las Vegas; it's very hot so racing at night is a good idea. I think it's going to be a big show in Las Vegas. Vegas is all about going to the shows and I think everybody should go out to the big show Saturday night which is going to be the race. Everybody is going to race really hard since there are only three races to go and it's an important time in the championship. It's going to be a very close race with a lot of fighting. I think the fans can expect a sensational finish at the end.

"We're going to run flat out all the way around so we don't really need the Push to Pass for this race. You'll get a slipstream from the car in front and that's what you'll need to pass so we won't have Push to Pass in Las Vegas. You're going to see a lot of passing and side-by-side racing. It's going to be incredible."

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