CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach: Newman/Haas Racing preview

Driver Stats and Quotes: BRUNO JUNQUEIRA, ...

Driver Stats and Quotes:

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA, #1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

- IN LONG BEACH: Junqueira started 3rd in the 2002 race and ran the fastest race lap but contact ended his day in 17th place. Started 28th in his rookie season and finished 9th.

- SO FAR IN 2003: Was second fastest in provisional qualifying in St. Pete but his fastest qualifying lap in final qualifying (potentially third) was disallowed because he brought out a red flag when he spun and stopped on course. More red flags during the session prevented him from running faster than the time he set on Friday and he started seventh. Dropped to 14th in race due to losing many positions on his first of three pit stops when the air hose of the inside rear tire changer's air gun disengaged. Charged to a 3rd place finish...More problems in qualifying led to a seventh place start in Mexico despite being fastest in both pre-qualifying practice sessions as he also did in St. Pete. Ran as high as third in the race but spun and dropped to ninth. Many on-track passes enabled him to finish fifth...He is currently ranked third in the point standings with 24 points.

- 42nd START/THIRD SEASON: The race will mark his third event with NHR and 42nd overall after he made 39 starts with Target/Ganassi Racing in 2001 and 2002. His past two championships have come in his third season in those series.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, #2 Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

- IN LONG BEACH: Will be his first Champ car race here and third overall.

- IN 2003: By earning the pole position in his Champ car debut in St. Pete, Bourdais became the first driver to accomplish the feat since Nigel Mansell won the pole for the '93 Australian event - also while driving for NHR...Bourdais led 30 laps in St. Pete and became the first driver in the 25 year history of series to lead the first laps of his inaugural Champ car race...He also set the fastest race lap...Won his second pole in the series in Monterrey as well as set a track record. He led the first 16 laps but a faulty radio led to a missed pit stop. Later had a troubled pit stop and a brush with the wall entering the pits for his third and final stop which ultimately led to a retirement from the race in 17th place...He is currently ranked 14th in the point standings with five points.

- BONUS POINTS: Has earned THREE bonus points this season (St. Pete - Fri. & Sat. qual; Mexico - Sat. qual.).

- REIGNING 2002 CHAMPION: Like his teammate Junqueira, Bourdais won the F3000 championship honors. He won three races (Imola, Italy; Monaco; Nurburgring, Germany) six pole positions (Interlagos, Brazil; Imola, Italy; Barcelona, Spain; Monaco, Nurburgring, Germany; Spa, Belgium) and finished on the podium a total of seven times en route to the 2002 Championship while driving for Team Super Nova Racing. Also set the fastest race lap three times (Interlagos, Spain, Belgium).

What They're Saying About...

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA, #1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THE RACE THIS YEAR?: "Last year I started in third place and ran the fastest lap of the race but I had some problems and crashed. I didn't score any points so I want to improve on the qualifying position as well as the finish. This year for it to be PacifiCare's home race and an event that they also sponsor it will be very special for us as well as an important race to put the car on the podium. I think Newman/Haas Racing and myself are delighted to have PacifiCare on our car this year. It's their first year in motor racing. They are putting in a big effort and really doing a lot of things that are pretty nice. I'm going a week early to Long Beach because PacifiCare headquarters are near there. That's going to be their home race. I hope I can get a good result for them in Long Beach. I qualified well here last year and Newman/Haas led the race with Cristiano and probably could have won it if they didn't get hit in the pits. Both of those things should help us to have a good car this year and hopefully add something extra for the PacifiCare car and start from the pole, lead the race and win.

WHY WILL THE RACE BE MORE EXCITING THAT PREVIOUS EVENTS?: "Long Beach is for sure one of the most successful races in CART because it's such a tradition. It's a nice street race in a nice area that has been running for 20 years with a lot of fan support. For sure it will be even more special for us because it is PacifiCare's home race and you really want to do well for your sponsor there. I think the race will be even more exciting because no one will have traction control. Especially coming out of the last turn - the hairpin - in first gear because it will be very difficult to put the power down. The fans are going to see cars snapping away and they will see drivers trying to draft and the pull out some good moves in Turn 1. I hope no one puts any moves on me."

WHAT IS YOUR OPINION OF HOW THE SEASON HAS PROGRESSED SO FAR?: "I think the season started well. I think we have been able to have a very fast car everywhere and that's really important. It gives us a lot of motivation and I hope that we will be fast in Long Beach as well. I'm very happy to have joined the Newman/Haas team. I think it's a very good team. We did a very good pre-season test that gives us a chance to be really competitive. But, unfortunately the first two races, we had so many problems in qualifying that couldn't give us a chance to win the races. But I think if you are strong enough, you're going to be strong till the end of the year. It's very important in the CART series to score points every race. I hope we can continue scoring points and trying to win some races.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, #2 Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR LONG BEACH?: "I'm looking forward to the Long Beach race. I watched the last few races on TV. I think it compares a bit to Monaco. As I won in Monaco, had the pole, I would enjoy to do it again.

HOW HAS THE 2003 SEASON PROGRESSED SO FAR?: "It's a lot higher than the expectations we could have had since the beginning of the year. We started very well. We had two poles. To be honest, I was really surprised to get these results. But during the races, we were leading in both of the first events, and we didn't succeed to get the final result. It's a bit of frustration. But, anyway, we were also competitive on both weekends. All I can expect is to finally win one soon.

"When something is new, something is a surprise sometimes, especially about the organization, the general ambiance inside the championship, which is really good, I have to say. Obviously, it's a long championship with a lot of track time. You can explore a lot of setups. It's really interesting when you come from F3000, because that's an area where you're really restricted. It's always a really big opportunity for a 3000 driver to come to the US, especially when you have the opportunity to start with Newman/Haas. I just hope it's going to continue like this. After the (initial) test, we all knew that it was possible to get some good results, but it's always a bit of a surprise to get two poles like that in a row, especially in Monterrey, because we started pretty far off the pace. It's been a bit of surprise to get the second one, especially."

-nhr-

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Series IndyCar
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing