CHAMPCAR/CART: Mid-Ohio: Newman/Haas preview


BRUNO JUNQUEIRA, #1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: - AT MID-OHIO: It will be his third race here. Started sixth and finished fourth in 2002. Started 10th and finished 13th in rookie season in 2001.

- LEADS THE POINT STANDINGS WITH 164 POINTS: 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...Started fourth in Long Beach and finished third...Set second fastest qualifying time in England but started third due to Bourdais earning the second-place, front row start by setting the fastest time in final qualifying. Finished second...Started second in Germany and finished fourth after he led 23 laps and ran in top three most of the event...Started eighth in Milwaukee (based on combined practice times due to rain in qualifying) but crashed on the first racing lap in Milwaukee and from a two-way tie for first place in the points to third with 66. The Ford Blue Box indicated that the car took a 70 G-force backward impact while the accelerometer in his earpiece indicated he took a 100 G-force hit...Earned his first bonus point of the season with provisional pole in Laguna Seca. Started and finished second to take sole possession of second place in standings ...Charged from his worst qualifying position of 11th place in Portland to finish fourth...Qualified fifth in Cleveland and earned his fifth podium of the season with third place...Provisional pole sitter in Toronto but started 2nd. Earned his sixth top-three finish with third place...Provisional polesitter in Vancouver but started second. Led the first 21 racing laps until CART ruled that he had to relinquish the lead due to "jumping the start." Dropped to fourth at one point but finished second...Earned maximum points (23) by leading both qualifying sessions, leading every race lap and winning in Elkhart Lake to take the points lead from Paul Tracy by a 164-161 margin with seven races to go.

- ON ROAD/STREET COURSE: Finished in the top-five in all 10 road/street course races so far this season including EIGHT podiums. Three of his four wins came on this type of course ('01 & '03 Elkhart Lake road course, '02 Denver street course).

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, #2 Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: - AT MID-OHIO: Will be his first race here. One of only three tracks he has driven on before race weekend (Laguna Seca, Elkhart Lake, Mid-Ohio).

- TOP ROOKIE IN POINT STANDINGS IN FOURTH: 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. Also had a troubled pit stop and later brushed the wall entering the pits which ultimately led to retire from the race in 17th place...Started fifth in Long Beach, led three laps in the race and retired in 16th place due to engine failure after he completed 70 of 90 laps...Earned his first Champ Car victory in only his fourth event at Brands Hatch after starting second and leading 95 laps...First driver in series history to win from pole in his oval racing debut in Germany after he led 74 laps in the closest finish (0.08) since 2000 Michigan race...Started 13th in Milwaukee (based on combined practice times due to qualifying being rained out) and finished ninth despite an overheating engine in the early stages of the race...Probable third place finish ended when his pop-off valve failed while fourth and he retired after 77 of 87 laps in Laguna Seca...Started fourth in Portland but low tire pressure led to an early stop that dropped him to 18th place but he charged back to third place before a rear wing failure forced him to retire with 9 laps to go. Dropped from fifth to seventh in the point standings after Portland with 53 points...For the second time this season he won the race from pole in Cleveland and moved from seventh to fifth in the point standings with 74...Qualified 6th in Toronto and finished 4th to retain 5th place rank...Qualified fifth in Vancouver, but made contact with Moreno while moving into third at the start of the race and had to make three extra pit stops which dropped him to 11th before he moved up to a third place finish to take over fourth in the point standings with 100. Also set the fastest race lap...Started and finished second in Elkhart Lake as well as set the fastest race lap. Closed gap on third place to nine points (125-116) with 23 maximum available this weekend (-48 to leader BJ).

- SIX BONUS POINTS: (St. Pete - Fri. & Sat. qual; Mexico - Sat. qual.; Germany - qual. & leading most laps; Clev. - Sat. qual.).

- RANKED 3rd IN LAPS LED -- 252: Led 30-St. Pete., 16-Monterrey, 3-Long Beach, 95-England (victory), 74-Germany (victory), 1-Portland, 33-Clev. (victory). Third behind Paul Tracy (448) and Michel Jourdain (324) for most laps led in 2003.

- OTHER ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Was ranked No. 1 for most poles won at 4 until the previous race in Toronto when Paul Tracy matched the rookie's feat...Leads "Rookie of Year" standings...Second to Paul Tracy for most wins at three...Only driver to have won on a road course and oval this season.

What They're Saying About...

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA, #1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "We tested at Mid-Ohio one month ago and we ran very well. We were very strong for two days and even did a lot of miles and some long runs to simulate race conditions. We were the fastest on Day 1 and on Day 2 we concentrated on race set up. We are really confident we will run well there. The last time Newman/Haas won at this track was in 1991 with Michael Andretti but I hope I can get a win there for us. We had a good test and I think we have everything we need to get a win this year. I like a lot the Mid-Ohio course. It's a proper road course track. It's very difficult and very technical with a lot of elevation changes. Like Road America, it is difficult to put a completely perfect lap together but when you do it is very nice. I like to race here. I think I drive well on this track and I hope to put the PacifiCare car in a good position there. I think there are hardcore fans at this race just like in Cleveland. These people really love racing and it's nice to go where the fans are knowledgeable and know the drivers and all of the teams. "I raced twice in Mid-Ohio. I had some problems in my first race there and finished 13th but in 2002 I had a battle with Michael Andretti and finished fourth. After problems in qualifying, that wasn't a bad result. This year I will have my best chance to win the race and the PacifiCare team will be working hard to accomplish that goal. "For sure the championship is getting to a very important part and its really important to finish the races and get points but not only that - we need to get some more wins. I think there will be a very intense battle in Mid-Ohio between the top-five in the Championship and I hope I can be up there. The team is very motivated after getting our first win of the season. They won the championship last year and they know how good that feels and want to get another one. I finished second last year and want to win the championship as well."

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, #2 Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "I think Newman/Haas Racing and the Lilly car did a great job at the Mid-Ohio test and we found a pretty strong package. The expectations are pretty high for this race. The track is very demanding physically and you don't have a lot of time to get it right. You can go up to speed in a very nice way and it is very challenging to drive there. I think, as we are pretty competitive at the track and we were not the only ones, it's going to be a pretty big fight and probably very hard time in qualifying. It will be a great show and probably quite a lot of mistakes will be made from everyone because they will be trying to push the limits. I think both Bruno and I have a pretty good chance to shine on this track and I think we found a strong package and will be pretty good at Mid-Ohio."


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Paul Tracy , Nigel Mansell , Michel Jourdain