Mcdonald's Driver Bourdais Matched Series Record With Fourth Straight Win At The Time Warner Cable Road Runner 225 And Brought Team First Win At "Home" In 10 Years; Junqueira Hit On First Lap By Dominguez - McDonald's driver Sebastien Bourdais...
Mcdonald's Driver Bourdais Matched Series Record With Fourth Straight Win At The Time Warner Cable Road Runner 225 And Brought Team First Win At "Home" In 10 Years; Junqueira Hit On First Lap By Dominguez
- McDonald's driver Sebastien Bourdais overcame a punctured tire which put him one lap down to bring Newman/Haas Racing (NHR) it's first win in 10 years at its "home track" in today's Time Warner Cable Road Runner 225 at the Milwaukee Mile. It was his fourth consecutive win of the season which matched a CART/Champ Car era record (1979-present) set by Al Unser Jr. (1990), Alex Zanardi (1998), and Cristiano da Matta (2002 with NHR). On Saturday Bourdais and Junqueira rewarded NHR for all their hard work on improving the team's short oval setup by qualifying first and second and Bourdais brought the team their first pole here in 21 years. The start to the originally schedule 225 lap race was run under caution and the field took the green flag on Lap 2 although the second of five caution periods immediately came out when Mario Dominguez's car touched Junqueira's and sent the Brazilian into the wall. Dominguez also hit teammate Paul Tracy's car and all three subsequently retired from the event. Bourdais held the lead after the restart but was forced to pit on Lap 20 when he was informed that his right rear tire was deflating, most likely due to debris from the previous accident. When he returned to the track in 13th place and was one lap down to the leaders but was able to get back on the lead lap a few laps later due to the third caution period from Laps 25-29 for Dan Clarke, who spun and stalled his car. The McDonald's team maintained their focus and Bourdais steadily climbed up the field and was in fifth place by Lap 71 and on into second place by Lap 97 before he regained the lead on Lap 101. He continued to maneuver traffic and marched on until he had lapped the field before his next stop on Lap 128. Once back on track he resumed his dominant effort and had lapped all but second place Justin Wilson, who was immediately in front of Bourdais on track and on his "radar screen" when a caution period came out for debris from Laps 152-165. The field bunched up behind Bourdais for the restart on Lap 166 and Bourdais was unchallenged for the lead which he held until the checkered flag after Lap 197 of the originally scheduled 225 due to the 1 hour 45 minute time limit. Bourdais won by a 3.6-second margin over Justin Wilson and earned the maximum amount of points (34) after winning the pole, setting the fastest race lap and leading the event in route to victory to increase his pre-event lead of 25 over Justin Wilson to 31. Following are his post race comments:
"The McDonald's car was a rocket ship today," said Bourdais. "The car was awesome and the McDonald's team was really on top of its game. "We had the flat right rear and they caught it or it could have been a big crash. I knew it was going to be a tough day from there but we still had the speed in the car and the Bridgestone tires were really consistent. I think it was more classic to come back and win it like that. We've been starving for a win here for four years. It really looked like we were going to run away with it, and I guess on lap 15 or something, the guys started to see a small leak on the right rear, then I started to think different. At that point I was very confident we were going to have a good result because the car was really good and we didn't panic and everybody knew what he had to do, and me first, and the most important thing was to finish this race, not make any mistakes, and we were already really concentrated. Then I started to hit traffic and go very quickly and play catch-up a little bit, and it all worked out.
"I think we just ran down everybody one by one, and once we got in the lead, we just ran with it. It was an awesome feeling. I think it feels very good to have everybody change his opinion about Newman/Haas Racing and Sebastien Bourdais on the short oval. It was one thing I really felt that needed to be a little corrected, I think. We had fairly decent cars in the past two years, not as good as the front runners, but we were still making the race happen last year and we got a sixth place out of it, which was really a disappointment. But going into this year, the team really stepped up its game, and I can't reward these guys enough for the job they'veb^0x0011- all the hard work they've been doing because everybody knows it. You need a good driver to have a result here, but without the car, you're just nothing. There have been terrible cars and terrible races (for us here). I know exactly where I'm coming from, and I know exactly where we're at today, and I know how much work is behind that. It's a great feeling, a great way to get my first win here in Milwaukee on the short oval. It's only my fourth time on that kind of track, and that feels awful good.
"I think you've seen how these races get turned around. I think if you get to six, seven in a row, it's already pretty darn good. We were really close to doing it last year, if not for a small trouble with our pit stop in Montreal. Realistically, I think we've had our share of records, and I've just really concentrated on getting the job done. I think this Championship means a whole lot for a lot of people, myself first, and I just think we're going to get the wins when we can and get the points when we can."
- Hole in the Wall Camps driver Bruno Junqueira competed on his first oval since being injured in the 2005 Indy 500 but, although he was also taken out of this race due to contact by another driver, he departed the track virtually uninjured although he will most likely be sore due to the hard impact in Turn 4 of the Milwaukee Mile track. The originally scheduled 225-lap Time Warner Cable Road Runner 225 began on the second lap as the start was waved off on Lap 1. Junqueira made a conservative start in the 225-mile event and dropped from his second place qualifying position to fourth before the fourth turn when sixth place starter Mario Dominguez's race car appeared to slightly drift up the track and his right front tire hit Junqueira's left rear and sent the Brazilian into the wall. After Dominguez made contact with Junqueira he then made contact with his teammate Paul Tracy and all three retired from the race. He earned six points for his 15th place finish and dropped from 13th place to 16th in the standings after four of 15 races. Following are his comments:
"It was a much harder hit today than yesterday but fortunately I am okay," said Junqueira of his crash today as compared to the one in the Saturday practice session. "I started the race conservatively and lost a couple of positions but was in fourth then Mario (Dominguez) hit my rear tire and crashed me. I can't believe the luck we have had this season. Today was like Long Beach (Dominguez triggered a multi car crash on Lap 1, Turn 1). We have been strong but haven't gotten the results we are capable of which is frustrating for everyone."