CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Newman/Haas Racing preview

McDONALD'S DRIVER BOURDAIS HOPES FOR REPEAT WIN FROM POLE IN PORTLAND; PACIFICARE DRIVER SERVIA LOOKS FORWARD TO FIRST ROAD COURSE EVENT WITH TEAM PORTLAND, Ore. (June 15, 2005) --- The pace has been hectic for Newman/Haas Racing (NHR) since the...

McDONALD'S DRIVER BOURDAIS HOPES FOR REPEAT WIN FROM POLE IN PORTLAND; PACIFICARE DRIVER SERVIA LOOKS FORWARD TO FIRST ROAD COURSE EVENT WITH TEAM

PORTLAND, Ore. (June 15, 2005) --- The pace has been hectic for Newman/Haas Racing (NHR) since the Champ Car World Series season-opener in April but after their first full weekend off in over six weeks they are ready to embark on the first of four races in five weekends -- the G.I. Joe's Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland, June 17-19. McDonald's driver Sebastien Bourdais led a 1-2 sweep by the team with his win from pole on the 1.969-mile Portland International Raceway (PIR) road course last season. Oriol Servia, who was named to drive the No. 2 PacifiCare car while Bruno Junqueira recuperates from injury, is looking forward to his first opportunity to get behind the wheel of the No. 2 PacifiCare race car on a road course.

"To drive the PacifiCare car is a great opportunity for me although I don't like the circumstances of getting it," said Servia, who earned his sixth career podium finish with his third place result for NHR in Milwaukee. "Bruno is my friend and I will work hard to make him proud. He is very supportive. He hopes I do the best I can in his car, you know, for the crew, for the team, for the PacifiCare people, for everybody. He feels bad that he's not in car, but from the first second he was very supportive with the idea of me driving his car until he gets back in it. I'm looking forward to getting my first road course experience with Newman/Haas Racing in the PacifiCare car in Portland and will work on getting everyone a great result there."

In 21 events here, NHR has won seven races (Bourdais 2004; da Matta 2002; Michael Andretti 1992, 1991, 1990; Mario Andretti 1986, 1985) and four poles (Bourdais 2004, da Matta 2002, Mansell 1993, Ma. Andretti 1984) as well as a total of 13 podium finishes (2nd -- Junqueira 2004, Mansell 1993, Ma. Andretti 1990; 3rd -- Fittipaldi 2001, 2000, 1996). In Servia's four races here, his best finish was fifth place in 2003 while his best start was sixth place the same season and he is hoping to improve that with the help of the PacifiCare team, whose car started and finished second here last year with Junqueira behind the wheel. "Portland is a very special track, I like it," said Servia, 30.J"It has some fast corners, some very fast chicanes and slow corners and there are a lot of flowing corners so you need to have a lot of grip and a well balanced car. I'm sure the PacifiCare car will be very good there. People ask if there is more pressure but it's actually the other way. With this team, everything is done so my life is easier and all I have to do is concentrate on driving the car and doing my job. Usually people have appreciated what I have been able to do with the equipment I am in and I hope that I can do that with Newman/Haas as well because they have obviously proved that their equipment is excellent."

After Round 3 of 14 in the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, Servia is ranked sixth with 48 points to leader S0x00e9bastien Bourdais' 77. Bourdais is hoping to repeat the performance of last year's event in Portland where he started from pole, led 85 of 94 laps and drove to what became the first of three in a row to solidify his title chase."Our weekend in Portland last year put the McDonald's team on a roll, it was the beginning of a very good summer," said Bourdais who earned seven wins in 14 races last year. "It was definitely a great stretch for us. We won in Portland, then in Cleveland and Toronto and had a very good summer. PIR is a track where you can have a great weekend. The car can be perfect and the flow is very important. If you don't have the flow it's a real struggle."

Although his sixth place finish in Milwaukee enabled him to retake the points lead, he only has a seven point advantage over Justin Wilson (70) and eight over Milwaukee winner Paul Tracy (69). He is optimistic that the McDonald's team will again produce a good car for both qualifying and the race and will take into account the often fickle Oregon climate. "I was very happy with the balance of the car last year," said Bourdais, who was in third place here in 2003 when his rear wing failed and he retired from the event. "We perfectly anticipated the shift with the temperature. The McDonalds car was up front the whole day and Newman/Haas Racing felt very dominant; we nearly lapped the whole field except Tracy so it was quite an impressive performance."

In addition to their usual competition activities, Bourdais and Servia will accept a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cascade Pacific Council of the Boy Scouts of America on behalf of the team on Thursday morning before participating in the event media luncheon at the race track. On Thursday night Bourdais will make an appearance at a Portland-area McDonald's (10050 SW Barbur Blvd.) while Servia will be the guest of honor at a PacifiCare function on Friday night. With 84 wins, 87 pole positions and 206 podium finishes since their first season of competition in 1983, NHR is the most successful team competing in the Champ Car World Series and the second most successful overall open-wheel racing team competing today. Marlboro Team Penske (MTP) has earned 122 open-wheel wins and is in their 38th season while NHR has earned 84 and is in their 23rd. During the years that NHR has been in existence (1983-current) MTP and NHR are tied with 84 wins each. Perhaps the most impressive detail however is the fact that NHR ran only one driver it's first six seasons (Mario Andretti) while MTP ran two-to-three drivers per season. From 1989 to present, NHR has been a two-car team while MTP expanded from a two car team to run three cars for three of those seasons. A win by Bourdais or Servia could break the tie and make NHR the most successful during the same period.

The G.I. Joe's Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland will get underway with qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday, with the 105-lap event taking the green flag at 12:45 p.m. Pacific Time on Sunday, June 19. The race can be seen live on CBS Sports at 3:30 p.m. ET. Fans can also follow along live by monitoring the free timing and scoring feature on the official website of the series, www.champcarworldseries.com/.

Driver Stats and Quotes:

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, #1 McDonald'sFord-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

- IN PORTLAND: Will be his third race here. Started on pole, led 85 laps and won here in 2004. Started fourth in 2003 but a tire pressure problem dropped him to 18th place. He fought back into third before his rear wing failed and ended his day.

- LEADS 2005 CCWS STANDINGS: Ended a series active record for most top-three starts at 15 with his fourth place qualifying effort at the season-opener in Long Beach but led a total of 37 laps and drove to victory in an exciting race that had seven different leaders...Was fastest on Friday and Saturday's qualifying in Monterrey, Mexico, and led the first 17 laps but contact with Paul Tracy while attempting to pass him caused an extra pit stop to replace his flat tire and ultimately limited his finish to fifth place...Started sixth on the one-mile oval in Milwaukee and was in podium contention when he exceeded the speed limit (55 in a 50) on his last stop and dropped to a sixth place finish to regain the points lead with 77 over second place Justin Wilson, 70.

- 2004 OVERVIEW: In 14 CCWS events, he won SEVEN races and EIGHT poles as well as set the fastest race lap six times en route to the championship in only his second season in the series...Became the first since former NHR driver da Matta (2002 -- 19 total races) to earn seven poles in one season before breaking that record with eighth in season-finale...Is the first driver to have made 14 consecutive top-three starts to begin a season as well as the first driver to have started in the top-three 15 consecutive times, dating back to the 2003 season-finale in Mexico City...Earned a total of 369 points over second place finisher and teammate Bruno Junqueira's 341.

- 11 WINS / 14 POLES: Bourdais has earned 11 wins ('03 -- England, Germany & Cleveland; '04 -- Monterrey, Portland, Cleveland, Toronto, Denver, Las Vegas, Mexico City; '05 Long Beach) and 14 POLES ('03 -- St. Pete, Monterrey, Germany, Cleveland, Australia; '04 -- Monterrey, Portland, Toronto, Elkhart Lake, Denver, Montreal, Laguna Seca, Mexico City; '05 - Monterrey).

ORIOL SERVIA, #2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

- IN PORTLAND: Will be his fifth race here. His highest finish here was fifth and highest start was sixth -- both in 2003. Started 14th and finished 11th in 2004; started sixth and finished fifth in 2003; did not compete in 2002;Started 14th and finished 9th in 2001; started seventh and finished eighth in 2000.

- 6TH IN 2005 CCWS STANDINGS: Ran first two races of season with Dale Coyne Racing...Started 14th in season-opener in Long Beach and finished 11th...Started seventh in Monterrey, Mexico and was in second place in the final stage of the race before he spun and ultimately finished ninth in the event and ranked 13th in the point standings...Made his debut for NHR in Milwaukee as the replacement for Junqueira who was injured while attempting to pass a lapped car in the Indy 500 on May 29. Qualified ninth and went on to pass his new teammate Bourdais and ultimately finish third and move up to sixth place in the standings with 48 points...On June 9 was named to drive the PacifiCare car while Junqueira recuperates.

- SIX PODIUM FINISHES TO DATE: Of his six career top-three podium finishes, his highest is second place at 2003 events in Milwaukee and Montreal. He finished third in Milwaukee (NHR, 2005), Laguna Seca (2004), Denver (2003) and Detroit (2000).

- HIGHEST CHAMP CAR START: His best career start is second place in Montreal and Denver in 2003.

What They're Saying About Portland ...

Sebastien Bourdais, #1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "Our weekend in Portland last year put the McDonald's team on a roll, it was the beginning of a very good summer. It was definitely a great stretch for us. We won in Portland, then in Cleveland and Toronto and had a very good summer. Portland is a track where you can have a great weekend. The car can be perfect and the flow is very important. If you don't have the flow it's a real struggle. I was very happy with the balance of the car last year. We perfectly anticipated the shift with the temperature. The McDonalds car was up front the whole day and Newman/Haas Racing felt very dominant; we nearly lapped the whole field except Tracy so it was quite an impressive performance. I think the changes they did on the race track are interesting and probably safer for the start. Everybody was fighting at a very, very slow speed at the apex of Turn 2 and now it's a bit smoother. Everybody can keep the speed so we shouldn't see a big pile of cars at the start. We should have a clean start, keep all the cars on the race track, put on a good show and have a good day.

"I think Oriol was a good choice to drive the PacifiCare car while Bruno is recuperating. We worked well together in Milwaukee and he was able to bring the team a podium finish. I think he deserves a chance to drive top equipment."

Oriol Servia, #2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone: "To drive the PacifiCare car is a great opportunity for me although I don't like the circumstances of getting it. Bruno is my friend and I will work hard to make him proud. I'm with the best team ever and it's fantastic to drive the PacifiCare car that was leading the championship and I'm going to do my best to give them good finishes. People ask if there is more pressure but it's actually the other way. With this team, everything is done so my life is easier and all I have to do is concentrate on driving the car and doing my job. Usually people have appreciated what I have been able to do with the equipment I am in and I hope that I can do that with Newman/Haas as well because they have obviously proved that their equipment is excellent.

"I think they changed Turn 1 in a good way because it was too slow, especially at the start. It was way too easy which made everybody want to be the first out of there so you could easily see crashes there. Now there is still potential for crashes but it is definitely better and I'm sure it will improve the racing.

"Portland is a very special track, I like it. It has some fast corners, some very fast chicanes and slow corners and there are a lot of flowing corners so you need to have a lot of grip and a well balanced car. I'm sure the PacifiCare car will be very good there. The best time I had there was in my rookie year in 2000. The team I was with was running Toyotas and I was the highest qualified Toyota. I out qualified (Juan) Montoya, (Cristiano) da Matta, and (Jimmy) Vasser so it was a good track for me."

-nhr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Michael Andretti , Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Mario Andretti , Sébastien Bourdais
Teams Team Penske