CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Newman/Haas Racing race report

Bourdais & Junqueira 1-2 in Portland - McDonald's 0x0932iver Sebastien Bourdais drove to his second win of the season from pole and fifth of his Champ Car career in today's 94-lap Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland. Bourdais earned the seventh ...

Bourdais & Junqueira 1-2 in Portland

- McDonald's 0x0932iver Sebastien Bourdais drove to his second win of the season from pole and fifth of his Champ Car career in today's 94-lap Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland. Bourdais earned the seventh victory for Newman/Haas Racing at Portland International Raceway as well as their fourth pole here. With Junqueira's second place finish, Newman/Haas Racing has now earned a total of 13 podium finishes here. Beginning with Cristiano da Matta's victory in Australia of '01, NHR has won 16 of the past 43 races. After a difficult race here last year, Bourdais was happy to put in a dominant performance today at Portland International Raceway by leading 85 of 94 laps on a hot and sunny day where temperatures ranged from 132 to 135 on the track and 83 to 91 ambient. He earned 33 points for his effort and moved from fourth place to the third in the championship standings with 98 points to leader Bruno Junqueira 105 after four of 16 races.

The field was required to make three, green flag pit stops and for the second time this season Bridgestone brought an alternate tire for use in a Champ Car World Series event. The alternate tire features a softer compound than the primary tire specification, providing more grip and, in turn, faster performance. According to Champ Car regulations each team was issued two sets of alternate tires in addition to the six sets of primary spec tires received. Each car is required to utilize at least one set of alternates in the race.

Bourdais started the race on the alternate tire and the only time he relinquished the lead was when he made one of his three pit stops. In his first stop he took on regular Bridgestone sticker tires, scuffed alternate tires for his second stop and regular sticker tires for his third. His biggest challenged of the race came after the final pit stop when teammate and second place runner Bruno Junqueira, who was on the softer and faster "alternate" tires and had closed the gap from nine seconds to 1.2. Junqueira was unable to get close enough to make attempt a pass and Bourdais took the checkered flag after 94 laps and moved from fourth to third in the point standings. Following are his post race comments:

"Now we're back on the scene,'' said Bourdais, who did not score and championship points at the previous race in Milwaukee due to a crash. "I am happy with our results today. The Newman/Haas team and McDonald's crew did an excellent job today. The McDonald's car was consistent and we were able to pull away. I knew that Bruno would have a shot to catch me at the end when he put on a set of Bridgestone's Alternate tires because those tires were so fast and I had the Primary tires on because I used up my Alternate Tires. However, we were able to pull it off. The Bridgestone tires were great here. The regular tires were just fine, but the alternate tires were much better. Not only were they quicker, but they were durable as well. I was faster between three-tenths and five-tenths (of a second) from the middle to the end of the stint, so it was perfect. It is a good day and a good finish for the team."

- PacifiCare driver Bruno Junqueira earned his third second-place finish this season at today's 94-lap Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland and was able to increase his lead in the Championship from one point entering the event to six with a total of 105. He also finished second in Long Beach and Monterrey, Mexico. He earned a total of 29 points for his finish as well as one point for setting the fastest race lap (Lap 92).

The field was required to make three, green flag pit stops and for the second time this season Bridgestone brought an alternate tire for use in a Champ Car World Series event. The alternate tire features a softer compound than the primary tire specification, providing more grip and, in turn, faster performance. According to Champ Car regulations each team was issued two sets of alternate tires in addition to the six sets of primary spec tires received. Each car is required to utilize at least one set of alternates in the race.

Bruno's father Jose Junqueira joined other Champ Car driver father's for the command "Sons Start Your Engines" to start the event. For the beginning of the race, Junqueira and the PacifiCare team elected to start on Bridgestone's alternate tire. Once the race started he maintained his second place qualifying position which he held through two caution periods from Laps 1-3 and again from Laps 4-8 as well as through his first two pit stops on Laps 29 and 56 where he took on fuel and Bridgestone's regular tire compound. Once both pit stop cycles were complete, each of the stops coming one lap earlier than his teammate Bourdais', he returned to his second place position. His third and final pit stop came on Lap 76 and he took on fuel and the alternate tire compound. While navigating lapped traffic as he had for the majority of the race, he surpassed the fastest lap time that had previously been set by Patrick Carpentier on Lap 87. He bettered his own time on Lap 89 and again on Lap 92 while closing his deficit to race leader Bourdais from 8.8 seconds to 1.2 by the time he took the checkered flag after 94 laps. With a total of 105 points, Junqueira holds a six-point lead over Patrick Carpentier who has 99. Bourdais is third with 98 points. Following are Junqueira's post race comments:

"The PacifiCare car was good throughout the whole race," said Junqueira. "We were just following Sebastien (Bourdais) most of the race. I got caught up in traffic, and Sebastien got a big gap from that. After our last pit stop, we put on a new set of the alternate tires. The alternate tires that Bridgestone provided us were real fast and had a lot of grip. I thought I would catch him in the end, however, I ran into more traffic and ran out of time. But we only finished a second behind Sebastien, so it was close. Bridgestone did a great job here. I was quite impressed with the alternate tires. I wish I'd had a chance to run those in qualifying, and I'd have been on the pole no problem. They were really awesome, and I think Bridgestone did a good job on that - I was lapping very fast at the end of the race. It was a good finish for the Newman/Haas team and good to retain the Championship lead. Now we will head to Cleveland."

- Up Next...The series will take next weekend off before reconvening in Cleveland, Ohio for a race on Saturday, July 2 at 5 PM CST. Bourdais won the event from pole last season in what was the first of three McDonald's-sponsored races of the season while teammate Junqueira finished third.

-nhr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Patrick Carpentier , Sébastien Bourdais , Cristiano da Matta