CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: CTE Racing HVM race report

Nelson Philippe Becomes Champ Cars Youngest Race Winner with Victory at Surfers Paradise, Australia CTE Racing HVM driver Nelson Philippe scored the first victory of his Champ Car career today at the Lexmark Indy 300 in Surfers ...

Nelson Philippe Becomes Champ Cars Youngest Race Winner with Victory at Surfers Paradise, Australia

CTE Racing HVM driver Nelson Philippe scored the first victory of his Champ Car career today at the Lexmark Indy 300 in Surfers Paradise, Australia. At 20 years, three months and 29 days, Philippe became the youngest driver ever to win a Champ Car race. Fellow HVM teammate, rookie, Dan Clarke's day ended prematurely with contact on lap 15.

36 races ago, at Long Beach in 2004, Philippe became the youngest driver ever to start a Champ Car race at 17 years, eight months and 25 days. In 2005, Philippe scored four top-ten finishes and was voted the series most improved driver by his peers.

Philippe joined CTE Racing HVM prior to the start of the 2006 season and has enjoyed a breakout year, establishing career-bests, week in and week out. This season has featured a host of new records for Philippe including two podium finishes (Milwaukee and Montreal) and seven top-ten finishes. He achieved his #1 goal this weekend with his victory; he also earned the best start of his Champ Car career. Philippe is ranked fourth in the series championship, with just one race to go.

Surfers Paradise has been good to the CTE Racing HVM organization. The team earned their first victory at the same track three years ago with driver Mario Dominguez. Today's victory was the fourth win for the Indianapolis based team and the first since Ryan Hunter-Reay won from the pole position at the Milwaukee Mile in 2004. 2006 has been one HVM Racing's most successful season's, with three podiums, one victory and a pole position.

Nelson Philippe: "I just can't believe this day has finally come. I am so full of adrenaline, I actually feel like throwing up, but at the same time, it is the best feeling in the world! This is just incredible, my crew was perfect today and Will Phillips my engineer gave me a great car all weekend. The strategy was fantastic and I am just so thankful for the amazing job from my team. I came to this series at very young age without a whole lot of experience racing cars, but I've worked so hard, developing myself on the track and off the track. I knew I could do it and I am really enjoying this success and the confidence it brings. At the same time though, it just gives me the desire to work harder and harder and now that I have my first win, I will continue to focus on my championship position, this season has been amazing."

Dan Clarke: "First of all, congratulations to Nelson on a fantastic maiden Champ Car win - well done team mate, great drive. I had a good car today, so it was a shame that we couldn't go the distance. My Rookie of the Year title rival, Will Power, didn't have a good race either, but that doesn't make it any easier. In fact, it makes it more frustrating as it would have been a chance to close the gap on him. I needed the points, but they weren't there for us this weekend. We'll be back to fight another day, and look to finish the season on a high note in Mexico City."

Keith Wiggins, Team Owner/Managing Director: "I think it's clear that Nelson has made great strides in his career. He's clearly been knocking on the door for a win and it has just been a question of time. Now that he's got his first, I am sure there will be many more. He drove a very smart race today. Dan had a tough day today, but he was quite quick here most of the weekend. He's also run very strong and I am sure he will be fighting for the victory when we return next year."

Cedric The Entertainer, Team Partner: "It was fantastic to be able to be here today in Surfer's Paradise for Nelson's first victory. I am so proud of both Nelson and Dan for all of their accomplishments, and I am very proud of my team."

-credit: cte racing hvm

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Mario Dominguez , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Nelson Philippe , Will Power , Daniel Clarke