TEAM CENTRIX DRIVER JUNQUEIRA TO HAVE SURGERY AFTER SPINAL INJURY DUE TO CONTACT; BOURDAIS FINISHED 12TH AFTER CONTACT WITH 1.5 LAPS TO GO IN INDY 500 WHILE FIFTH Carl Haas, Co-Owner of Newman/Haas Racing: "Today's incident was very unfortunate.
TEAM CENTRIX DRIVER JUNQUEIRA TO HAVE SURGERY AFTER SPINAL INJURY DUE TO CONTACT; BOURDAIS FINISHED 12TH AFTER CONTACT WITH 1.5 LAPS TO GO IN INDY 500 WHILE FIFTH
Carl Haas, Co-Owner of Newman/Haas Racing: "Today's incident was very unfortunate. Bruno had been running an excellent race and he was very happy with the performance of the racecar. He was running in sixth place when on lap 77 there was contact made with the lapped car of A.J. Foyt IV. This is certainly not the way we had hoped to end the month of May, but Bruno is in the very capable hands of Dr. Terry Trammel and the medical team at Methodist Hospital. Thankfully, Bruno was conscious after the incident and the extent of his injuries and best course of treatment are still being determined."
Bruno Junqueira, No. 36 Team CENTRIX Honda/Panoz/Firestone: According to Dr. Henry Bock, IRL and IMS senior director of medical services: Bruno Junqueira has been diagnosed with a concussion and fractures of the T-12 and L-1 vertebras that will require surgery on Monday. He is stable and in fair condition at Methodist Hospital. Junqueira was unavailable for a statement.
* FAST FACTS: Was his fourth race here. In his rookie event in 2001 he started 20th and finished fifth for Target Ganassi Racing. He won the pole position in 2002, led the first 32 laps but retired in 31st place with engine failure also with Target Ganassi Racing. Last year in his first Indy 500 with NHR he qualified his PacifiCare Honda-G-Force fourth despite limited practice time. He was in the midst of leading 16 laps when rain and tornados were closing in but had to give up the lead to pit for fuel and was in fifth place when the race was stopped early under caution not long after due to weather...LEADS CHAMP CAR POINT STANDINGS: Started second, led eight laps and finished third in the season-opener in Long Beach...Hindered by boost problem in final qualifying and started fifth but led the final 9 laps in Monterrey, Mexico to win and take the points lead...Has 59 points while second place Bourdais has 58 and Justin Wilson has 47.
Sebastien Bourdais, No. 37 Team CENTRIX Honda/Panoz/Firestone: "I was very happy with where the No. 37 Team CENTRIX car was -- at the front at the end of the race. That was exactly what we wanted to do and that's why I am so disappointed. You can't pass in traffic, it's tough, and I couldn't back off big enough. When Vitor passed Danica, she had to back off big time and lost a lot of speed and I couldn't back off enough to get some clean air. She went down on the track quite a lot to protect her line quite well. I couldn't back off more because of the guys close behind me so I lost the momentum myself. Although I tried hard I just moved a little to the left. He (Lazier) was probably to close to me and touched my tires and cut it. I didn't realize what was happening and started slowing down and lost the engine and then hit the wall.
"The race was really crazy and wild. I should have been taken out five times before I was. Accidents happened right in front of me and I was able to avoid them. The race was obviously quite difficult; I had a lot to learn. You can't try to make up positions when you have to be really, really patient. You have to take to opportunity when someone makes a mistake. You can't force the issue and just pass them; most of the time it just doesn't happen. When you fail, not only did you not pass the guy but you lose three or four positions. I want to apologize to Dario; I squeezed him because I didn't even know he was there. My spotter didn't tell me."J
* FAST FACTS: Was his first Indy 500. First sat in an IndyCar on April 18 when he had a seat fitting. Ran his first laps in an IndyCar during the two-day Rookie Orientation Program which began Sunday, May 8....OVAL SUCCESS: Has won two oval races (Germany 2003 & Las Vegas 2004) and one pole on an oval (Germany 2003)...VIVA FRANCE!: Only four Frenchmen have won the Indy 500: Jules Goux (1913, Paris), Rene Thomas (1914, Paris), Gaston Chevrolet (1920, Beaune) and Gil de Ferran (2003, Paris although he lists Sao Paulo, Brazil as his hometown). ..SECOND IN 2005 CCWS STANDINGS: Led a total of 37 laps and drove to victory in Long Beach...Was fastest in 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. Is one point behind teammate Junqueira in the point standings (59-58).