Sebastien Bourdais Wins Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Race Two
· Win is first for four-time champion on the Raceway at Belle Isle Park
· Chevrolet has won six of eight race to date in the Verizon IndyCar Series
· Chevrolet 2.2 liter V6 drivers hold four of top-five points positions at half-way point of 2015 season
DETROIT (May 31, 2015) – Sebastien Bourdais, driver of the No. 11 Team Mistic E-Cigs KVSH Chevrolet, held off a spirited challenge following a late-race red-flag to win the Verizon IndyCar Series Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans on Sunday. It was Bourdais’ first career win at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park, and the 33rd of his Indy car career, to move to within one victory of seventh place on the all-time list.
“Today we did everything right,” said Bourdais, who led 18 of 68 laps. ”The strategy, the pit stops, the management of the fuel – the guys did awesome.”
Bourdais’ victory is the sixth in eight races for Chevrolet. Points leader Juan Pablo Montoya has two victories including the Indianapolis 500 with Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden and Will Power also scoring a win in their Chevrolet 2.2 liter V6 twin turbo direct injected engine full integrated into the 2015 Chevrolet Aero Kit.
Bourdais, whose previous best finish this season was sixth at both St. Petersburg and Long Beach, started ninth and ran near the front for most of the afternoon before taking the lead on lap 51 and led the final 18 circuits around the 2.35-mile temporary street course.
“Congratulations to Sebastien Bourdais for winning the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit under very trying conditions,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Sebastien showed a lot of poise down the stretch, and when it counted at the end he did everything he needed to do to pull away for the win. What a great accomplishment for Sebastien in our hometown.”
Bourdais’ last victory was last year at Toronto. He trails only Scott Dixon in wins among active drivers with 33.
Montoya, No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, led a race-high 35 laps and was competing for the lead at the end, but as he was trying to conserve fuel he dropped six positions in the closing laps and finished 10th, and then ran out of fuel on the cool-down lap.
Montoya still leads the series points standings by 11 points over teammate Will Power, No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, who finished 18th. Power, the defending series’ champion and Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, were involved in late-race contact and fell to18th and 19th place, respectively.]
It is back to oval track racing for Team Chevy in the Verizon IndyCar Series at Texas Motor Speedway. The Firestone 600 is scheduled for June 6, 2015 with live television coverage on NBCSN beginning at 8:00 p.m. (ET). INDYCAR Radio Network affiliates including Sirius 212, XM 209 and IndyCar.com will also bring all the action live to the fans.
AN INTERVIEW WITH
THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by the winner of today’s race, Sebastien Bourdais.
Sebastien, obviously a great day for you to be back on top, as you were last year in Toronto most recently. What was the day like for you? How were you able to fight your way up to the top in tricky conditions?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: You know, it’s a very tricky race. Obviously after the debacle we had to go through yesterday, you obviously witnessed what happened. We put wets on way too early, we came back for dries, then it rained again. Pretty much everything went wrong. It’s like, Hmm, how do we bounce off of that?
We were ready to go this morning. Obviously got rained out in qualifying. Didn’t have the best starting spot. But, you know, felt pretty comfortable that we could have a good day.
I was feeling pretty racy at the beginning. Picked up a couple positions in the rain. Car was very solid. I had a lot of confidence. Then there was all that middle stage of the race where it was very slippery. Started to rain again. Felt like I was just going to stuff it every corner. So I just really tried to stay off the walls and make no mistakes.
It kind of worked out. We still came out of the pits in front of Helio, whoever we were racing with. I’m kind of losing track of everything here.
At that point the yellow came out. Boy, everybody is laying out slicks. Man, there’s no way. Never going to work. It looked like it was way too slippery. It was really just a groove on both tires to stay in between. It felt like it was just going to be chaos out there.
At the restart I kind of nailed it. Juan was really pushy. Then the yellow came right after again. There was a succession of yellows after yellow. At one point we had to make a call whether we were going to stay out and gamble that all the yellows were going to keep going. It sure looked like it was going to be that way.
When the conditions are that tricky, you’re restarting, everybody is trying to make moves, there is only one dry line, it’s calling for more yellows.
At that stage a lot of guys stuck it out with us, were on the same strategy. It was either we were going to win it or we were going to finish probably, you know, top five, maybe a bit worse than that, but not really far. It felt like the right thing to do.
The guys did a great, you know, pit stop all day. I had pretty good restarts every time and made sure I was not going to leave the door open and give the positions away.
You know, couldn’t be any happier really. It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride with all the weather coming through. Last year obviously was probably our weakest race of the season, so we didn’t know what we were going to get.
The car was really strong as it needed to be. It feels pretty sweet to be up there.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. I don’t mean any disrespect by this, but between you and Juan, this has been a great resurgence from the older guys that came from CART and Champ Car. What is it like to experience success at this stage of your career?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, no, you’re right. I’m 36 years old. I’m not a youngster anymore. I’m more in the T.K., Juan and Helio group than the young guns. Probably have quite a few more years behind me than in front of me.
But yeah, I mean, you look at the championship standings right now, you see all the guys, the experienced guys, as quick as ever, running right up there, making very few mistakes.
It’s a great feeling. I think the reason why we’re here is we love racing, we love these cars, we love the series, the tracks we race on. It’s just a lot of fun.
I’ll keep on racing this kind of series for as long as I get paid to do so.
Q. You and Juan were huge names in CART. Now here you are.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, obviously Juan had the opportunity to get back in a championship-winning team. We’re more of an underdog, especially on the ovals. We don’t quite have the resources to investigate as much as they do. They have four cars and they get it right more often than not.
For us, that’s why it’s so sweet. When we get it right like we did last year, we qualify on pole, run up front, win the race. Or today we passed them on the track, give them a real run for their money. They’re not happy about it. We like to create the upset. I like the challenge. I’ll keep on doing it as much as I can.
Q. You roll out there after the red flag. What is on your mind about the restart that’s coming? Takuma said he thought you kind of hesitated there a little bit, which threw everybody off. What is on your mind knowing it’s a timed race at that point?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, seeing what he did to Juan, yeah, I became pretty creative at the restart. I wasn’t going to give it up. I think there’s going to be a lot of talk about what happened on these restarts, guys pulling out way before the green flag, which you’re not supposed to. We’ve been talking about it for a long time and we’ll be talking about it till we get it right.
Juan should not have left the position, and he did. They didn’t do anything about it. For me it’s wrong. We need to fix that. The more we let it happen, the more it encourages people to do things at the back, burn the restarts, create what’s going on.
If guys are getting penalized every time they move out of the lane or pass people before the green flag gets thrown, nobody can do it. If you don’t get penalized, everyone is given a shot.
Q. What was going through your mind on the restart?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: No matter what happens, they’re not going by. That was pretty straightforward. Go big or go home (laughter).
Q. It sounded like you were on the fence of whether you had enough fuel or not. When did you stop worrying about that?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, I mean, when the red flag came out, before I knew it was going to be a time race, I was really pissed. Obviously, that yellow was our go home yellow. When they red flagged the race, it was going to go green straight after. Had it not been a timed race, we probably would have run out of fuel. We didn’t have five laps of fuel in the car.
I kind of dragged my feet a little bit on the last caution lap just to make sure that fourth lap was not going to be. Then the team told me, Yeah, you’re good to go. After that, we were against the fence for sure. I think on the dash, there was .12 gallons when I crossed the start/finish line coming back around after the checkered flag.
Yeah, we might have been able to do that in lap green, but maybe not. So it depends on the fuel. I can’t be quite sure of that.
Q. What was the primary thought going through your head during the last few minutes of the race? Was it how much fuel you had left, pole position or something different?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: No, obviously there was no concern of saving fuel. Before the green flag lap, they told me I was good to go. I had two ‘push to pass’ left. I knew Takuma was going to be very aggressive. He always is when he’s running no matter where he’s at in the field.
For sure, if he’s going for the win, I think he has on his dash, No attack, no chance. So you know what you’re going up against.
He’s going to really race you hard. I was trying to make sure he wasn’t going to be in a position to attack or make a move. I really just hit my marks and braked as late as I could, rolled as much speed.
The Firestone reds were the big help in that. We were debating whether to put the blacks or the reds. The reds were definitely the way to go because it seemed like it was just going to be restart after restart scenario. Always superior in these cool temperatures at restarts.
I didn’t have to do any tire warming or anything, burning fuel, to get some heat in the tires. I was capable of going straight at the green without burning fuel to put heat in the tires. That was crucial because obviously if I had to do the last lap of yellow burning rubber off to try to get some heat, we never would have made it.
After all these restarts, I felt pretty comfortable at what the car could do on cold tires, how much speed I could roll, particularly in the first chicane, the one and two complex. That was the critical place every time, to get a good run off of two. The car seemed to be really competitive doing that. Then these last couple of laps, once I pulled a little gap on Takuma, it was just about making no mistakes and staying pretty cool in the car.
Q. When the red flag came out, were you sitting there going, Yes?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: No, I was absolutely livid. As I said, had it not been a timed race, we would not have made it. We needed the full length of the yellow to save the extra lap to make it.
No, I was pretty pissed.
Q. As it turned out, it was three laps or four.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: It became a timed race. Five laps or five and a half minutes. If we had done two laps on the yellow, we were good. Because we went straight to green, if it wasn’t a timed race, we were done. I had to get the call and confirmation that it was going to be a timed race, and that we were good on fuel. So for about five minutes I was going bonkers in the car because I thought we lost the race.
Q. You competed against him in Formula One. When you see the 14 in your side view mirrors, do you feel secure or a little nervous?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I think we all know Takuma. He’s obviously a very hard and very big fighter. Yeah, I mean, the last couple times I passed him and he came behind me, he hit us both times. It was one of those where it’s like, All right, let’s try to make sure we pull enough of a gap so none of that can happen.
You can only control what you’re doing. I was kind of hoping he would keep it together.
THE MODERATOR: Sebastien, congratulations. Good luck next weekend.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Thank you very much.