BOURDAIS DOMINATES EARLY PART OF PHOENIX GRAND PRIX BUT PIT STOP MISHAP DROPS HIM OUT OF CONTENTION
Sebastien Bourdais Race Summary:
Sebastien Bourdais qualified the No. 18 Team SealMaster – Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Honda/Dallara/Firestone car on the pole and then dominated the first 43 laps (led a total of 60 laps in all) of the 250 lap race as well as recording the fastest lap of the race on lap 2. While working lap 40 the first yellow of the race came out and when the pits opened, Bourdais, along with the rest of the field pitted on lap 43. During the stop, Bourdais skated on the pit lane concrete forcing a crew member to fall out of the way. IndyCar officials ruled that Bourdais had hit a crew member and accessed a drive through penalty dropping him to 22ndand a lap down. The talented Frenchman, who resides in St. Petersburg, FL, fought back using his tremendous skill to pass several other competitors, but could not get the timely yellow flag needed to un-lap himself and ended up finishing 13th. The finish dropped Bourdais from first in the championship to third. Sebastien is just two points out of second and seven out of first heading into next week’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, where Bourdais has traditionally been strong.
Sebastien Bourdais Race Quote:
“We were pretty much in control of the race and things were looking good. Then the first and almost only yellow came out. We paraded around for two or three laps and all I was thinking about was hitting my marks when we pitted. I didn’t scrub my tires. I didn’t pay attention that my tires loaded up with a bunch of junk and next thing I knew I was on the concrete in the pit lane. I tried to slow down and locked up the wheels instantly and nothing happened. Nothing. I just skated and two guys left with me. That was the failed moment of the race because after that there were no yellows until all the pit stops were completed. So, that was that. We just never recovered from going down a lap because of the drive through penalty. I made a bunch of passes and recovered a decent amount of positions, but nothing to put us where we belonged. So, pretty disappointing overall, based on starting on the pole and the car we had.
- Bourdais is contesting his 13th Verizon IndyCar Series season, third with Dale Coyne Racing and first with Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser-Sullivan.
- The 2018 Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix was Bourdais’ 173rd Verizon IndyCar Series start, third at Phoenix and 35th on an oval.
- In three starts at Phoenix, Bourdais has a best starting position of first (2018) and a best finish of eighth (2016).
- In 173 career IndyCar starts, Bourdais has won 37 races (sixth all-time) and captured 34 pole positions (seventh all-time).
- Of Bourdais’ 35 career oval starts, 27 have come in the last six years (26 in last five years).
- Bourdais has now made 28 IndyCar oval starts (includes 2005 Indy 500) with a best qualifying effort of first at Phoenix in 2018. Phoenix was his first pole since Mid-Ohio in 2014 and first on an oval since 2006 when he won the pole at Milwaukee (previous high was fourth at Fontana in 2013). His best finish is a victory at Milwaukee in 2015. It was his first oval win since 2006 also at Milwaukee.
- Bourdais made seven oval starts in Champ Car earning four victories: Lausitz, 2003; Las Vegas in 2004 and 2005; Milwaukee 2006 and capturing three poles: Lausitz, 2003; Las Vegas 2005 and Milwaukee in 2006.
- Bourdais is the only driver to win four consecutive IndyCar championships (2004 – 2007).
- He competed in 27 Formula One races (2008-2009) and is an accomplished sports car racer having won the GT Le Mans class in 2017, the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours in the GTE Pro category (from the pole), the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans in 2015 and the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2014 (was runner-up in 2015). He has another pole and three runner-up finishes (2007, 2009 and 2011) at Le Mans.
- Bourdais, 39, is a native of Le Mans, France, but resides in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Round 3 of the 2018 Version IndyCar Series will be the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 13-15, on the streets of Long Beach, CA. Qualifying will be broadcast live on NBCSN at 6:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 14. The race will be broadcast live on NBCSN at 4:00 p.m. ET. It is also available on radio: XM 209 and IMS IndyCar Radio as well as online: IndyCar.com and Verizon IndyCar 15 app.