IMPRESSIVE FIRST RUN PUTS BOURDAIS IN FAST-NINE

FOR POLE DAY OF 102nd RUNNING OF INDIANAPOLIS 500 

Sebastien Bourdais Qualifying Summary:
Sebastien Bourdais was impressive today putting the No. 18 Team SealMaster – Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan car fifth on the speed charts with a dramatic run in the first round of qualifying for the 2018 Indianapolis 500. Bourdais was just three cars away from making his qualifying run when rain struck forcing a 2 hour 21 minute delay. Going out in far different conditions than the 11 previous cars, Bourdais never-the-less put on a show running a four-lap average speed of 228.090. The fastest of any Honda car, the speed put him in the Fast-Nine giving him a chance to contend for the pole tomorrow. The 39-year-old resident of St. Petersburg, FL returned to Indy 500 qualifying after suffering a horrendous crash last year during an attempt that would have put him on the pole, but instead left him with severe injuries to his hip, pelvis and ribs requiring surgery and an intense recovery period. However, Bourdais showed once again that he has suffered no ill effects from the incident. He has since won the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season opener in St. Petersburg, captured an oval pole in Phoenix, and now demonstrated that he can run at the front on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis super-speedway oval. By finishing in the Fast-Nine, Bourdais will have another shot at an Indy 500 pole tomorrow, when qualifying resumes and the final grid order is set. Only the fast-nine qualifiers from today will compete for the pole and fill the first three rows of the starting grid. By qualifying fifth today he has guaranteed that he will earn his fifth top-10 qualifying spot this season and is in position to surpass his best qualifying effort of seventh (2015) at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Sebastien Bourdais Qualifying Quote:
“It was a solid run for the SealMaster Honda No. 18. Very conservative, obviously, I kind of owed it to myself, my wife, everybody on the team. A lot of things went through my head, particularly yesterday. We were back in qualifying trim and it was not an easy day, but the guys did a great job and the car was pretty strong. We almost did a repeat of yesterday during the qualifying run today. It was a tough set of circumstances. The conditions were a little tricky. Just before we were supposed to go out it rains. Then it got hot. You go from 80 degrees of track temp to 105, six to eight degrees more of ambient. It was tough to hit the setup right with the conditions that changed so fast, but we had the right amount of downforce. The car was pretty solid, so very happy with the run.”

Fast Facts:

  • Bourdais has qualified in the top-three three times in the first five races of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season and in the top-10 four times. He captured the pole at Phoenix, started third at Barber and in the INDYCAR GP, and ninth at Long Beach.
  • In six previous Indy 500’s, Bourdais has a best qualifying effort of seventh in 2015. He has two top-10 finishes with a best showing of seventh in 2014 (ninth in 2016).
  • Bourdais is third in the championship standings with 152 points on the strength of a victory at St. Petersburg, the fifth place performance at Barber, the fourth in the INDYCAR Grand Prix and a pair of 13th place showings at Phoenix and Long Beach.
  • Bourdais is the only driver to have led laps in the first five races of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
  • His total of 104 laps led this year is third behind Robert Wickens, 133 and Josef Newgarden, 107.
  • 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 Indy 500 will be Bourdais’ 177th Verizon IndyCar Series start and 36th on an oval.
  • In 176 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 made 28 IndyCar oval starts (includes 2005 Indy 500) with a best qualifying effort of first (pole) at Phoenix in 2018. Phoenix was his first pole since Mid-Ohio in 2014 and first on an oval since 2006 when he captured 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).

Qualifying Procedure:

Qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 is unique. It is run over two days, with every participant having an opportunity to turn in a four-lap run on the 2.5-mile oval on Saturday, which this year is also Bump Day. The top 33 qualifiers on Saturday will then return Sunday to set the final grid for the May 27th race. Drivers with the nine fastest times on Saturday will compete for the pole and positions on the first three rows. Drivers who clocked Saturday qualifying times between 10th and 33rd will go on track first on Sunday to set the field for those positions.

Broadcast Times:
The Indianapolis 500 qualifying will continue tomorrowSunday, May 20. Qualifications broadcast times are: Sunday May 204:00 – 6:00 p.m. on ABC.

The 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500, Round 6 of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series, will be held on May 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, IN. The race will be broadcast live on ABC at 11:00 a.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.