pressdog beer of the race is Leinenkugel's Red Lager brewed in tony Chippewa Falls,Wisc. The pdog loves the red stuff.
Welcome to Road America with six races to go we got us a points chase. Booth guys Rick Benjamin and Jon Beekhuis on camera. Sebastien Bourdais is going to F1. Scuderia Toro Roso team in 2008. Announcement just came out. Bourdais on camera -- Will finish the season with the McDonald's team and go for the fourth title.
Points race between Bourdais, Bobby Doornbos and Will Power.
Bourdais has been dominate in winning the bonus points for poles and fast lap. Was 1.5 SECONDS ahead of everyone in qualifying. That, my friends, is a bitchslapping.
Pit reporter Cameron Steele says Will Power has to win to have any shot and stop having DNFs. Bill Stephens says Bobby D. tested with Team Menardi USA at Elkhart Lake in June.
Michelle Beisner, Champ Car Pit Hotty, says Bruno Junqueira will start fifth and has two victories at Elkhart Lake. This is Dale Coyne's 500th start. (I believe he may be oh-fer in those 500.)
Track overview: A HUGE 4-mile long track. Very fast. Everyone loves it. Montage of various drivers talking about how great it is.
On-board cameras with Graham Rahal, Will Power, Bruno, Justin Wilson.
Jon says it's a four-stop race if we stay green. If we have five laps of yellow it turns into a three-stop race. 100 minutes of racing today.
Starting lineup: Bourdais, Power, Doornbos, Rahal, Bruno, Alex Tagliani, Neel Jani (Master of the Pan Flute), Dan Clarke, Jan Heylen, Justin Wilson, Tristain Gommendy, Simon Pagenaud, Ryan Dalziel, Oriol Servia, Alex Figge, Paul Tracy and Katherine Legge.
Standing start. Time to light this candle. Lights overhead go: red, red, red, red ... blank means green- green-green.
Jon -- Bruno got a fantastic start! Will Power did not get off the line very well. Into turn one OK.
Turn 5 -- THREE WIDE. That's not good. Contact. Yellow yellow yellow. We got three cars smacked around. Paul Tracy is off into the gravel. Someone lost a nose wing (shocking!). Replays. Pagenaud dives inside to make it three wide. I think Ryan Dalziel was in the middle and had Tracy outside. Nowhere to go.
Stephens in Pagenaud's pit. He ditches the reds and goes to some black sidewalls. Bill says nobody likes the reds. I think Pagenaud was the one who lost the nose.
Jon -- Bruno was ruled to jump the start. Will have to do a drive-through penalty when we go green again.
Lap 3 -- Green. Bourdais resumes the bitchslap. Bruno is third and will have to come in for the drive through at some point.
Power shoulders passed Rahal with a nice inside move at turn 5.
Pagenaud is still on pit road. Bruno stays out and gets the black flag brandished directly at him.
Lap 5 -- Rahal passes Power back. Heylen takes a look at making a move in Turn 5, quickly becoming the designated passing spot, but gets back out of it.
Cameron Steele: Speedy Dan Clarke pitted during the yellow. Going on the alternate strategy. Having a some clutch issues.
Jon -- Blacks are faster than reds for most people.
Justin Wilson gets passed. Speedy Dan is on a rampage. He's gone from 12th after he pitted to 7th by lap 7.
Lap 7 -- Bruno serves his drive through. Speedy Dan is off in the grass but pulls it right back onto the track. No big deal.
Heylen has a new paint job. Michelle with Eric Bachelor, Heylen pit boss. Says they have a new sponsor and got a new paint job. Heylen is from Belgium and is looking forward to next race at Heusden-Zolder, Belgium, Aug. 26.
Zolder and then Assen, the Netherlands on Labor Day weekend. The Assen race will be sponsored by Bavaria beer, which is mighty tasty. So we got the beer of that race figured out.
Onboard with Justin Wilson who has a car that pushes AND is loose. Not good.
Lap 8 -- Here's your opportunity to contribute directly to the profits of Champ Car via the Mazda Virtual Pit Stop. Text your pick to Champ Car and they'll collect 50 cents from you.
Steele -- Wilson in. Gets black sidewalls. Stephens says the car has been a Rubic's Cube.
Lap 9 -- Clarke working on Jani for 6th. He gone from 12th to 7th in four laps. He's now all over Jani's ass. Speedy Dan always drives possessed. He's under Jani in turn 5. Jon: "perfect." Jani has to go out on the rumble strips as Dan goes under.
Holy crap. Doornbos (in second) is within sight of Bourdais. Bourdais must have been saving fuel and coasting through the straightaways.
Lap 10 -- Bourdais, Doornbos, Rahal, Tagliani, Power, Clarke, Jani, Servia, Heylen, Gommendy.
Lap 12 -- Doornbos on camera -- he feels more at home at Road America. Big, fast course like in Europe. Likes it.
Lap 13 -- Speedy Dan is on a mission. He's charging on Tagliani now for fourth. He gets around him.
Jon - Bourdais will have to pit in two. Doornbos will have to pit in one. Bourdais going a lap longer than anyone is shocking. (Not shocking. He does it all the time.)
Tag pits to get rid of the red sidewalls. Teams are chucking them faster than used toilet paper.
Jon says now that maybe Doornbos and Bourdais will pit together. That is shocking. Jon speculates that Doornbos put pressure on Bourdais so he couldn't save fuel and therefore had to pit with the mortals.
Both are in. Bourdais beets Doornbos out.
Lap 15 - Speedy Dan leads! Pit cycling takes him to the lead. 12th to lead in 12 laps. Not shabby. Rick -- this has been a tough year for Clarke. Recaps some of the circus-like behavior, including spearing Wilson in the rear end under yellow last race (I think it was last race) which took him and Wilson out of the race.
To the pit with Michelle and Al Speyer, Executive Director of Bridgestone racing. Reds performance isn't what expected. New cars and the suspension is different so the Road America reds aren't what they expected. Remember that one of the objectives of having the reds at was to create a performance difference that will cause passing for the fans. They are not for the benefit of the drivers.
As one fan, I like the reds because they DO cause passing and throw some wrinkles into it. Same deal with Power to Pass.
Jon says reds and Power to Pass are in there to mix things up a bit.
Lap 16 -- We got pitting going on. Speedy pits and gives up the lead. Comes out in fourth. Servia is fifth after stops.
Replay of Rahal having a look inside Dan Clarke. Declines to go in there. If I was going to pass Dan I'd be sure there plenty of room.
Lap 19 -- Bourdais up by two seconds. Stephens --- Dan is very good state of mine this week. Last race he was pissy and wouldn't talk to anyone post race.
Servia has driven from 15th to 5th.
Lap 21 -- Bourdais, Doornbos, Rahal, Dan, Servia, Tagliani, Wilson, Jani, Gommendy, Heylen, Figge (!)
Stephens: Wilson is in. Left front wheel cam. During a stop is about the only time the left front cam has value. The changer puts about seven cranks of wing into it. After the stop, the front tire came is great for seeing what the inside of a tire looks like. Next we'll have exhaust pipe cam.
Got an iPhone? Champ Car has a site! www.ccws2.com/i
Lap 23 -- Tristan Go Go Gommendy had a huge crash here a while back. Really hasn't been the same since. Fighting for 10th. Some lingering physical effects of the crash.
Michelle with Ryan Dalziel, victim of Pagenaud's banzai move on lap 1. Dalziel -- Pagenaud got a little excited at the start. Got a rock in the fuel pump. Unfortunate for Pacific Coast. Thanks everyone for sticking with him.
15 days ago Dalzeil had surgery to repair a collarbone broken when he fell off his bike while training. Got about 11 plates in it now.
Lap 24 - Figge is 11th. Sun may not rise tomorrow.
Doornbos -- Under attack from Rahal. Gets passed in Turn 5. Doornbos may have issues. Dan is charging. Rick -- Dan is sniffing some blood in the water.
Expect no slack for a teammate (Doornbos) from Speedy. Jon said before the race Champ Car Bringer of the Law Tony Cotman told the drivers: "If you're not involved in the championship race, don't get involved in the championship race." In other words, don't dick up a championship contender if you're not one yourself.
Lap 25 -- Race control video. You can see them in there, watching.
Stephens: Power is in the pits. Cowling is off. "Non-stop parade of problems." The DP01 makes it interesting again.
Replays. Clarke passing Doornbos (I think in turn 5 again). Doornbos couldn't slow down as Dan went around him and RAMS in to the back of Clarke. Car takes a little hop. Front wing is trashed and under Doornbos' car. Locks up the binders and goes into the run off. Whips around and comes back out. He's front wing-less coming around. Getting passed by multiple cars. Drives over some rumble strips to get the wing out from under his car.
Lap 28 -- Rahal pits. Team tells him to lay off the power to pass which he has been hammering all race, I guess.
Gommendy and Heylen drag racing down pit road. I think Gommendy gets out first.
Bourdais was up by eight seconds. Pits and gets out. Speedy Dan leads again briefly but then pits. Tracy comes in for a full fill and is out. He's mired back in 12th.
Lap 30 (41 minutes to go): Bourdais, Rahal, Clarke, Servia, Tagliani, Heylen, Jani, Gommendy, Heylen, Figge (!)
Katherine Legge gets extendo air. Her car has been repainted to match her helmet. When you got no sponsor to worry about, you can paint it however you want.
Lap 33 -- Power to Pass. Extra 50 horsepower when you hit the button. 18-second bursts. Dan Clarke is third, Servia fourth.
Michelle with Keith Wiggins of Team Manardi USA. Speedy and Doornbos are teammates, collided. Keith not sure what was up. Will have to talk to drivers.
Lap 34 (33 minutes to go). Forsythe is struggling. Brought in Mo Nunn as a consultant. Trying to get things unscrewed. Seems to be working for Servia, anyway. Tracy is stuck back in 11th.
Bourdais has let 32 of 35 laps so far. Not much doubt on this one.
Paddle Shift Cam! Interesting. Onboard with Bruno and you can see him using two fingertips to operate the paddle shifter. Jon says the tendency is to MASH the shifter paddle and you don't have to. Just a light touch on that.
Lap 36 -- Wilson passes Figge. Into 9th. Another televised pass. We got tons of them in this race.
Steele: With Will Power -- mechanical failure. Will -- We manage to not finish the races that everyone else finishes for maximum loss of points. Car got stuck in 4th.
Lap 37 -- Clark and Servia are battling. 28 minutes to go.
Katherine Legge is 15th. Having issues. A year ago she went airborne at the Kink here. Attempt to replay. There's Katherine talking but we got no sound. The replay is FUBARed.
Legge is six laps down. Getting some major air anyway. Replay attempt number 2. This time we can hear what Katherine is saying. Talking about losing part of her rear wing. Speeded up really fast, thought "this is not going to be good." Did some major cartwheeling. Said "make sure my dad knows I'm OK." Never realize the affect stuff has on others. Said she wanted to come out of the care center to wave to everyone so they would know she was fine.
21 minutes to go. Pitting. Bourdais in. 10.4. Out. If he leads after the last stop, it's game over. Will win barring air strike.
Doornbos on pit road. Changing upper wishbone from where he smacked Dan. Don't know why Doornbos slowed before he got passed by Speedy. Seemed to be having issues right before he got passed.
Lap 42 -- Dan pits. Out in 9.2. Out in front of Rahal who pitted a couple of laps earlier. I doubt Speedy is speedy enough to catch Bourdais.
Dan is now about eight seconds behind Bourdais and two in front of third-place Rahal.
Lap 45 -- Bourdais, Clarke, Rahal, Servia, Tag, Jani, Heylen, Wilson, Go Mindy.
Onboard with Rahal. Closing on Dan. May be a battle for second. Dan may be the new Paul Tracy. Pass at your own risk.
Beisner with Debbie Rahal, mother of Graham. Very proud. Happy Graham got the cover of ESPN the Mag. Fun to have them come out to the house and interview people.
Jon says Rahal has a 2000-square-foot bachelor pad above the garage at the Rahal residence. Owns about five high-dollar sports cars. Living large for an 18 year old. He's just 18, for the record. In case you didn't know.
Lap 47 -- Gommendy around Wilson, cuts inside and locks them up to get slowed enough to make the turn. Serious balls of steel there.
Rick -- Wilson may be in line for Bourdais' seat when he bolts. (I imagine there are knife fights between drivers outside the Newman Haas Lanigan racing HQ for that seat.)
Jimmy Vasser: Go Mindy may have flat-spotted a tire with his move. Gotta be careful. Jani may have to pit very late due to poor fuel mileage. Vasser: "That kind of sucks." Nice. Pan Flute isn't used to this whole "saving fuel" crap we do here in the states.
Lap 50. 5 minutes left. K Legge is out for the day. Car started on fire or something. That's about all it hasn't done this year, mechanical failure wise. Fire is pretty much the last step.
Bourdais is up by seven and cruising. Dan second. Rahal third.
Jani in for a splash and go.
Katherine Legge with Michelle. Katherine -- Last top pull in and they told me to get out of the car because it was on fire. Thinks a fuel line burst. Really important that we get it sorted before we go over to Belgium. "Don't want to wreck my reputation over there too." That sounds like a driver who has been saddled with squealing pigs for cars for a year. Kath and her friend Sarah Fisher of the IRL can get together over some pints and compare pigs.
One to go. Sans drama. Again the flag guy has to hold up one finger to tell them one to go. That's easy to see when you streak by the start-finish at about 150. Some guy holding up one finger. Can't miss it!
Bourdais is on his power to pass to get the fastest lap bonus point. Speedy is in second. Bourdais goes across the line with both hands up in the air. Battle for 11th. Tracy goes off the road and loses the position. Ends up 12th.
Lap 53 (finish): Bourdais, Clarke, Rahal, Servia, Tagliani, Heylen, Gommendy, Wilson, Bruno, Jani, Pagenaud, Tracy, Figge, Doornbos, Legge, Power, Dalziel.
Bourdais does victory donuts. With Craig Hampson, Bourdais pit boss. Says Bourdais could still lose it (kidding). Says Bourdais wanted to win Elkhart Lake before leaving the U.S. for F1. The F1 talk was a distraction so now that it's off his shoulders he can just drive fast. (The rest of the field is now hurling into garbage cans.)
Bourdais out with Cameron: Perfect weekend. Great car thanks to the McDonald's team. (Bourdais always gives the crew props. So props to him for that.) Great day for us. Great to finally win Road America. Graham on the podium as well so it couldn't be better.
Speedy Dan, best run of his career, gets silver. Bill Stephens with the Speedster -- Had an awesome first stint. Drove the wheels off it. (Doornbos pass) I got passed him and had to go on the brakes. Don't know what happened there. Don't know how he finished.
Graham Rahal. With Bobby. Third podium this year. Early yellow let cars stay in front of us.
Michelle with Oriol. Was challenging starting 14th. Finish 4th. Thought I had the podium but no.
I like the whole "podium" thing. I think the IRL should do it too. Have a ceremony where all the top three get up there and get something. Rewards the silver and bronze a little. They just do the victory lane thing with the one car.
Tune in at 8 A.M. on Aug. 26, ESPN Classic (which I don't get, so I'll try to watch it on Race Director), for the Circuit Zolder in Belgium.
Points update: Bourdais leads by 37 over Doornbos and by 53 over Power.