Bourdais Finishes Top 10 at Grand Prix of Portland
It was a tough weekend for the ENEOS-sponsored Dale Coyne Racing at the Grand Prix of Portland, held on September 1, 2019 at Portland International Raceway. Sebastien Bourdais, pilot of the #18 Team SealMaster Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan entry, finished ninth in the 105-lap race, while teammate Santino Ferrucci in the #19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Dale Coyne Racing retired early with an electrical issue.
Starting 12th after a fuel related issue that prevented what should’ve been a top-six qualifying position, Bourdais avoided an opening lap multi-car crash at turn 1 that affected several cars. Upon the re-order before the restart, he was dropped to 13th, but fought hard and found a top-six position, leading three laps at one point. During his second pit stop, the team struggled with a fuel hose, which sent Bourdais back to 13th.
Once again, Bourdais battled back into the top-10 and ran nearly the entire second half of the race in eighth, where he recorded the fastest lap. During the final restart on lap 101, he lost one position and finished ninth.
“The SealMaster Honda was really competitive and we had the fastest lap of the race,” Bourdais said. “I was really happy with it, but unfortunately we got hosed with the repositioning after the crash on the first lap, moved four positions from where I should’ve been. We fought hard and put ourselves in contention to finish sixth, then came the drama with the fueling, and because of that we lost all positions made on track.”
Set for another top 10 finish, Santino Ferrucci started in 14th and avoided the same multi-car crash on the opening lap, which had him restart from 16th. He moved to sixth before a pit stop on lap 46, and returned to the track in 12th after his final pit stop on lap 75. On lap 96 an electrical issue caused him to stop on track and was unable to continue, placing him 17th for the day.
“It started well when we were able to avoid a massive pileup at turn 1 at the start,” Ferrucci explained. “After that we tried different strategies, and near the end of the race we had an electrical issue that ended our day. It’s unfortunate because we were on our way to another top 10 finish and that puts us in a hard place going into Laguna Seca for the rookie championship. We’ll bounce back and do our best at the season finale.”
Bourdais earned 23 points and is now 11th in the championship standings with 335 points. Ferrucci moves back to second in the Rookie of the Year standings, 26 points from first place, and sits tenth in the overall driver championship.
The final event of the 2019 NTT IndyCar season, Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey, takes place on September 20-22 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, CA.