Bourdais Recovers from Wheelie to Finish Ninth at INDYCAR Detroit GP Race 2

The ENEOS-sponsored Dale Coyne Racing driver Sebastien Bourdais overcame an intense incident that saw him “wheelie” for several yards during the race to finish ninth in the IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix Race 2 on the 2.35-mile, 14-turn Belle Isle temporary street circuit.

Bourdais began the day by qualifying ninth. He moved into seventh on the opening lap, but pitted on lap three in a strategy move to switch from the Firestone red alternate tires to the black primary tires. On lap 14 he was involved in an incident with Spencer Pigot, who tried to pit from the middle of the track as Bourdais was making a run on the inside. The contact tore off Bourdais’ front wing and lifted the nose of the car sending it down the track on just its rear wheels. Bourdais immediately pitted and his Dale Coyne Vasser-Sullivan crew flew into action. The damage was significant, so in order to stay on the lead lap, Bourdais left the pit without a front wing and closed the gap to the field, which was running under a yellow flag. He then pitted again a couple of laps later to complete the repairs and rejoined the race in 17th place. The outstanding effort by his crew kept him on the lead lap, albeit the last car in the queue. From that point he drove an incredible race despite working with a damaged car. Twice he recorded the fastest lap of the race and three more yellow flag incidents allowed him to pick up several positions and secure the top-10 finish.

“The incident with Spencer (Pigot) was a real shame because, ultimately, the SealMaster Honda #18 was in the mix. I think we had the right strategy. We were going to be in contention, Bourdais said after the race. “The reds, as expected, fell off and the guys who tried to make it, didn’t. We caught up with them and I don’t know what Spencer was thinking. I had a run on the inside and he tried to make it to the pits from the center lane when I was to his right rear. Then he jumped on the brakes. I’m not sure what I was supposed to do. The Dale Coyne Vasser-Sullivan guys did a great job fixing the car. We reset and went again. The car was a little hurt, but we were still pretty quick. It was definitely a tough run coming from the back, but there were a lot of incidents, which bought us some positions. So we’ll take our top-10 finish and move on to Texas.”

Fast Facts:
  • Bourdais earned 22 points Sunday and picked up two positions in the championship race. He now sits 10th in the standings with 165 points.
  • The ninth-place finish was Bourdais third top-10 performance of the season including two top-5 finishes, a season high third at Barber Motorsports Park (finished fifth at COTA). He has finished 11th three times, Detroit Race 1, Long Beach and the INDYCAR Grand Prix. Bourdais finished 24th in the season opener at St. Petersburg (non-team related issue ended his race) and 30th in the Indy 500.
  • In 13 Detroit GP races Bourdais has four top-10 finishes with two wins (2016 Race 1 and 2015 Race 2).
  • He has qualified in the top-10 five times with a best starting position of sixth in 2015 Race 1 (seventh in 2014 Race 1, ninth: 2015 Race 2 and 2019 Race 2; tenth: 2012).
  • Bourdais is contesting his 14th NTT IndyCar Series season and second with Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan.
  • The 2019 Detroit Grand Prix Race 2 was Bourdais’ 196th NTT IndyCar Series start and 13th Detroit Grand Prix.
  • In 196 career IndyCar starts, Bourdais has won 37 races (sixth all-time) and captured 34 pole positions (seventh all time).
  • Bourdais is the only driver to win four consecutive IndyCar championships (2004-07).
  • Bourdais, 40, is a native of Le Mans, France but resides in St. Petersburg, FL.

Next Race:

Round nine of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series will be the DXC Technology 600, Saturday, June 8 at Texas Motor Speedway.