2007 Long Beach Thoughts
EVENT: After last week, the level of organization and the genuine warmth of the volunteers here is so incredible. A great weekend, and a credit to the city.
THE BIG PICTURE: Long Beach remains the crown jewel in the Champ Car crown for so many reasons. This would also be a great bargaining chip for re-Indification. We know the IRL guys want to race here, and they know we want to race there.
RACE: Remove Bourdais, the crowd would have been on their feet most of the day. That's how close the field was behind the Flying Frenchman.
TRACK: A bit bumpier this year, which may have caused some of the incidents over the weekend.
START: Green! Green! Green! ... Clean! Clean! Clean!
BOURDAIS: The return of the dominator.
NEWMAN HAAS LANIGAN: Nice comeback -- both drivers in the top 10 this week.
SERVIA: The perfect choice for a last minute replacement. Oriol is fast but willing to be patient waiting for the progress to come to him instead of forcing the issue.
POWER: Not as much of a factor as last week, but still a solid and credible threat to Bourdais’ long time dominance of the series.
TEAM AUSTRALIA: They have thrown down the gauntlet and are clearly going for the championship.
WILSON: Justin's fourth place helps make up for his mechanical failure last week.
TAGLIANI: Awesome on the restarts, but Tags lost out on the podium (two spots in fact) on the last lap. He continues to drive this year as though his life depended on it.
JUNQUEIRA: Bruno promises to be Dale Coyne’s strongest performer ever. Sixth place is not where he normally finishes, but we think this is a partnership that may work.
DALE COYNE RACING: Starting to look like a real team, and it couldn't happen to a better couple than the Coynes.
JANI: Finished in the top 10 in spite of problems with fueling – and had the top finish for any rookie at this race.
RAHAL: The only other rookie to finish in the top 10 on a track that demands experience. What an unforgettable Spring Break for him.
DALZIEL: Ryan, seems to be breaking away from his teammate in terms of speed.
LEGGE: We are surprised that Katherine finished as well as she did, because she seemed off the pace for most of the weekend.
GOMMENDY: True, Bourdais could have passed him at any time if Sebastien really wanted to. But give Tristan credit -- he didn't embarrass himself and ran his personal best laps while leading the field.
CLARKE: Getting off to a miserable start this season.
DOORNBOS: Robert wasn't able to find the magic this week, but at least he finished the race.
MINARDI TEAM USA: It seems they did not realize how important it was to build their team before the season, and their lack of preparation is really showing now.
PAGENAUD: A strong run was short circuited by some bad luck, but Simon continues to look strong.
HALLIDAY: Matt had some strong laps during the weekend, but was never really a factor.
CONQUEST: We still think they would be stronger with a two-car team, but we're glad they are running.
FIGGE: We worried when Alex hit the wall, and are relieved he is basically okay.
PACIFIC COAST MOTORSPORTS: Still need to work on speed, especially with Figge.
DOMINGUEZ: Mario's LBGP lasted just slightly longer than last year. At least Tracy wasn't in front of him when he messed up the braking.
TRACY: Get better, Paul, and hurry back. The series needs the competition.
MAUK: We will miss your great love of stats and know you will enjoy the Kool-Aid.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Low car count. Okay, so that's three words...
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 24 -- The number of Champ Car wins Bourdais now has. That's the same as Bobby Rahal. Now compare the number of years each has...
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: The last time a driver won Long Beach three times in a row was when Al Unser, Jr. took four consecutive wins in 1988-1991.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Sebastien Bourdais on how Cristiano da Matta helped Oriol Servia, "Cristiano came to see me and Oriol was just ready to go party and everything the other night. Cristiano said, ‘You never know, something might happen.’ And the next morning, he’s in the car. So actually it was a good thing he didn’t go party all night."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Bourdais on Servia's situation, "It pisses me off. Oriol deserves a ride. If we're a professional series, we should have professional drivers. When your drivers have to bring $1 million, that's not right."
SCHEDULE: The beginning of the season marathon continues next week in Houston. For those covering all three races, may you live long and prosper.
Copyright © 2007 by Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.