Winner Will Power shares podium with P2-Robert Doornbos and P3-Paul Tracy. Will celebrates by sailing a hat into the crowd. Image Credit: Jalopnik's Las Vegas local, Curtis Walker
Bets Placed, Cards Played, Will Power Takes The Pot!
The race starts on a clear, sunny Las Vegas spring day with the temperature in the mid to upper 80's.
The attitude of game was made at the very beginning of the race when it saw Paul Tracy pass pole winner Will Power and take the lead of the race from the very first turn.
Bobby Rahal's son, Graham, did not fair so well in that he found the wall before he was able to make it to the Start-Finish line.
By lap 11, Will Power found his legs and took the lead back in a clean but contested pass. What would one expect from Tracy?
The races for Champ Car this year are all "timed" races, in that the cars race for a specific period of time as opposed to a specific distance regardless of time.
Las Vegas is a great street course - it has every thing - A wicked fast, curved, 195 MPH front straightaway - Elevation change - Tunnels - Rhythm corners - A great mix of professional international experience rookies and series regulars - Lots of room to pass. The new DP01 car looks very racy as well. The louvered ground effects air escape ports just in front of the rear wheels look intimidating.
At lap 28, Tracy and Power pit while being very close to each other - Tracy played it straight and took full fuel ... Power out a little earlier and may have taken a little less on board to insure a quick turnaround.
Lap 32, after suffering three cut tires early on, Sebastian Bourdais (three time series Champion) goes out after he clips a wall and tucks his wing under the driver’s side front wheel. With that, CCWS' winning-est team, Newman-Haas, folds for good.
Doornbos and Tracy speed past the parked and damaged McDonald's DP01 of Bourdais. Image Credit: Jalopnik's Las Vegas local, Curtis Walker
Tracy in for additional fuel on lap 34 - telemetry indicated that he did not get a full tank. This will put him back but the question remains ... Did Will Power get enough fuel? Reports are that he did.
Lap 40 - Alex Tagliani leads but is getting ready to pit.
Paul Tracy navigates the Las Vegas Grand Prix street course with the Stratosphere looking over his shoulder. Image Credit: Jalopnik's Las Vegas local, Curtis Walker
Lap 41 - Power, Doornbos, Jani, Junqueria, Tagliani, and Tracy
Will Power in the pits on lap 45 so it turns out he did not get a full load of fuel last time in. Power has a sloppy pit stop. These new pit stops on the DP01 car are a lot slower than the previous cars the Champ Car World Series ran last year. What used to be quick 7 second fuel fill-up is taking at least a third longer and it is confusing some of the members of the pit crew. It was causing the pit "captains" to wave drivers out before they were full of fuel.
Lap 50 - Finds Junqueria in for a pit stop and the fuel man indicated that the valve in the fuel tool never opened – Bruno’s Sonny’s BBQ White & Red DP01 is out of contention with a second fuel stop. Paul Tracy leads followed by Power, Tagliani, Doornbos, and Brit Kathryn Legge.
Will Power is fastest on the track and is pacing about one second per lap faster than leader Paul Tracy.
Tracy in on lap 55 for his final fuel with Power taking the lead at 18 minutes left in the race. Power may or may not need fuel to the end.
Tagliani in on lap 59 after 18 laps on the tank. Reports state that Power is running with 13 laps on his tank at this time. Telemetry shows that Paul Tracy is good to the end.
So this is the bet on the table - Does Will Power and the Aussie Vineyards Green & Yellow painted livery have enough to hold off the rest of the field ... Robert Doornbos' Black & Red Muermans machine, Paul Tracy's Dark Blue & White fully fueled Indeck DP01, and Alex Tagliani's Black & Red at eight minutes to go.
Bets placed, cards played, and Aussie Will Power takes the pot and his first win for CCWS 2007 season in the Inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix temporary street race course!
Next week, the granddaddy of all temporary street race courses, The 33rd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. It will be a rockin' party in LA ... especially if the teams can sort out the fueling procedure required for the new DP01 formula Champ Cars!
Excerpts from Champ Car World Series, Eric Mauk - Sunday, April 8, 2007 -
QUOTES FROM THE TOP THREE FINISHERS
Will Power: After that, I mean, I was pretty much alone. I caught Katherine Legge for a while, she held me up. But after that, it was a pretty cruisy race really. We had a good car. It handled well all day. The only issue I had was a really long brake pedal at the end of the race. But we had an 18-second lead, so we just brought it home and brought Derrick Walker his second win since '99. It's his birthday. So a pole and a win, I think that's a pretty good present for him.
Robert Doornbos: No, I really enjoyed it. A great start to the weekend. Already yesterday to have qualified in the top three, we couldn't have dreamed of a better start really. Was a bit worried this morning because it's a different routine that you have than in European racing with these rolling starts. I'm so pleased for everybody, especially for my sponsors here, they come all the way from Holland. It's been a long winter. Really a good decision to go racing in Champ Car.
Paul Tracy: It went really well. Obviously, to lead the beginning of the race, I made a good start, was able to get by Will on the start. We spent a lot of the first part of the race under yellow. We came in and did our first pit stop. The car didn't take any fuel for us. We spent 15 seconds and ended up getting like four laps of fuel. We came back out and chased, then had to come straight back in and take fuel again. That really took the fight out of the race I think for Will. I think we could have put a lot of pressure on him. It was a good day for the Forsythe team and Monster Energy.
· Will Power becomes the first Australian driver to win a Champ Car race. Geoff Brabham held the previous mark, having finished second on three occasions, the last of those being at Road America in 1987.
· Robert Doornbos is the first driver to score a podium finish in his Champ Car debut since Nigel Mansell won his debut in 1993.
· Both Robert Doornbos and Tristan Gommendy made their Champ Car debuts with top-five finishes today, marking the first time that has happened since Jim Crawford (4th) and Emerson Fittipaldi (5th) turned the trick at Long Beach in 1984.
... notes from The EDJE