Late Crash Gives Bourdais Victory In St. Petersburg

Late Crash Gives Bourdais Victory In St. Petersburg

The opener through the city streets of St. Petersburg could not have gone any better for IndyCar, which has built enough momentum the last two years to create a palpable sense of excitement for the new season. Locking up his brakes, Rossi failed to keep control of his auto as he slid into the side of the rookie Wickens knocking him into wall, and giving the lead to the third place driver Bourdais.

- Day two of the St. Pete Grand Prix wrapped up with only a few showers threatening the event Saturday. They welcomed him and his family with open arms, and he in turn reciprocated by becoming involved in the community in several capacities. Rahal went six years without an IndyCar win and didn't return to the podium here until Sunday, when he drove the vehicle from last to second. In addition to friends and family, Bourdais had his own built-in cheering section all weekend.

The race debuted IndyCar's sleek new race vehicle that is created to improve competition, level the playing field and cut costs.

That's especially true after Firestone extended its sponsorship of the St. Pete Grand Prix this past week through 2020.

When the Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser and Sullivan entry picked up a puncture necessitating a pitstop on Lap 4 and fell to the back of the field, Bourdais again made it to the front when rivals pitted - but Coyne elected to keep him out on track under the next caution periods.

"I was really happy for Robert and I'm heartbroken for him", Bourdais said. "But the door was left open and that's what racing is".

"This is emotional because I was able from a few broken bones to come back in this victory circle", said Bourdais, who lives in St. Petersburg near where the 1.8-mile temporary street course is constructed each year.

"Yes, we're rookies in IndyCar. but (I've) also been racing for 12 years", King said. "This is what I want to be doing, and as long as I'm competitive, this is what I'll be doing. This is a great way to start". He saw a maiden victory in a race that he thoroughly dominated go up in smoke while the guy who had a hand in it went on to score a podium finish. We get over it.

It was rather a matter of how fast he could get back in a vehicle. They helped make him stronger, perhaps not physically, but certainly emotionally.

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This one was for them.

"I was very emotional in the vehicle. I can't quite put it into words".

"I got a big jump on Rob and he got to the push-to-pass pretty late, so the run was ideal for me." said Rossi in a post-race conference, "Heading down into Turn 1, I knew there wasn't going to be many other opportunities for me because he'd had a very good vehicle all day and they did a great job". I don't care what happened the last two days, we still believe in that. And I feel bad for him the way it ended. It's been pretty hard for myself in some ways, obviously, but more for people around me and certain people, for my wife. If you look at his two years in Indy Lights, each half-season he got better and better. Rossi had been chasing down rookie Wickens for much of the race and finally got his chance on the 109th lap. "I just need to see everything before I comment".

"The run was flawless for me going into Turn 1 and I knew there wasn't going to be very many other opportunities", Rossi explained. Just a insane day. "I'm living a childhood dream and it's pretty cool". "[Bourdais'] consistency makes that a fourth-place vehicle, and luck made it a winning auto". Their house is a short drive away from the temporary street course that the Grand Prix is contested upon.

Chip Ganassi said he was sleeping when a sanitation truck backed into his hospitality tent in the paddock at St. Pete.

"With that new aero kit, it was - everything was up in the air", Bourdais said. "When we came back in '12, we didn't bring anything". Today we didn't have a top-three vehicle, but after the puncture, we came from the back and won again! Not the place it was when I was in the Champ Car days, but there's some Daytona trophies and Sebring trophies and Road Atlanta's and IndyCar trophies. They missed Ryan Hunter-Reay peeling off into the pits as the green came out, and that is just one of many occurrences.

"The team kept me in the loop", Wickens said.

The American, who recently appeared on the reality TV show "The Amazing Race", said he not spoken to Wickens but imagined that Wickens was upset with him.

Coyne then added a bit more levity to the post-race party shortly after Bourdais said he was 39 years old.

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