ST. PETERSBURG, Fla – Sebastien Bourdais crossing the finish line first in Sunday’s Verizon IndyCar Series season opener was just icing on the cake for Dale Coyne Racing. It was a similar start to 2018 from what they had in 2017 with Bourdais winning last year’s race too, but one that he’s hoping propels them to a much better and much more cost friendly season too.
From Phoenix through Texas last year, DCR had it rough. They budgeted six figures for crash damage in 2017, but that number exceeded seven figures rather quickly.
Bourdais, was involved in a first lap crash on the 1.022-mile Arizona oval last April. In the INDYCAR Grand Prix, his engine blew three laps in. We all know what happened in Indy 500 Time Trials. Bourdais, was severely injured after crashing his No. 18 Honda into the Turn 2 SAFER barrier at 227 mph. He pulled 118 gs in that accident.
In the ‘500 itself, James Davison who was filling in for Bourdais was involved in a Turn 2 crash late in the race. Two weeks later at Texas, both Tristian Vautier who was filling in for Bourdais that night and rookie teammate Ed Jones were involved in the same crash in Turn 3.
A span of two months cost Coyne and his team millions.
“Yeah, of course it’s why you do it,” Coyne said of how much of a redemption it was to win on Sunday after the year they had in 2017. “We had a crash, was it last year, I think we figured we spent about $800,000 in crash damage, and in the end we spent over 3 million in crash damage, so that’s a pretty big hit. Texas, Indy was bad, obviously, Texas was bad. Actually the crash at Phoenix broke everything on the car. It didn’t look bad, but it broke everything on the car. So financially it wasn’t what we had hoped for last year, but we always come back. I remember the year with Robby Buhl and Ross Bentley, and we crashed everything at Indy, and then we showed up at Milwaukee with two cars. Everybody thought we were out of business. But we’re fighters, we’re not going out of business, we’re going to be here for a long time.”
While winning is sweet, it definitely helps fill the bank account back up after getting it drained in 2017. It just goes to show you how much money this sport really is and how costly crashing can be for a team.