PORTLAND, Ore – The box score of the Portland Grand Prix would show a very solid day out of the Dale Coyne Racing organization on Sunday. Two of their three cars in Sunday’s race at the Portland International Raceway finished in the top 10, one of which on the podium.
But, how they got there was a completely different story.
First, lets start with Sebastien Bourdais. He won the last race at Portland in 2007 and was an instant contender this weekend. He was strong in every testing or practice session, even quickest in Saturday morning’s final practice.
But, towards the end of practice, Bourdais crashed hard into the tire barriers in his No. 18 Honda. The team somehow got his car repaired in just a short amount of time and there Bourdais was qualifying it fourth.
That’s a feat in itself.
Then, on the first lap of Sunday’s race, Bourdais was caught up in a scary first lap accident in Turn 4. Luckily, he’d continue on but was now shuffled in the back of the pack.
Due to a great strategy and well timed cautions, Bourdais finished third for his third top six finish over the last four races on the season.
What a wild and crazy last 24 hours it was for him.
From fastest in practice, to a crash, to making the Fast 6, to a crash on the first lap to a podium.
His rookie teammate Pietro Fittipaldi had a great outing too. He’s still racing with a broken leg from his crash in Spa in early May. After two straight ovals, one of which he had another wreck in, he was back making left and right hand turns. The last race he did that on was at Mid-Ohio on July 29 and he struggled all weekend. He started 22nd but finished 23rd that day.
With a leg still healing, he was skeptical about how this weekend would go.
Instead, he came away with his first ever top 10 finish as he brought his No. 19 Honda home ninth. Last weekend, he would finish 11th at Gateway.
Two very impressive runs over the last two races shows that a Fittipaldi name could be a rising star in this series one day soon.