Sebastien Bourdais took advantage of an excellent strategy call to get out in front and stay there to take his second win of the season.
Bourdais made his second pitstop just before the race’s first caution on lap 115 and subsequently stayed out as the rest of the leaders pitted under yellow. Up until that point, Josef Newgarden had dominated the race until a slow pitstop took him out of the lead and Scott Dixon inheritted the lead before the yellow.
Bourdais restarted ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay, Simon Pagenaud, Justin Wilson and Ryan Briscoe, who also stayed out as well as a handful of lapped cars that gave Bourdais a large cushion. Once the race restarted, Bourdais’ #11 Hydroxycut machine came to life in clean air and broke out to a massive lead that grew to as large as 15 seconds during the next stint.
He was not out of the woods yet as he had to make an extra pitstop than his rivals but all the while continued to build up a massive lead on the field. When it was time for him to pit again, he had a one lap lead on second place Helio Castroneves and managed to keep the lead once he made his final pitstop.
A smooth sailing run was then halted by Justin Wilson’s engine failure on lap 223 which brought out the yellow flag again. A majority of the field came down pit road for tires to mount another charge at the dominant Bourdais. Once the race restarted, Castroneves quickly disposed of Ed Carpenter and teammate Juan Pablo Montoya and briefly closed to within a second of Bourdais before he started to pull away yet again. Bourdais never fluttered and crossed the line 2.33s ahead of Castroneves.
Bourdais becomes the fourth multiple time winner this season and claimed his first win on an oval since Milwaukee in 2006 in the Champ Car World Series.
Nine years ago. It was just like that, today. It’s just unbelievable. We were talking about it yesterday, at these places. Sometimes you’ve got it; and when it’s right, boy, it’s really, really good.
Oh, it’s pretty sweet. Like we say all the time, when we get the job done and beat all these guys with what we’ve got, a great group of guys with great sponsors, you’ve got to feel good about it. And, today, we just executed and overcame what looked like a messed up break for us, and we just made it work on the track.
Castroneves recovered magnificently from not being able to qualify for the race due to a timing miscue by his crew to finish in second place. The Brazillian caught the yellow flags at the right time and managed to get on the same pit sequence on the leaders and move through the field on the final stint to take his fifth podium of the season.
Graham Rahal followed Castroneves into third place during the final stint to take his fifth podium of the season and move into third place the season championship.
Montoya held on for fourth place while Josef Newgarden and Tony Kanaan picked their way through the field during the final stint and took fifth and sixth place, respectively.
Scott Dixon led briefly early in the race but slowed down during the final stint and finished seventh. Marco Andretti followed behind in eighth place, Simon Pagenaud was ninth and Ed Carpenter finished a race for the first time this season in logged a top ten finish.
Ryan Briscoe was off to a good start in his super sub duties for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and battled Newgarden for the race lead early on before the team had problems with the air jack which dropped him down to the last car on the lead lap. He got some of his positions back when he stayed out under the second yellow flag. His good run would come to an abrubt end when he spun and was collected by Will Power.
Briscoe cited that it was just the nature of racing in traffic and he got sucked around.
On the restart, we had a lot of cars behind us on new tires and we just sort of got put in a box there in turn three. It felt like I drove into a vacuum and next it felt like the tires were off the ground and I was doing a slow pirouette.
Power’s second DNF in as many weeks now drops him to 69 points behind Juan Pablo Montoya in the season standings with four races to go.
Click here for ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 results.