Photo: Chris Owens/INDYCAR

Championship Leader Bourdais Eliminated in Lap 1 Melee

By Josh Farmer, IndyCar Reporter

AVONDALE, Ariz. — Verizon IndyCar Series points leader Sebastien Bourdais and a handful of other drivers were eliminated in a first corner accident in tonight’s Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix.

Mikhail Aleshin, who qualified seventh, lost control of his No. 7 Lucas Oil Honda going into turn 1 and spun into the path of Max Chilton. Bourdais spun trying to avoid the mess but also spun and found himself in the Turn 2 wall.

He was then collected by the spinning car of Graham Rahal, who lost control further back along with Marco Andretti.

Bourdais said that the hole closed up almost immediately when Aleshin spun.

“Mikhail lost the car and then there was nowhere to go for a bunch of cars,” Bourdais told the Motorsports Tribune. “Our car is junked and we’re going to lose precious points and it’s frustrating.”

As if crashing out was not bad enough, Bourdais found it more disappointing to lose the points lead in circumstances beyond his control.

“You just want to score points every weekend,” he continued. “If it’s going to come out of one race, you want it to be on your terms but we didn’t get that luxury today.”

The four-time Indy car champion noted that the wreck also hinders Dale Coyne Racing’s preparation for the Month of May. The team is now short a car following tonight’s wreck and will have to use their Indy 500 car in the IndyCar Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.

“If anything happens in the Grand Prix, we’re not going to have a good car in the 500,” he said.

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Josh Farmer joined the media center in 2012 after first discovering his love of IndyCar racing in 2004 at Auto Club Speedway. He has been an accredited member of the IndyCar media center since 2014 and also contributes to along with The Motorsports Tribune.