This past weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series doubleheader at Houston’s NRG Park was a good one for Sebastien Bourdais.
The Frenchman, who won twice at NRG Park back in his Champ Car days (2006, 2007), collected a fourth-place finish in Saturday’s Race 1 and survived an incident with Helio Castroneves in yesterday’s Race 2 to finish fifth with a damaged front wing.
That run-in was almost a carbon copy of the one that took out both Takuma Sato and Mikhail Aleshin on Saturday. But while Aleshin was a lap down, Bourdais and Castroneves were battling for second position.
Castroneves went right heading into Turn 6 to set up for the corner, only to run into Bourdais and then go into the wall. Bourdais kept going and would keep his compromised front wing for the remainder of the race, as he and his KVSH Racing team decided that getting a new nose would cost them too much track position.
Fortunately for them, a rash of late yellows gave Bourdais several opportunities to gain ground.
“After [the incident with Castroneves], it was a tough fight,” he said yesterday in post-race. “I had to be really creative to compensate for the balance of the car. I played with the brake balance and I was having trouble stopping the car and lost a lot of positions.
“Then there was another yellow and another yellow and another yellow. We hung in there and at the end of the race, I was able to make a couple of moves and in the end, we had another top-five finish.”
This weekend marks the first time in 2014 that Bourdais has earned consecutive Top-5 runs in the No. 11 Mistic E-Cigs Chevrolet. It’s not a bad reward after having to endure through the hot conditions in Houston.
“It’s been pretty tough but thankfully, I managed to stay hydrated throughout and recharge overnight,” he told NBCSN. “I felt pretty good in the car and I think it showed.
“We put on one hell of a show this weekend with the Mistic Machine and hopefully, it’s just the beginning. Summer seems to be pretty good to me.”