INDYCAR’s Bourdais forced into double-duty with IMSA at Long Beach

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LONG BEACH, California – Sebastien Bourdais has no time to lose this weekend at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. He has been called in to substitute for Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT driver Joey Hand in Saturday’s BUBBA Burger Sports Car Grand Prix of Long Beach IMSA race.

The 40-year-old Bourdais will also compete in all NTT IndyCar Series practice, qualifications and the race in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach for Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan.

“I’m definitely going to be very busy,” Bourdais told NBC Sports.com Thursday at Long Beach. “I’m not much of a nap guy anyway.”

Watch Sunday’s race at 4:30 pm ET on NBCSN or the NBC Sports app

Bourdais will co-drive the No. 66 Ford GT with Dirk Mueller on Saturday. Bourdais also drove with Hand and Mueller in the first two races of the IMSA season, the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring. In the latter, they earned a second-place finish in the GT Le Mans class.

“I like it; it’s something I enjoy doing,” Bourdais said. “I’ve never driven anything other than a Champ Car or Indy car here so it will be interesting to discover something new. I’m never too old to discover new things.

“I just needed to get Dale Coyne’s approval and he said, fine.”

According to Chip Ganassi Racing, Hand has “flu-like symptoms.” Bourdais drives for Ganassi’s IMSA team in the long endurance races on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule and in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“Although we’re disappointed for Joey, we’re also fortunate to have someone like Sebastien who can step right in this weekend,” said Ford motorsport boss Mark Rushbrook. “We’re grateful Dale Coyne Racing will allow him to do double-duty with the IndyCar race this weekend. Seb already has so many miles in the Ford GT, and knows the team and crew so well, that it’s the perfect solution.”

It will be a busy weekend as Bourdais will be the only driver competing in both major races at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Qualifying for the IMSA race is Friday afternoon after INDYCAR has two practice sessions. IMSA also has a 45-minute practice.

The 100-minute BUBBA Burger Sports Car Grand Prix begins at 2:06PM (Pacific Time) on Saturday, immediately after Bourdais competes in the knockout qualifying format INDYCAR uses on road and street courses.

“It’s going to be interesting,” Bourdais said. “I like to be busy. I don’t need rest. I’m looking forward to the challenge and helping those guys out. I’m really sad for Joey. It’s a race that counts for him and that’s loss of points. Hopefully, we can cheer him up a little bit.

“All I can do is drive the wheels off the thing here at Long Beach.”

Bourdais is a three-time winner at Long Beach during his first tenure as an IndyCar driver back in Champ Car. He won from 2005-2007 when he was with Newman-Haas Racing.

Adam Cianciarulo serves notice with Monster Energy Cup win

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In his debut on a 450 Kawasaki, Adam Cianciarulo held off teammate Eli Tomac in a hotly contested final Main to win the Monster Energy Cup at Sam Boyd Stadium: One race; one win.

“My first thought was, ‘what I life I get to live,’ ” Cianciarulo told NBCSN after the race. “That whole race I knew (Eli) was behind me. We had a gap and I knew it was going to come down to the Joker Lane.”

For Cianciarulo, it was all about managing pressure. He earned the holeshot in the first and final Mains. In the first race, he lost his bike and the lead under the bridge. In the final Main, he withstood a fierce charge for 10 laps from one of the best riders ever in Supercross.

Tomac stalked Cianciarulo for eight laps. At one point, he made the pass, but Cianciarulo expertly executed a crossover move and retook the point in the same corner. Tomac knew he was going to have to change things up if he wanted to make a pass for the lead and the overall win.

“Going into the Joker, I couldn’t really ever make the pass stick, so I thought let me get in this thing a lap early and see if I can make the speed up on the track,” Tomac said after the race.

He had a reason to believe it would turn out in his favor because he used the tactic in the second Main and made up four spots on the track – advancing from seventh to fourth.

“Just the opportunity to race with Eli,” Cianciarulo continued from Victory Lane. “You know, he’s accomplished so much and just to be out there on the track with him. I’m just stoked to be out there with him.”

Cianciarulo would have been forgiven if he thought Las Vegas owed him something. Entering the Supercross season finale this year, he only needed a clean finish to win the 250 West championship. He crashed and handed the win over to Dylan Ferrandis, but instead of allowing that to frustrate him, Cianciarulo used it as motivation.

“(Winning this race) is a little bit of redemption, but to be honest with you I look at (the accident in) Vegas now after winning the outdoor motocross championship as something that helped me get there,” Cianciarulo said. “It’s helped me grow.”

With his overall win, Cianciarulo pocketed a $100,000 check. The payday could have been $1 million if any rider had been able to win all three Mains. Instead, three Mains featured three different riders. Tomac won the first Main, Malcolm Stewart the second, and Cianciarulo the third.

Tomac stormed to the lead in the first Main and was slicing through the field in Main 2 before he flipped his bike on a bad landing. He fell from challenging for the lead to 10th. Ten laps does not allow a lot of time to make up for a mistake, but Tomac was able to make up significant time by taking the Joker Lane one lap before Cianciarulo and Stewart.

Malcolm Stewart finished third in his return to Supercross racing. SupercrossLive.com

Stewart would win the second Main, completing a comeback nine months in the making. Early in the Supercross season, he crashed hard in Phoenix and broke his femur.

“I’ve been waiting nine months for all this; I’m just having fun out there.” Stewart said at the end of Main 2. “We’ve got another race to go and hopefully we’re on the top step, but if not, we’re already making dreams come true. I’ve already marked things off my checklist. It was just to win a Main Event.”

Entering the final Main Cianciarulo, Tomac, and Stewart were in a dead heat in regard to points. Cianciarulo finished second in the first two Mains, Tomac had a 1-3 with Stewart at a 3-1. The battle would be a “winner takes all” scenario.

How they finished in the final Main determined the overall result with Stewart finishing third in the race and overall standings.

Vince Friese had the ride of his life. With a 4-5-5, he finished fourth.

Friese was also trying to erase an injury-plagued season.

“I had a good (2019) season going,” Friese said. “I don’t think I got to show everything I had. It was frustrating getting hurt just a few races in and five months off the motorcycle is not fun, so I was hungry tonight.”

The World Champion Tim Gajser scored a 7-4-4 and rounded out the top five.

Dean Wilson crashed hard in the last lap of practice. He was transported to the hospital with a leg injury.

Evan Ferry won the Supermini division on the strength of winning both Mains. Gavin Towers and Myles Gilmore rounded out the top three.

In 250 Futures, Jett Lawrence won both Mains and the overall. Jalek Swoll and Brock Papi rounded out the top three.

Main 1 Results
Main 2 Results
Main 3 Results
Overall Results

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