April 15 in Motorsports History: Bourdais’ 3 in a row at Long Beach


Sebastien Bourdais clearly knows his way around the streets of Long Beach.

The Frenchman entered the 2007 edition of the Long Beach Grand Prix as the two-time defending champion.

But Bourdais found himself in unfamiliar territory in the point standings entering that weekend. The three-time defending Champ Car champion was ranked 13th overall after crashing out of the season-opening Vegas Grand Prix.

Sebastien Bourdais celebrates with legendary filmmaker George Lucas after winning the 2007 Grand Prix of Long Beach. (Photo by Darrell Ingham/Getty Images)

However, Bourdais proved that the Vegas race was a fluke.

After starting from the pole position at Long Beach, he led 58 laps and survived multiple restarts to win by 2.614 seconds over Oriol Servia, becoming the first driver to win three consecutive at Long Beach since Al Unser Jr. did it from 1989-91.

“I guess everything that could happen to us in Vegas happened, and here, the McDonald’s car showed what it could do,” Bourdais told NBC Sports in Victory Lane. “I can’t thank these (Newman-Haas Racing) guys enough because really they work their tails off.”

For the remainder of the 2007 season, Bourdais would continue to work his tail off, winning seven more times en route to his fourth consecutive Champ Car title. The following season, he moved to race for Toro Rosso in Formula One before eventually returning to IndyCar in 2011.

Also on this date:

1978: Danny Ongais won the Coors 200 at Texas World Speedway. Despite winning a series-high five races during the 1978 USAC Champ Car season, Ongais finished eighth overall in the final points standings because of 10 DNFs and missing the second race at Texas World in August.

1984: Tom Sneva won the Jimmy Bryan 150 at Phoenix International Raceway, the first of three victories for the previous season’s Indianapolis 500 winner. Sneva finished second to Mario Andretti in the 1984 CART standings.

1993: Jack Harvey was born in Bassignham, England. Harvey and Meyer Shank Racing are scheduled to make their full-time IndyCar debut when racing begins later this year. The duo previously competed in 19 races between 2017-19 as a part-time entry.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter @michaele1994