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

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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

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.