Road America Tip Sheet

Road America Tip Sheet

08.08.2007: Road America Tip Sheet

Robert’s Rookie Rampage – In San Jose, rookie Robert Doornbos overcame contact losing a front wing in the first turn and restarting at the back of the field to earn his second career win. So far this season Doornbos has dominated the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year standings posting six podium finishes in nine races, two of those being wins. In June, the Dutch sensation tested at Road America with his Minardi Team USA, so unlike a lot of courses he has visited this season, the rookie has had a chance to test the waters at Elkhart Lake.

Jani Jumps Up – After earning his third podium finish of the season and leading 30 laps in San Jose, rookie driver Neel Jani is ready to take on his next challenge: Road America. With his second place finish in San Jose, Jani vaulted himself into the top-five in the points standings, moving up two positions. In the June test at Road America the Swiss rookie was in the top-five in times posted during the two day test.

Junqueira Jams at the Lake – In five starts at Road America Bruno Junqueira has been able to post four podium finishes. During his rookie season in 2001, the Brazilian won his first event on the Wisconsin track. Since then he has won a second time, recorded a pole position and has led a total of 70 laps around Road America.

RA Ace Alex – This weekend Alex Tagliani will be returning to the site of his first Champ Car victory with RSPORTS, the feisty Canadian is teamed again with the same crew that got him to Victory Lane in 2004 after qualifying in the 13th position. In six starts at the track, he has finished in the top-ten five times and has led a total of 39 laps.

Elusive Elkhart – On the Champ Car schedule there are three tracks that Sebastien Bourdais has ran on, but has yet to score a victory; Las Vegas, Mont-Tremblant, and Elkhart Lake (in Las Vegas and Mont-Tremblant Bourdais only has one start). In three starts on the Wisconsin Circuit, the fast Frenchman has yet to finish off of the podium, has a pole position and has led a total of 41 laps.

Championship Memories – This weekend Champ Car rookie Simon Pagenaud will be returning to the track where he clinched the Champ Car Atlantic Series title last year and the $2 million prize that helped him move up to the Champ Car World Series. So far this season Simon has been consistent finishing outside of the top-ten only twice. Last year he captured the outside pole position by leading the first round of qualifying, but contact with another car would end his chances for an Atlantic victory.

A Tracy Track – This weekend Paul Tracy will be returning to the site of one of his first Champ Car victories, starting on the pole in 1993 and leading all fifty laps of the event. The Canadian went on to score a second victory at the Wisconsin circuit in 2000, driving through the field after starting the race at the back due to mechanical problems. In total after competing in 14 events, Tracy has led 119 laps or nearly 500 miles at Elkhart Lake.

Silver Lining – This weekend Champ Car will be celebrating its 25th race on the famed course at Road America. The track has seen some of the greats of the sport take victory there including Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Alex Zanardi and Jacques Villeneuve, but it has also seen its share of surprises and first time winners including Hector Rebaque, Alex Tagliani and Christian Fittipaldi.

Returning to the Site – This weekend Katherine Legge will be returning to the spot of her spectacular crash which grabbed national media attention for the Brit. Last year the rookie driver was running sixth when her wing sheered off of her turbo-charge racing machine and sent her cart-wheeling along the backstretch.

Lucky to be unlucky? - The way things are shaping up during the 2007 Champ Car World Series season, it is almost lucky to have bad luck hit on during the opening laps of the race. Twice this season the eventual winner of the race suffered minor contact in the opening laps, in both cases damaging the front nose wing of the car dropping the driver to the end of the field and forcing them to pit, before fighting their way up through the field to victory (Paul Tracy in Cleveland and Robert Doornbos in San Jose).

Atlantic Grads – The 2007 Champ Car rookie class is filled with talent from the Champ Car Atlantic Championship. Those who have moved up the ranks include: Ryan Dalziel, Alex Figge, Graham Rahal and 2006 Atlantic Champion Simon Pagenaud; who combine for fourteen wins and twelve pole positions in the Champ Car support series.

Belgian Bouncing Back – After missing out on the first three races of 2007 and having a string of bad luck which took Jan Heylen out of races due to circumstances beyond his control, the Belgian is slowly getting things back on track posting his second consecutive top-ten finish of the season in San Jose.

Touring Road America Style – Friday night the stars of the Champ Car World Series will be taking time out of their weekend to take to the track, not in their turbo-charged racing machines, but with their bike to benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Drivers participating include 3-time Champion Sebastian Bourdais, Graham Rahal, Paul Tracy, Robert Doornbos, Jan Heylen, Bruno Junqueira, Oriol Servia and Dan Clarke. Afterwards CARA Charities will be holding their "Taste of Road America" tailgate party to benefit Champ Car Ministries and other charitable causes.

Frenchman goes for four - Sebastien Bourdais has the rare opportunity to win four consecutive championships this year if he can again capture the Vanderbilt Cup, which would extend the title skein he began in 2004. Currently, he leads the point standings by 10 markers. Bourdais would make history as no Champ Car driver has ever won four straight championships. Four in a row is very rare in professional sports in fact it has never been done in either NASCAR or NFL and it hasn’t been done in the last twenty years in the NBA, NHL or MLB.


In 1950 the Elkhart Lake Businessman’s Association decided to organize a series of road races throughout the town. They called upon the Chicago Region Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) to help organize the first road race at Elkhart Lake. The 1950 circuit start-finish line was on County Road P. Competitors went north to County Road J, then South into the Village of Elkhart Lake, and West on what is now County JP, and reconnected with County Road P for a total distance of 3.3 miles.

For the next two races, in 1951 and 1952, a different course was used. It was 6.5 miles long, on County Roads J, A, and P. Today, you can still drive the original courses as they have not changed much with time. In 1955, Cliff Tufte started what is now known as Road America, in a configuration that has changed little over the past 50 years.

In 1982 Champ Car made its first visit with a rain-disrupted race won by Hector Rebaque after Al Unser's Longhorn ran out of fuel a couple of miles from the finish. Today, Road America is one of the oldest road-racing courses in North America and is also the longest natural road racing facility on the North American continent. In 2005, Road America celebrated not only its 50th anniversary, but also the track’s inclusion to the Register of Historic Places.

The Road America race circuit is one of only two preserved circuits in the United States given this prestigious honor. Elkhart Lake’s two original closed-circuit courses also have been recognized as the last of the great open road racing circuits in America.



In the past twenty-five Champ Car races in Road America, seven drivers have recorded their first career wins on the Elkhart Lake circuit, including Alex Tagliani, Bruno Junqueira, Christian Fittipaldi, Dario Franchitti, Jacques Villeneuve, his uncle Jacques Villeneuve, and Hector Rebaque.

Eight times in history at Road America the victor of the event has been decided by less than a second. The closest finish happened in 1986 when Emerson Fittipaldi passed the finish line 0.330 in front of Michael Andretti. On the other side, the first race at Road America in 1982 was won by Hector Rebaque by almost two full laps.

Robert Doornbos is the only driver to take the checkered flag at the finish at each and every event this season. This stat helps the young Dutchman as he has the highest average finish of any competitor this season. Over the first nine events Doornbos has posted an average finish of 4.7, which beats point leader Sebastien Bourdais who is currently averaging a finish of fifth.

By winning in San Jose after qualifying 15th Robert Doornbos became the first driver in almost five years to win from that far back on the grid. The last time a driver won from the fifteenth position or lower was in 2002 in Australia when Mario Dominguez scored his first career win after qualifying sixteenth.

So far this season eight drivers have made their way to podium finishes in the Champ Car World Series. Three of those have been Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year candidates (Robert Doornbos, Neel Jani and Graham Rahal).

Rookie competitor Robert Doornbos has logged more laps than any other driver in the Champ Car World Series. Out of the 769 laps that have been run this season, the Dutchman has completed 763 of those. Fellow rookie Simon Pagenaud is second on this list recording 742 laps. The rest of the top five in completed laps include Will Power (741), Neel Jani (730) and Alex Tagliani (716).

By winning his 29th career pole position in San Jose Sebastien Bourdais is currently sixth on the all time career pole position list. The only drivers that are ahead of him on the list are Michael Andretti (32), Rick Mears (40), Bobby Unser (49), A.J. Foyt (53), and Mario Andretti (67).



119 – The most laps any active driver has led in Elkhart Lake (Paul Tracy). 13 – The furthest back a driver has qualified and still went to Victory Lane at Road America (Alex Tagliani, 2004). 9 – Times a race at Road America has been run caution free.

8 –Times the driver that led the most laps has gone on to win in Road America. 7 – Champ Car races have been won from the pole position on the Wisconsin road course. 6 - The most number of caution flags that have flown during an event at Elkhart Lake (2006, 2001, 1997, 1995 and 1982).

4 – The most poles a single driver has won in Elkhart Lake (Danny Sullivan). 3 – The most wins a single driver has been able to notch in at Road America (Emerson Fittipaldi and Michael Andretti). 3 – How many times a driver has won back-to-back races in Elkhart Lake (Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti, and Jacques Villeneuve). 3 –American drivers have won at Road America (A.J. Allmendinger, Michael Andretti, and Danny Sullivan).

3 – Times the Road America event has been led wire-to-wire by a single driver. 2 –Members of the Villeneuve family that have recorded their first career Champ Car wins in Road America (1995 CART Champion Jacques Villeneuve won his first race in 1994 and his uncle Jacques Villeneuve also won his first race there in 1985).



- Kelly Brown- photos ChampCar
see also videos on under PHOTOS - VIDEOS


08.08.2007 / MaP

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