Bourdais Earns Shot at Indy 500 Pole by Making Fast Nine

Sebastien Bourdais Qualifying Summary:


Sebastien Bourdais placed in the top-nine during the first day of qualifying for the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500, and will have a chance to capture the pole tomorrow. Bourdais, behind the wheel of the No. 18 Team SealMaster – Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan car, was the fifth driver to make a qualifying attempt on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. His first two laps were very strong at 229+ mph, however on lap three, he made a mistake which cost him three mph. Bourdais recovered on lap four and ended up posting the ninth best four-lap average speed. The top nine qualifiers today will participate in the Fast Nine shootout tomorrow which will determine the pole for this year’s Indy 500 and the next eight positions. The nine are the only drivers with a chance to take the pole.

Sebastien Bourdais Qualifying Quote:

“The SealMaster No. 18 was fantastic. The crew gave me a brilliant car, spot on. The Honda engine was great. We had a ton of speed. I just blew it. I made one procedural mistake and almost washed into the wall in turn one and two on lap three. I didn’t hit the right button. That was all on me. I really thought we weren’t going to make the Fast Nine. Fortunately we did, so the consequences were not as bad as they could have been. I’m just really happy for the guys and our sponsors. So, let’s see where we end up tomorrow.”

Fast Facts:
Bourdais has now qualified in the top-10 three times (he is assured of at least a top-nine starting spot for the Indy 500) in eight attempts on the IMS Super Speedway oval. In seven previous races at IMS, his best starting position is fifth last year and seventh in 2015. He has finished in the top-five twice with a best showing of seventh in 2014 (finished ninth in 2016).

In the first six races of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season, Bourdais has now qualified in the top-10 three times with a best qualifying effort of fifth at Barber (tenth at the INDYCAR GP). He can improve on his best starting position tomorrow. His first two qualifying efforts of the season were plagued by red flags and he ended up starting 19th in the season opener at St. Petersburg and 17th at COTA. He qualified 14th at Long Beach.

Bourdais is two years removed from a horrific crash at IMS during Indy 500 qualifying. He returned last year and had a remarkable qualifying performance earning a career best starting position for the Indy 500, fifth.

Bourdais is driving the No. 18 Team SealMaster – Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser-Sullivan entry for the Indianapolis 500.

He is eighth in the championship standings with 111 points just 27 points out of fourth place. Bourdais finished 24th in the season opener at St. Petersburg (non-team related issue ended his race), then had back-to-back top-five performances placing fifth at COTA and third at Barber. He finished 11th in his last two events, Long Beach and the INDYCAR Grand Prix.
Bourdais is contesting his 14th NTT IndyCar Series season, fourth with Dale Coyne Racing and second with Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser-Sullivan.

The 2019 Indianapolis 500 will be Bourdais’ 194th NTT IndyCar Series start, eighth on the Speedway oval and 41st career oval race.

In 193 career IndyCar starts, Bourdais has won 37 races (sixth all-time) and captured 34 pole positions (seventh all time).

Of Bourdais’ 40 career oval starts, 32 have come in the last six years (31 in last five years).

Bourdais has made 33 IndyCar oval starts (includes the 2005 Indy 500) with a best qualifying effort of first (pole) at Phoenix in 2018. Phoenix was his first pole since Mid-Ohio in 2014 and first on an oval since 2006 when he captured the pole at Milwaukee. His best finish is a victory at Milwaukee in 2015. It was his first oval win since 2006 also at Milwaukee.

Bourdais made seven oval starts in Champ Car earning four victories: Lausitz, 2003; Las Vegas in 2004 and 2005; Milwaukee 2006 and capturing three poles: Lausitz, 2003; Las Vegas 2005 and Milwaukee in 2006.

Bourdais is the only driver to win four consecutive IndyCar championships (2004 – 2007).

Bourdais, 40, is a native of Le Mans, France but resides in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Next Race:
Round six of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series will be the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500, Sunday, May 26, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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