Plenty to grab our attention in the world of motorsports, as the calendar flips
over to May.
The month of May is traditionally one of the most intense in the year, as the
focus in open wheel racing moves to Indy. For those of us who look forward to
getting Champ Cars back on the track, it should be a most interesting time.
The start of the Indy
500 is always special
The Champ Car World Series banner will be flown high by Newman/Haas at the
Speedway this year. While it’s surely true that Sebastien Bourdais and
Bruno Junqueira will face some disadvantage as they’re not as familiar
with IRL equipment as the teams they’ll be facing, you can bet that won’t
keep them from being more than competitive.
I’ve become a believer in their amazing capabilities these past two seasons,
both behind the wheel and in the paddock. Bruno has excelled at the Speedway in
his two previous appearances, and Bourdais has shown repeatedly he’s at his best
adapting to unfamiliar situations. His recent IROC win is Platinum-card proof of
Newman/Haas will enjoy the benefits of Honda power, and plenty of folks within
the Newman/Haas brain trust have considerable experience at Indy, one track
where experience is a key. They’ll also be working with essentially the same
tire company if not the same tire, when they bolt Firestone-labeled rubber on
their Panoz chassis.
The ability to get the most out of tire combinations is also critical to
Speedway success. But the trump card for
Newman/Haas will be the presumed advantage in
their damper program….managed by the peerless Multimatic engineering group from
Canada. Most in the Champ Car paddock believe the Multimatic shock package the
Newman/Haas cars carry is largely responsible for their performance advantage in
Champ Car. If Multimatic can bring a similar advantage to the Speedway, I
believe the team has a real chance to carry the Borg-Warner trophy home in a
couple of weeks.
Surely it’ll be a busy month for Newman/Haas, who’ll need to practice and
qualify solidly at Indy before loading the transporters for the trip to
Monterrey, Mexico on the 22nd. They may actually get some pre-Indy help by going
to the Champ Car open test this week at Milwaukee.
But don’t be surprised at all if this month of May translates into a month of
money…big money…for Newman/Haas, Sebastien Bourdais, and Bruno Junqueira.
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