Thieves steal Hampson’s wheels

Bourdais with Hampson (R)
Bourdais with Hampson (R)

Sebastien Bourdais said he needed to “drive the wheels" off his No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda to win the Verizon P1 Award for the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix on Friday.

It was an ironic comment, considering how the day started for his Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan engineer Craig Hampson.

Hampson discovered the tires and wheels on his rental vehicle had been stolen overnight Thursday, with the car up on cinder blocks in the parking lot of his Phoenix area hotel.

“My reaction was, ‘I didn’t need to start my day like this," Hampson said. “As you can imagine, I had a busy day planned and it took up a whole chunk of time. I had to file a police report and contact the rental car company."

The experience left Hampson the butt of jokes in the paddock. Teammates planned on removing the wheels from his office chair in the team transporter engineering office, but were unable to do so before Hampson caught on to the scheme. He still managed to find the silver lining for it all.

“It basically sucked six hours of my time that I really didn’t have available," said Hampson, who spent Saturday morning getting a replacement rental car. “These things happen, but those guys (who stole the wheels) can change tires pretty quick, so if they need a legitimate job, maybe they can be on a pit crew."

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