Sebastien Bourdais collected his fifth Indy car victory on an oval – his first since winning at The Milwaukee Mile in 2006 – and 34th win overall by dominating the second half of the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest presented by the Metro Milwaukee Honda Dealers.
Scott Dixon finished a frustrating seventh.. “We had a tough day with the Cottonelle car. We went off sequence and led for a while, and the race kind of came to us later on with the way the yellows fell. In the end we shuffled back a bit and lost some valuable points, which is tough to swallow with just four races to go. We’ll keep fighting, though, and be ready to make up ground in Iowa next weekend.”
Driving the No. 11 Team Hydroxycut – KVSH Racing Chevrolet, Bourdais tied Al Unser Jr. for seventh on the all-time victory list with 34.
Bourdais, who led a field-high 118 laps, built a large enough cushion on his Verizon IndyCar Series competitors that he retained the lead after pitting on Lap 213 of 250 on the 1.015-mile historic Milwaukee Mile oval. He then held off Helio Castroneves, who started last in the 24-car field in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet because of a qualifying rules violation, on a Lap 232 restart and sped away to a 2.2366-second victory.
Bourdais led 117 laps from the pole in winning a 197-lap timed race at The Mile in June 2006 for his fourth consecutive victory of that season.
“On these ovals, you can go from hero to zero and back to hero again. I guess that’s my story,” said Bourdais, who qualified 11th on a day that had both qualifying and the race on Sunday. “It’s so much about momentum when you can feel one with the car, and today the guys gave me an awesome car. It felt pretty good off the truck and I thought, ‘This could be a pretty good weekend.’ And then we messed up qualifying.
“Never did I think we could come up through the field and pass everybody. It’s just unbelievable. It’s what these places do to you. When the car is right, it’s so, so special.”
Graham Rahal, who won the MAVTV 500 on June 27, finished third in the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda and Juan Pablo Montoya was fourth in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.
Pole sitter Josef Newgarden led 109 laps and finished fifth in the No. 67 CFH Racing Chevrolet.
Will Power’s No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet was collected in a Lap 131 incident off a restart when the No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda driven by Ryan Briscoe spun in Turn 4.
It was the second consecutive DNF for Power, allowing Montoya to increase his championship points lead. Scott Dixon, making his 250th Indy car start, overtook Power for second in the standings with a seventh-place finish in the No. 9 Cottonelle Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.
Montoya takes a 54-point advantage over Dixon into the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway on July 18. Power fell to fifth in the standings with 369 points, one marker behind Rahal and Castroneves.
“No question it makes it tough,” said Power, the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion who finished 22nd. “We just have to focus and move on to the next one.”
1. (11) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 250, Running
2. (24) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 250, Running
3. (6) Graham Rahal, Honda, 250, Running
4. (8) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 250, Running
5. (1) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 250, Running
6. (4) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 250, Running
7. (10) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 250, Running
8. (9) Marco Andretti, Honda, 250, Running
9. (17) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 250, Running
10. (22) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 250, Running
11. (12) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 250, Running
12. (7) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 250, Running
13. (16) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 250, Running
14. (13) Takuma Sato, Honda, 250, Running
15. (18) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 250, Running
16. (20) Tristan Vautier, Honda, 248, Running
17. (21) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 221, Running
18. (15) Justin Wilson, Honda, 219, Mechanical
19. (3) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 183, Contact
20. (19) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 156, Mechanical
21. (2) Ryan Briscoe, Honda, 130, Contact
22. (14) Will Power, Chevrolet, 130, Contact
23. (5) James Jakes, Honda, 113, Mechanical
24. (23) Pippa Mann, Honda, 27, Handling