Monday, January 27, 2014

Another Rolex 24, Another IndyCar Winner

I have to admit, it wasn't the best Rolex24 I've ever seen. There were some scary crashes, and some pretty long stretches run under caution. But at the end, a wild sprint to the finish provided plenty of fireworks, and Action Express gained a hard-fought victory. That team included Sebastien Bourdais, who had a seriously impressive weekend as part of the overall effort. Once again, IndyCar's fraternity of drivers produced another racer who will get to sport the champion's Rolex watch.

Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan looked as if they would be in a fine place to add to Chip Ganassi's trophy case, but a flat tire and vibration issues put a stop to that. Instead, it's Bourdais who has the honors, keeping alive a multi-year streak of having the winning Rolex team boast an IndyCar alum on their squad. Charlie Kimball, Graham Rahal, and Justin Wilson are all part of that streak.

When we take that into account, it seems reasonable that every January we're writing an article about just how much this IndyCar driver or that one is underrated, and what an excellent display of their skill the Rolex 24 has turned out to be. That's an easy article to write when the winner is Justin Wilson, and it's just as easy when it's Sebastien Bourdais--because it's absolutely, 100% true.

Bourdais obviously has had his ups and downs--domination in ChampCar, a rocky road in F1, and a slow creep back to full-time open wheel status in IndyCar over the last few years. Bourdais has also been with Dragon Racing, which has not precisely been a bastion of stability and top performance in recent years.

But real talent finds a way. As undoubtedly frustrating as some of the setbacks at Dragon have been, Bourdais has still found a way to add to his resume. He put a Lotus--a Lotus!--in the Top 10 at Alabama in 2012. He doubled up on podiums at Toronto last year, and won the Brickyard Grand Prix, to boot. He's won in V8 Supercars, and while he hasn't won his goal of Le Mans to date, he's been no slouch there, either.

In other words, it's good to remember that just because a driver suffers some career interruptions and isn't with a prime IndyCar team, doesn't mean he can't drive the wheels off a car. That's how it is with Sebastien Bourdais, that's for sure.

I'm not sure how Sebastien Bourdais will fare with KVSH in 2014, but I do know that whatever the outcome, he's one of the best all-around drivers out there. Every season, in and out of IndyCar, it seems he finds a new way of showing us precisely that.

1 comment:

  1. Bourdais isn't half bad on ovals either if he has a capable car. A lot of these old ChampCar guys suffer from the mythical belief amongs fans and pundits that they aren't good on the bankings. It was painful to watch him get replaced for the oval rounds for several seasons when you know he's just as capable as anyone out there.

    Despite Wilson winning on an oval, in a Coyne no less, and unification happening six (!) seasons ago now, this reputation seems to persist. It was good to see Will win at Fontana just to put that "oval choker" crap to rest.

    A lot of the perpetuation of this myth is that with the IndyCar series now down to five ovals all season, it becomes harder to shake that rep, just out of not having that many opportunities to do so.