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Bourdais edges his teammate in Vegas

Published Aug. 28, 2005

Sebastien Bourdais and Bruno Junquiera spent much of the weekend together, eating and hanging out in the garage areas their Newman-Haas teams share.

On Saturday night, the two got really close, dueling wheel to wheel for 20 laps at more than 200 mph before Bourdais edged Junquiera by a car length at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for his sixth Champ Car victory of the season.

"It's always a very difficult race on an oval. There is a lot of pressure and it's kind of scary sometimes," said Bourdais, a Frenchman who resides in Tampa. "Respect on track was very good. It was the key to not sticking your car in the wall.

"Bruno was right there and was very close to me. If he kept that close to me much longer, I was thinking of backing off, because if we would have touched at that speed it would have been very, very bad."

Bourdais prevailed by 0.066 seconds in the sixth-closest series finish since 1979.

Pole-sitter Patrick Carpentier held on for third, 4.091 seconds behind Bourdais. Rodolfo Lavin finished fourth, and Jimmy Vasser rounded out the top five.

Bourdais, the series points leader, moved in front by passing Alex Tagliani 58 laps into the 167-lap event. By Lap 83 Junquiera was moving in to set the stage for the final showdown in the inaugural series event at Las Vegas.

Bourdais took the faster low lane, but Junquiera stayed with him as the two swapped spots five times in the last seven laps around the 1{-mile superspeedway, sometimes leading by inches.

An engine change shortly before the race left Bourdais feeling a little underpowered.

"I stuck it on the inside where nobody could pass me," he said.

It was Bourdais' ninth career victory, two on superspeedways in a series dominated by street circuits and road courses.

Junquiera, second in points, said he was frustrated by caution flags as he moved up on the leader before finally catching him. Then he just relied on his teammate's judgment.

"We were racing side by side for so many laps. Inside the car it looks pretty close but you know that both drivers are good and are trying to be safe," he said.

"When you finish a race like this in one piece, it's a good race."

Bourdais leads Junquiera 307-280 in points with two races left.

Carpentier, frustrated by a gearbox in which fifth and sixth gears were reversed, remains third, 66 points behind Bourdais.

FORMULA ONE: Rubens Barrichello won the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai to clinch second place in the championship as Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher had a rare rough race _ spinning out and finishing 12th, more than a lap behind.

Barrichello completed the 56 laps on the 3.388-mile track one second ahead of Jenson Button of BAR-Honda. Kimi Raikkonen of McLaren-Mercedes was third, almost catching Button at the end.

The Brazilian started from the pole and led virtually the entire way in a race seen as a marketing bonanza in a country of 1.3-billion. He'll finish second in points to Schumacher, who has a record 12 wins this season and has clinched his seventh title. Button also clinched third in points.

Former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve was 11th in his debut for Renault.

NHRA: Greg Anderson clinched the Pro Stock points championship despite losing in the opening round of eliminations and Tony Schumacher won in Top Fuel for the eighth time this season at the O'Reilly Fall Nationals in Dallas.

Anderson, who has won consecutive titles, lost to Kurt Johnson but still earned enough points to clinch. Dave Connolly went on to win the class, beating Bruce Allen in the final.

Schumacher topped Dave Grubnic, an Australian who was trying to become the first non-North American professional class winner, in the final. Del Worsham beat Cruz Pedregon in the Funny Car final.