An emotional Sebastien Bourdais went from the very back to the very front at St. Petersburg on Sunday, and felt the race victory was redemption for a victory that went astray back at the track in his Champ Car days in 2003.
The Dale Coyne Racing driver recovered from his qualifying crash on Saturday, taking advantage of a well-timed caution period to move up to second place before passing reigning champion Simon Pagenaud for the lead.
The Frenchman drove superbly from green flag to the chequered flag, ultimately beating Team Penske’s Pagenaud by over ten seconds, and Bourdais thanked team boos Dale Coyne for giving him the opportunity to return to the outfit.
“A lot of things come back. I caught myself thinking about 2003, when obviously we started the opposite,” said Bourdais. “We dominated the weekend, were on pole, cleared the field, then all hell broke loose. I found myself tapping the wall in Turn 8, threw it away. It was kind of redemption day here.
“To come out on top with obviously a lot of friends and family on-site, the whole community supporting the effort, it was just a great feeling. I couldn’t really be any happier for Honda and Dale for giving me the opportunity to put the band back together and make it happen.
“Everybody works really, really hard. We’re a small group. There is nobody at the shop that doesn’t travel. But it works. It’s a great little group. We’re sure not going to stop there. We’re just going to keep on trying.”