Las Vegas Grand Prix, 2007: Race Day

Jalopnik's Las Vegas local, Curtis Walker reports on race day at the Las Vegas Grand Prix this past weekend. He spent Friday braving the rainy season and making faces at TV's Frankie Muniz, who debuted in Champ Car Atlantic. On Sunday he braved the desert sun to catch the KO of Champ Car favorite Sebastien Bourdais and more than six cars in the Champ Car Atlantic field. Check out some of the entries we copied from Curtis's notebook, which arrived at Jalopnik Central covered in dust, oil and dried margarita mix. At least we hope it was dried margarita mix.

Warmup
As the threat of rain literally dried up, the Champ Car warmup on Sunday morning went off with no major events to report. Cars weren't catching big air, like they were on Friday. Race officials had the crown ground off the roadway, which helped out immensely, but didn't completely guarantee cars would stay four wheels to the pavement.

Atlantic warmup went pretty much the same as the Champ cars did earlier. Nobody tore anything up or pushed the limits too hard. It's a big pack, so watching these 27 cars compete for position later this afternoon should be pretty exciting.

And on to the opening act ...

Historic Grand Prix
The first actual race on Sunday was the Historic Grand Prix. There were lots of yellow flags and only a few crashes. It's really gotta be bad news when a 20+-year-old, six-of-a-kind race car gets trashed. We're just guessing, but Pep Boys probably doesn't stock front spoilers for the Williams FW08C. The best sounding car on the track was the McLaren M19C/02 with its Ford V8. Its throaty roar sounded beautiful echoing off the high-rises, right up until it was knocked out of the race. It was so exciting to see these cars in action that we totally forgot to pay attention to who won the damn thing.


Champ Car Atlantic
Champ Car Atlantic racers only get an hour for their race, and it seemed like about half that time was under the caution flag. In one spectacularly fun wreck, six cars were knocked out in one shot. Apparently, Malcolm was in the middle of it, as Frankie Muniz's car #13 was never to be seen again. What irks us the most is that it happened at turn three. We'd spent far too much time sweating in the sun at turn three earlier in the day, until we staked out more comfortable digs at turn 1. Because this was a standing-start race, the race officials were kind enough to hire hot girls with umbrellas and booty shorts to keep the boys cool — it is Vegas after all. In the end, occupying the podium were Brazilian racer Raphael Matos, Robert Wickens and Jonathan Bomarito.

Champ Car World Series
After parading the drivers and VIPs around the track in monster trucks, the race was officially started with the arrival of The Flying Elvises (Elvii?). Despite being a two-hour race, the drivers didn't waste any time pulling out the yellow flags. After the initial kinks were worked out (and Graham Rahal's car was scraped off the track) the race continued unimpeded. For the most part. Favored racer Bourdais made a strong push to #3 from his dismal 16th place starting position only to kiss the wall with his car and snap off a front wheel. Even though he claims to have stayed with the car for the remainder of the race, we didn't pick him up in any of the photos. Team Australia's Will Power went on to win, followed by Champ rookie Robert Doornbos and local boy, Paul Tracey. See the full results and stats here.

Related:
Jalopnik Goes to the Las Vegas Grand Prix: Pre Show [internal]