2013 Race Reports
2013 CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS
Zolder, Belgium (Sunday, June 9th, 2013) - MP Racing celebrates 2nd victory of 2013 season as Mark Plourde drives his #8 MP Racing Wal-Mart/Gulfstream Champ Car to victory lane in the Belgium Grand Prix on Sunday evening at circuit Zolder in downtown Zolder, Belgium . What a way to end a long week of preparation for Plourde, with his wife Sheri cheering from the sideline. Sheri Plourde sat out the Belgium Grand Prix with a sternal fracture in her chest that was suffered during a horrific crash on the first lap at Detroit last weekend. Mark held off early competition to maintain his race lead and later on lap 31 had a solid 8.14 second lead on the 2nd place car of Ricardo Zonta. Mark would only give up the lead of the race in between pit stops. Plourde won the event with a strong 10 second advantage. Mark later flipped up his visor to wipe away tears as the crowd roared its approval, and then in Victory Lane gave his bride of 5 years (Sheri) a nice long kiss and began the celebration with his #8 MPR Team.
POST RACE COMMENTS:
"I knew I had to get the lead on that last restart because it could put us in position to win and thats exactly what happened. Ricardo short filled his car with fuel and that gave him the lead so we had to take it back when we went back to green and so I just gunned it on the straight, Mark said."
Portland, Oregon (Sunday, April 28, 2013) - MP Racing enjoys triple top ten day on the famous permanent road course circuit at PIR Raceway in Portland Oregon. After a four year absense, MP Racing returned to Portland to run in the Mazda Grand Prix of Portland and posted excellent results. Mark Plourde earned his first podium finish of 2013 by placing 2nd while Sheri Plourde and Bruno Junqueira finished 5th and 7th on the 2 mile road course. MPR was strong all day and performed well as the race went on.
Mark Plourde, driver of the No 8 Lexington/Gulfstream Bridgestone/Ford Cosworth/DP01 Champ Car, started 5th and and drove a clean, smart race. Mark started the day on the Bridgestone red (alternate) tires and used that strategy to gain track position early in the race. That helped Mark move up into the top 3. By lap 51, he was up into 2nd place and was able to remain there through the last round of pit stops. Mark held off a hard charge by Robert Doornbos in the closing laps and hung on for a strong 2nd place finish.
Sheri Plourde and Bruno Junqueira, Drivers of the No 11 Tide/Canary Fund and No 18 Z-Line Designs Bridgestone/Ford Cosworth/DP01 machines, started 12th and 2nd today. Sheri, after a bad qualifying session where she blew an engine and lost time ended up having to come from the back of the field. Sheri used a fuel strategy and saved fuel so she could stretch her fuel windows many laps further then anyone else. By lap 63 Sheri was up into 7th and later when more cars pitted, she moved up into 5th where she would finish. Bruno Junqueira begin up in 2nd place today but was hit from behind on the opening lap by Newman/Haas driver Ricardo Zonta. That caused some minor wing damage to the No 18 car. Bruno was forced to pit on lap 2 which dropped him down to 16th. Bruno would fight his way back up into the top ten with some nice sharp driving. Bruno would go on to post a 7th place finish.
Monterrey, Mexico (Sunday, March 24, 2013) - MP Racing had an exciting start to the 2013 season by placing all three MPR cars in the top ten today at the Tecate / Telmex Grand Prix of Mexico on the 3 mile road course circuit inside Fundidora Park in Monterrey, Mexico. Sheri Plourde had her hands full in the closing laps and managed to hold onto a solid 4th place finish while Mark Plourde drove a steady but strong race to 6th today. MP Racing's newest driver Bruno Junqueira started 10th and remained in the top ten all day and placed 9th in his 12th race here on the Mexican circuit. All three MPR drivers had good pace and drove a mistake free event to place solid results.
Sheri Plourde, who started 4th, was pushing hard all race and fell short of a podium when her tires began to give away in the closing laps of the race. Sheri had more then 30 laps on her current set of tires and that caused her tires to give out in the final laps, Still Sheri was able to remain among the lead pack and held on for a strong top five finish today.
Mark Plourde, Started 2nd (based on driver points from 2012) and was pleased with results early on. Mark was able to stay in the top three cars for most of the race. After Mark's last pit stop on lap 54 he took the red alternate tires and just like his wife Sheri, Mark was out of tires by the final 10 laps. Mark no longer had any (Mechanical Grip) in his rear tires left to stay competitive, so that made it difficult to hold off faster cars. Mark would slowly drift back to 6th where he would go on to finish the race.
Bruno Junqueira, started his first race in an MPR car in 10th today and never really had a fast car to move up. Bruno struggled with his car setup for most of the race. By lap 60 he was up into 7th but was unable to hold the position. Bruno held on for a 9th place finish today but worked with a car that had very bad oversteer all day long. Bruno was fighting the car and tried to make the most of a bad situation. By placing in the top ten he accomplished that goal.
ZHUHAI CITY, CHINA - September 30, 2012 - MP Racing drivers Mark Plourde and Sheri Plourde finish 3rd and 6th in today's running of the Chinese Grand Prix on the permanent 2 mile road circuit at Zhuhai Raceway in Zhuhai City China. Mark Plourde drove a sensational race to finish on the podium once again this season but it wasn't enough to stop Simon Pagenaud from winning his first open wheel championship. The native of France secured the championship by placing 2nd today. Sheri Plourde suffered a tire problem and drove from 18th all the way to 6th and won the "hard charger award" which is given to the driver that gains the most positions in a race.
Mark Plourde, No. 8 Lexington Energy | Gulfstream - MP Racing Ford Cosworth/Bridgestone machine, who started 6th, had a fantastic start to the race and Mark gained four positions and was up into 2nd place by lap 7. Mark would remain in 2nd place for the majority of the race. Mark drove a very steady, professional race and got two flawless pit stops from his MPR crew. Mark lost 2nd place during his last pit stop on lap 46 when driver Simon Pagenaud used a "short fill" fuel strategy to get out of the pits ahead of Mark. He would remain in 3rd and go on to finish the race on the podium.
POST RACE COMMENTS:
"It is a great finish for the weekend," Mark said. "I need to thank the team for a great car and good pit stops. Congrats to Simon on winning the championship. He sure had a great year, we didn't have much of a strategy but we were fast and that helped out most of all. everyone did a fantastic job. I had some great restarts and was able to pass a few cars right from the start and that helped put us in position."
Sheri Plourde, No. 11 Tide | Canary Fund - MP Racing Ford Cosworth/Bridgestone car, qualified 12th, but fell back to 18th place on lap 3 after cutting her right rear tire when she ran over a piece of debris out on track. Sheri made an early pit stop for new tires and took extra fuel. Sheri rejoined the race in 20th, from that point on, she showed that her car was faster than most of the cars running in the top ten and Sheri picked up five positions and was in 15th by lap 26. Sheri stayed out on track and pitted later then the leaders which allowed her to pick up additional positions. Sheri made her final pit stop on lap 57 while running in 3rd, She rejoined the race in 8th and continued to pass cars. Sheri continued to battle and managed to grab 6th place and would go on to hold position and finish in the top ten after getting shuffled to the back early on.
POST RACE COMMENTS:
"I definitely had a top car today," Sheri said. "The first lap I ran over something on track and it cut my rear tire and we ended up going to the back of the pack. So I had to play catch up the rest of the way but i'm happy with a 6th place finish after all that we went through. We continued to fight and fortunately we were able to savage a top-10 finish which gave us valuable championship points today."
MONTEREY, CA - September 23, 2012 - MP Racing drivers Sheri Plourde and Mark Plourde finish 6th and 8th today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey. Sheri Plourde drove a smart race all the way from 12th on the grid to claim 6th place and gather as many championship points as she could. Mark Plourde was in position for a podium finish but needed a late race pit stop to make it to the end and would drop back to 8th where he would finish. With the championship on the line, MP Racing did well to earn championship points going forward.
Sheri Plourde, No. 11 Tide | Canary Fund - MP Racing Ford Cosworth/Bridgestone Champ car, started the race 12th but was quickly on the move right from the drop of the green flag. By lap 10 Sheri was already into 7th place. Sheri made two pit stops on laps 25 and 59. Sheri was back up into 7th place and was able to pass Rocketsports driver Antonio Pizzonia on an impressive inside move to gain the position and move up into 6th place. Sheri would remain there and finish the race in 6th.
POST RACE COMMENTS:
"I had a decent qualifying run and a really strong race," Sheri said. "I would have liked to move up a couple more spots but im happy with 6th. This track is so hard to get a handle on setup wise, you are either too hard or too soft with the tire and balance combinations. In my opinion the car was a little sketchy on the downforce that we have chosen for the race, In the end it all worked out and im pleased with the 6th place finish today."
Mark Plourde, No. 8 Lexington Energy | Gulfstream - MP Racing Ford Cosworth/Bridgestone machine, started today from 13th position. Mark just like Sheri was hot and on the move very early in the race. Mark actually passed Sheri along with Bruno Junqueira and was up into 5th position by lap 14. Mark made his first of two pit stops on lap 28 and rejoined the race back in 10th place. On Mark's 2nd stint, he was once again passing multiple cars and was soon up to 4th place on lap 52. Mark made his 2nd pit stop early with hopes of earning a top 5 finish. Mark pitted on lap 53 and would need help from a yellow flag to make the end of the race without stopping for fuel once more. Mark held his 4th place position but he never got the yellow flag he needed in order to make the finish line, Mark was forced to pit for a third time on lap 76 which dropped him back to 8th place.
POST RACE COMMENTS:
"I am happy with my result," Mark said. "We wanted to try and complete the race at the leaders race pace in only two stops but we obviously needed five laps of yellow to make the strategy work and we never got lucky with the yellow flags. I honestly love this Laguna Seca track, ive won here twice in the past but it's such a hard track to master because of the fuel game, your always trying to figure out how much fuel you need for the race pace your going etc. It's such a fun track to drive, I'm still happy we came away with points for the championship today."
MONTREAL, CANADA - September 9, 2012 - MP Racing driver Mark Plourde drives flawless race from pole to win his first race of the 2012 season by taking the checkerd flag in today's Molson Indy Montreal on the famous Gilles Villeneuve circuit in downtown Montreal. Teammate Sheri Plourde also put in a strong performance placing 3rd after qualifying back in 10th.
Mark Plourde, No. 8 Lexington Energy | Gulfstream - MP Racing Ford Cosworth/Bridgestone machine, who was very fast in qualifying and won the pole for the first time this year, got off to a blazing start and was able to build an impressive 8.04 second lead within the first 14 laps of the race. Given Mark's race pace, the team committed to a two stop pit strategy and Mark would go on to continue his dominating lead. Mark pitted for the first time on lap 33 and switched from the primary "black" to the alternate "red" tire. The move dropped Mark into 5th place, but also gave him the faster tire so he could easily catch the cars ahead. From that point on Mark drove a flawless race using his unquestioned driving skill to work his way through the field and pick up positions during the numerous restarts. Mark regained the race lead on lap 41 and never gave it up again. Mark also benefitted from outstanding pit work from his #8 MP Racing crew. Mark won for the first time in the 2012 season, MP Racing now has two wins this year with Mark and Sheri both winning one race a piece.
POST RACE COMMENTS:
"We had another great strategy today but finally we turned it into a win which makes me very proud." Mark said. "I didn't want to get involved in that melee right at the end of the race. I just drove very aggressive and was lucky to have such a great race car today. We were so fast and the car was exactly how I like it that we were able to win the Bridgestone pole today and that helped us be in position to win the race. I was really happy with the race car from the moment I arrived here. Everything came together and im so so happy."
Sheri Plourde, in the No. 11 Tide | Canary Fund - MP Racing Ford Cosworth/Bridgestone entry, qualified 10th but showed the focus and determination to get to the front. Like Mark, Sheri was on a two stop pit strategy and pitted early, on lap 12, to shed the primary tire for the alternate one and to get open track. Sheri fell back to 15th after her pit stop but quickly moved up to 11th by passing slower cars. Sheri was later up into 6th place after other drivers made their pit stops. With the help of yellow flags, Sheri was able to remain in the top five and when she made her final pit stop on lap 54, Sheri came out in 7th place. With several drivers needing a pit stop in the closing laps of the race, Sheri was able to move forward and was up into 3rd place with four laps remaining. Sheri made a last chance effort to pass Simon Pagenaud for 2nd place but she was unable to complete a pass for the position and would finish in 3rd.
POST RACE COMMENTS:
"We could always do better, but finishing on the podium in 3rd was not a bad way to end the weekend after the way we started," Sheri said. "It was a very difficult and long race to drive. There were a lot of decisions that needed to be made at different parts of the race. The car was good for some parts and bad for others so we needed to keep changing our race setup. I think we did really well considering the circumstances. I'm so happy for Mark, it has been a long time coming for him and i'm thrilled he won today. He sure had the best car all day and its wonderful for him."
ROAD AMERICA CIRCUIT - ELKHART LAKE, Wis - August 19, 2012 - MP Racing drivers Sheri Plourde and Mark Plourde earned top tens today at Road America. Sheri Plourde earned her first open wheel podium finish at Road America by placing 3rd while Mark drove a calm race to a 6th place finish on the picturesque 4-mile, Road America permanent road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Sheri Plourde, No. 11 Tide | Canary Fund - MSP - MP Racing Cosworth/Bridgestone Champ Car started 3rd. The 24-year-old drove both a smart and strong race. She saved fuel and hung with the leaders for the entire race. On a 4 mile track drivers needed to save alot of fuel and Sheri was excellent in that area. On lap 18 she made her first pit stop and once she rejoined the race in 10th, she turned up the wick particularly during the next 30 laps when she charged from 10th place up to 2nd. Sheri made her final pit stop on lap 51 and began passing cars again. Sheri was into 5th with 12 laps to go and managed to pick up two more positions. One due to a late pit stop by the car ahead and the other by passing for 3rd place with 3 laps to go. Putting Sheri up into 3rd for her first ever podium at Road America. Sheri later thanked her race strategist and lead engineer Graham Taylor for an outstanding car and race strategy.
POST RACE COMMENTS:
Commenting on the race Sheri said, "I first need to say thank you to the crew and thank you for my first podium finish here, its a great feeling to come here and finish on the podium, at the end of the race I had one of the fastest running cars, so I think it was enjoyable to watch and for me to race. I'm pleased with this race and the result."
Mark Plourde, No. 8 Lexington Energy | Gulfstream - MP Racing Cosworth/Bridgestone machine, started seventh. Mark ran in the top-10 with reasonable pace through the first few laps, however from that point on he slowly started moving up and was up into 4th place by lap 22. Mark fell back to 12th place after his pit stop but was soon back on the move once again and was up into 8th on lap 49. Mark was very aggressive and was engaged in several spirited wheel-to-wheel battles in an attempt to defend his position or move forward, but he simply didn't have enough fuel at the end to make the work pay off. Mark was running in 2nd place with 15 laps to go but needed a last minute pit stop for fuel only in order to make the end of the race. Mark would fall back to 6th place where he would go on to finish.
POST RACE COMMENTS:
"During the race we were really fast and I was able to move up quickly, the problem was our fuel strategy. We wanted to stretch the fuel window at the end and it didn't work. So we needed a last second pit stop and that killed us." Mark said. "We were in 2nd place at the right moment in the race but we needed some yellow to help us out and unfortunately we didn't get any. So I had to pit with 9 laps left to go and it moved us back to 6th and I was too far back to gain anymore track position. The crew did a great job in the pits, we just had a strategy problem. The team is going to sit down and review the data and I am confident we will get everything resolved for our next race in Montreal."
LEXINGTON, OH - August 5, 2012 - MP Racing drivers Mark Plourde and Sheri Plourde both had great drives today at Mid-Ohio. Mark Plourde drove a fantastic race to finish 2nd in today's Honda Indy 200 CCWS race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Mark's wife and teammate Sheri Plourde placed a well earned 4th today!
Mark Plourde, driving the No. 8 Lexington Energy | Gulfstream - MP Racing Cosworth/ Bridgestone Champ Car, qualified 5th and right from the drop of the green flag, he started making passes on track and was quickly into 3rd place by lap 4. The team employed a two stop fuel strategy and came in early, on lap 15, dropping Mark back down to 13th. However, he was immediately on the move and had worked his way back up to 8th place when the leaders began to pit for the first time starting on lap 25. After picking up several positions on track, Mark added in a sensational four-car pass and put himself into fourth place. He pitted for the second and final time on lap 42, dropping back to 10th, but once again fought his way back and was in seventh place when the leaders started making their second round of pit stops. Mark did not need to pit anymore and was moving up as others made their pit stops. Mark was up into 3rd place after all pit stops were completed. On lap 72 of the 80 lap contest, Mark made a great move on the inside of 2nd place Robert Doornbos and took over 2nd place. Mark would run out of time to catch the race leader and would finish 2nd!
POST RACE COMMENTS:
"I am very happy with today's result," Mark said. "The car was super good in the race. We wanted to use the two stop pit strategy and despite no yellow flags we made it work. Sometimes that is really tough to do because you need a few laps of yellow to make it to the end on just two stops and we did a great job of saving fuel and not giving up track position. It was a very physical race with alot of elevation changes and twists and turns. Everyone did a great great job."
Sheri Plourde in the No. 11 Tide | Canary Fund - MP Racing Cosworth/Bridgestone machine, started 3rd and picked up one position on the opening laps and was up into 2nd. Sheri was passed by her teammate Mark on lap 4 and was dropped back a spot. Sheri would stay up in the top 5 until making her first pit stop on lap 25. During the second stint she was running in traffic and was stuck behind a couple slower cars. That held her up a little and Sheri stayed back in 12th place. Once the team noticed that Sheri was unable to pass the cars in front of her, the team decided to pit her early for her 2nd pit stop, but in the fuel window, to get Sheri a clear track and fresh tires. Sheri rejoined the race back in 14th position and started working her way back through the field getting as high as 8th before the leaders made their final stops on lap 64. Sheri gained four more spots after the leaders pitted putting Sheri up into 4th where she finished.
POST RACE COMMENTS:
"I am pretty happy even though we didn't get the result we wanted today," Sheri said. "The car was decent. We had the pace of the lead cars up front but we were caught in traffic and at the end of my first stint I had no grip and couldn't pass. With the strategy we had, I was able to pit early and stay out when the leaders came in and so I picked up those positions and moved up that way. I am happy for Mark that he was able to make it to the front and almost won the race. I'm pleased with how the team and everyone rebounded to get a top five result today."
EDMONTON, Canada - July 22, 2012 - MP Racing drivers Sheri Plourde and Mark Plourde both had a challenging and difficult Edmonton Indy race. Sheri would have to battle back to reach a 5th place finish while Mark was caught up in a three car accident which ended his day early today in Edmonton, Canada.
Sheri Plourde, No. 11 Tide | Canary Fund MSP - MP Racing Cosworth/Bridgestone machine, making her fourth appearance on the 2.224-mile, 13-turn City Centre Airport temporary street circuit, qualified 2nd, Sheri dropped back to 4th on the start of the race but was able to hold position from there. Sheri was not able to save enough fuel to complete the race in two pit stops. She needed a third pit stop because of the race length, it was predetermined from the outset that this would be a two pit stop contest, which required drivers to save fuel. Sheri drove a solid race, had flawless pit stops and saved some fuel, On lap 58 Sheri was in 8th and began passing as many cars as she could. However, the lack of cautions towards the end of the race eliminated any meaningful opportunities to move up and in the end she would only gain three positions to finish in 5th!
POST RACE COMMENTS:
"I enjoyed my forth time here in Edmonton," Sheri said. "The track is much smoother, which is what I like, it makes the car so much easier to setup. Unfortunately, in order to make the two stop strategy work we had to save fuel and we didn't have the car to do that today. We had to push hard in order to stay up front and that was difficult to do while saving fuel so we ended up having to make three pit stops and that dropped us back alot so that hurt us. It was still a positive day and we picked up much needed points."
Mark Plourde, No. 8 Lexington Energy | Gulfstream - MP Racing Cosworth/Bridgestone car, qualified 9th, Mark started picking up spots right away and quickly was in 7th place by lap 3. In an effort to try and pick up more track position, the team went with a two stop strategy. Mark pitted early, on lap 10 of the 70 lap contest, He rejoined the race up in 8th place and was on schedule to complete the race in two stops. On Mark's second pit stop which occured on lap 38, he was on his way back out on track when a crash involving two other cars collected Mark's car and damaged it beyond repair. Mark was down on the inside while two cars were fighting for position, they touched and spun out and Mark was a victum with no where to go. Mark's day came to an end on lap 39 of the 70 lap race. He would placed 18th.
POST RACE COMMENTS:
"It was just a bad weekend," Mark said. "We had gearbox problems on Saturday and today we were knocked out of the race. In the race we tried a strategy that was on pace to work out good and allow us to maybe have a shot at the podium or a win. That didn't work because I was hit hard once I made the right turn to come back out on the track. My front toe link was bend bad and that ended our race. It's just a very tough situation. We have to do better at the next race. We left much needed points on the table and we can't do that."
MP RACING - NEXT EVENT: END OF SEASON
RACE // BIRA INTERNATIONAL GRAND PRIX OF THAILAND
01. Jan Heylen
02. Mark Plourde
03. Antonio Pizzonia
04. James Hinchcliffe
05. Sheri Plourde
2013 FINAL POINT STANDINGS
01. Mark Plourde*
02. Ricardo Zonta
03. Robert Doornbos
04. Bruno Junqueira
05. Sheri Plourde
OUR FEATURED PARTNERS