We Take Credit for Sebastien Bourdais’ Win Today

Valuable advice, dispensed a week ago and properly digested, means victory!

Steven Cole Smith

See that photo up there? It was taken one week ago, on the Saturday before the Indianapolis 500. It is a shot of IndyCar driver and today's Detroit Grand Prix race winner Sebastien Bourdais, whom I've covered since the Champ Car days.

This photo was taken as Bourdais was behind the wheel of a new Chevrolet SS. I was in the passenger seat. We took several laps around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Bourdais, I sensed, was looking for some motorsports wisdom from a veteran, and I was happy to oblige. It is a little blurry because we were going so damn fast.

As we entered the first turn, he said, "You lose it here, you'll never get the car back." I nodded. That's how we communicated. He would go into turns at like 145 mph, and I would squeal like a little girl, which he correctly intrepreted as me telling him, "Yes, that's the proper line, maybe trail brake a tiny bit if you are drafting to settle the nose."

He would drive into turn one, where if you lose it you will never get it back, and my neck would go limp and my eyelids sort of fluttered, my way to telling SeaBass, "Enter a little lower and let the car drift to that little black speck of chewing gum, then reapply throttle gently."

It was like that. When they woke me up and pulled me from the car, I could see the gratefulness in his eyes, behind those weird red glasses he wears sometimes.

Of course, I was hoping my advice would lead to an Indianapolis 500 victory, but clearly the information was too much for Sebastien to digest overnight, so it was no surprise that he drove the Detroit Belle Isle circuit with the sort of razor precision that I endorsed.

Really, no thanks are needed. Just pay it forward, dude, when Helio or Juan Pablo need a little fine-tuning.