Quartet of CART stars earn places on AARWBA INDIANAPOLIS (November 25, 2003) - Paul Tracy ( ...
Quartet of CART stars earn places on AARWBA
INDIANAPOLIS (November 25, 2003) - Paul Tracy (#3 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) led the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford nearly from start to finish in capturing his first series title in 2003, and now paces a quartet of CART stars as they look to earn a spot on the prestigious Auto Racing All-America Team, presented by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association.
Tracy joined Bruno Junqueira (#1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), Sebastien Bourdais (#2 Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Toyota Atlantic champion A.J. Allmendinger as CART representatives to earn spots in the balloting for the 33rd annual All-America team, with voting beginning today among the 300 members of the AARWBA membership. The Champ Car drivers earned berths in the open-wheel racing category while Allmendinger was tabbed in the at-large category. The top-two drivers in each category's voting will earn first-team status, with the third and fourth drivers to be named to the second team. Anyone else that garners at least five percent of the vote will merit honorable mention status.
Already a two-time first-team All-American, Tracy will look for a third selection after a monster season that saw the Canadian win seven races, six poles and 10 podiums en route to the series championship. Tracy started in the top three for 13 of the year's 19 races and became the first Canadian driver to ever win on his home soil, capturing popular victories in Toronto and Vancouver. The Champ Car leader in wins among active drivers with 26, Tracy also was voted by the fans as the winner of the MCI Most Popular Driver Award for the second consecutive season.
Junqueira became the first Champ Car driver in 10 years to finish as the series runner-up for two consecutive seasons, taking the second spot this year after a strong season that saw him earn two wins and two poles. The Brazilian stayed in the title hunt all the way to the final event but would settle for second after finishing in the top five in 12 of the year's 18 events.
Junqueira's Newman/Haas Racing teammate had one of the best rookie seasons in series history, as Bourdais won three races and five poles en route to finishing fourth in the championship. The 2002 FIA International F3000 champion won the pole for the first two races of his Champ Car career, matching the accomplishments of former F1 and CART champion Nigel Mansell. He also became the first driver to ever lead the first lap of his Champ Car career and would win one of the closest races in series history, nipping Mario Dominguez (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) by 0.084 seconds to win the German 500.
Allmendinger showed why he is the hottest property in open-wheel racing as he stormed through the Toyota Atlantic Championship, winning the title in his first year in the series. The Californian won seven races and nine poles, with the nine poles tying the series record held by Jacques Villeneuve. Allmendinger, Junqueira and Bourdais are on the AARWBA ballot for the first time while Tracy has been named on six previous occasions.