CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Pre-race notes, schedule

WHO'S HOT Sebastien Bourdais ( ...

WHO'S HOT

Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) earned his fifth consecutive podium finish with a third-place run in Portland and led laps for the fifth straight race. He leads the series in poles, wins and laps led and has a 30-point lead in the championship.

Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) gained points on the series leader for the first time this year after another runner-up finish in Portland. Wilson has collected four runner-up finishes this season in is second in the point standings. The Brit has yet to finish outside of the top-five in 2006.

Dan Clarke (#14 CTE Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) backed up a strong run in Milwaukee with an even better performance in Portland where he set new career highs by starting and finishing in the sixth spot. His result moved him into the lead in the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year standings for the first time this year, giving him a one-point advantage over Katherine Legge (#20 Bell Micro Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone).

Andrew Ranger (#27 Tide/Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) continues to put together his best-ever Champ Car campaign as he holds the fourth spot in the points after five races. The young Canadian has saved his best work for Race Day, and has earned the championship point for gaining the most positions in four of the season's five races.

Bruno Junqueira (#2 Hole In The Wall Camps Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) scored his first pole since the 2004 Champ Car season opener when he paced Portland qualifying, and shook off the bad luck that had plagued him through the first four races as he powered to a fourth-place finish. The finish moved him into the top-10 in the standings for the first time this year.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

A.J. Allmendinger (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) made his debut with Forsythe Championship Racing a special one, leading 100 laps in Portland to score his first victory. He will look to carry that success to Cleveland this weekend, returning to the track where he finished second a year ago. He has never finished worse than sixth in Cleveland dating all the way back to his days in Barber Dodge.

Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) is the defending champion of the Grand Prix of Cleveland and is one of six drivers ever to win twice in Cleveland. He is also the first driver since Emerson Fittipaldi (1991-92) to win back-to-back poles in Cleveland.

Oriol Servia (#6 Bell Micro Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has three top-six finishes in his five Cleveland starts and has had success dating back even as far as his Indy Lights days where he qualified second in 1998 and 1999. He finished third last year and ran the fastest lap of the race.

Alex Tagliani (#15 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has finished in the top-10 in each of his last five visits to Cleveland including a podium in 2004 and a fourth-place last year.

Even though this is Charles Zwolsman's (#34 Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) first Champ Car start at the Burke Lakefront Airport, this is a circuit the rookie has been successful on. The Dutchman has two Champ Car Atlantic series starts on the course and in those starts he has started on the front row in both races, one of them from the pole, before driving on to back-to-back victories.

NOTEWORTHY

A.J. Allmendinger became the 244th driver ever to win a Champ Car race with his victory in Portland. He set a career-high for laps led in a race by pacing 100 laps and is the sixth driver ever to claim a Champ Car win for Forsythe Championship Racing.

The Cleveland Grand Prix is the longest continuously-running temporary circuit in Champ Car, celebrating its 25th year this season.

The Roshfrans Rookie of the Year battle has been one of the closest on the circuit. With his 6th place finish in Portland Dan Clarke climbed from third to first with 58 points. He is pursued by fellow Brit Katherine Legge who is a single point behind him. Last week's rookie standings leader Will Power finds himself in the third position this week four points behind the leader.

Turn one at the Burke Lakefront Airport is one of the most infamous on the Champ Car schedule. Five out of the last six year a lap one, turn one incident has sent at least one racing machine to the garage.

Paul Tracy is expected to make his 129th consecutive Champ Car start this weekend, a string that is 10th on the all-time list. Directly ahead of him are Gil de Ferran (129) and Mauricio Gugelmin (130)

Katherine Legge set a new Champ Car high for best finish by a female driver with a sixth-place finish in Milwaukee. She also became the first female driver ever to lead laps in the 97-year history of the series.

Bruno Junqueira's win in Monterrey last season gave him victories in each of his first five seasons as a Champ Car driver. A win this season would make the Newman/Haas Racing pilot the first driver since Bobby Rahal (1982-87) to earn wins in each of his first six years in the series.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Greater Cleveland area extends 100 miles along the Lake Erie shoreline and more than 40 miles inland. Nicknames used for the city include The Forest City, Metropolis of the Western Reserve, The New American City, America's North Coast, and C-Town. Cleveland obtained its name on July 22, 1796, when surveyors of the Connecticut Land Company toured Connecticut's Western Reserve and named an area in Ohio "Cleaveland" after General Moses Cleaveland, the superintendent of the surveying party, a month after white settlers had signed a treaty with local Native Americans to acquire the land. Cleaveland laid out the plan for the modern Public Square area before returning home, never to visit the area again. The spelling of the city's name was later changed to "Cleveland" when, in 1831, an "a" was dropped so the name could fit a newspaper's masthead. An esteemed city, Cleveland is home to Euclid Avenue which was once known as "Millionaire's Row" which at one time rivaled New York's Fifth Avenue for prestige and elegance. Running through the downtown area Euclid Avenue was at one time world-renowned as the home of such internationally-known names as Rockefeller, Hanna, and Hay. Also known for innovation the first electric traffic light was invented and installed in Cleveland in 1914.

BY THE NUMBERS

6, 198 ft -- The length of the longest of two runways at Burke Lakefront Airport. 1915 -- The year that Cleveland's Baseball team, became the Indians (before they held the names of Blues, Broncos, and Naps). 46 -- The number of laps Paul Tracy led on the way to his second win on the Cleveland runways. 33 -- Cleveland is the 33rd largest city in the United States. 25 -- This year the Cleveland Grand Prix is celebrating its 25th anniversary. 9 -- How many times the Cleveland event has been won from the pole position. 4 -- How many AAFC and NFL Championship titles the Cleveland Browns have won. 3 -- The most Cleveland Grand Prix's a single driver has victories in (Emerson Fittipaldi and Danny Sullivan). 2.34 -- Sebastien Bourdais' starting and finishing average in three starts on the Cleveland circuit. 2 -- The number of drivers who have back-to-back wins (Bourdais and Zanardi) on the Cleveland track.

FAST FACTS

CHAMP CAR GRAND PRIX OF CLEVELAND PRESENTED BY U.S. BANK

WHAT: Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank

WHERE: Burke Lakefront Airport, Cleveland, Ohio

WHEN: Friday--Sunday, June 23-25

SUPPORT EVENTS: Champ Car Atlantic, Formula Ford 2000, Corvette Challenge

CHAMP CAR SCHEDULE (All times local): FRIDAY, JUNE 23 -- 10:45 - 11:30 a.m., Atlantic practice; 12:00 - 1:15 p.m., Champ Car practice; 3:00 - 3:30 p.m., Atlantic qualifying; 4:30 - 5:30 p.m., Champ Car qualifying. SATURDAY, JUNE 24 - 9:30--10:00 a.m., Atlantic practice; 10:30--11:30 a.m., Champ Car practice; 2:00 - 3:00 p.m., Champ Car qualifying; 3:30 - 4:30 p.m., Atlantic Race #1; SUNDAY, JUNE 25 - 9:00 - 9:15 a.m., Atlantic warmup; 10:30--11:00 a.m., Champ Car warmup; 12:00 - 1:00 p.m., Atlantic Race #2; 2:30 p.m., CHAMP CAR GRAND PRIX OF CLEVELAND PRESENTED BY U.S. BANK

U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE (Eastern Time): SUNDAY, JUNE 25 -- Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank, 2:30 p.m. CBS Sports (live)

2005 CHAMPION: Paul Tracy
2005 POLESITTER: Paul Tracy

TRACK LAYOUT: 2.104-mile temporary road course
RACE LENGTH: 97 laps (204.282 miles)

TRACK RECORDS: Qualifying (one lap) -- 1998, Jimmy Vasser, 56.417 seconds (134.385 mph). Race -- 1994, Al Unser Jr., 1:27:32.000 (122.703 mph) based on 85 laps (179.010 miles)

RACE ROUND: 6 of 15 in the 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.

INSTANT REPLAY: Paul Tracy rolled from pole to score the 30th win of his Champ Car career, besting A.J. Allmendinger to win the Grand Prix of Cleveland. Tracy led the first 29 laps of the day and appeared to have things in hand until Cristiano da Matta used an alternate pit strategy to take the point. He led the next 21 orbits and was increasing his lead with each lap, but had a problem on the frontstretch chicane while negotiating lapped traffic and ended his day in the infield grass. Allmendinger took the lead after pitting during the da Matta caution but his final stop handed the lead back to Tracy, who led the final 16 laps to secure the win. Allmendinger matched a career high with a second-place run while Oriol Servia rounded out the podium finishers. The win gave Tracy a one-point lead in the season standings over Sebastien Bourdais, who finished fifth.

-ccws-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Al Unser Jr. , Gil de Ferran , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Bobby Rahal , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Mauricio Gugelmin , Oriol Servia , Danny Sullivan , Sébastien Bourdais , A.J. Allmendinger , Katherine Legge , Emerson Fittipaldi , Andrew Ranger , Charles Zwolsman , Will Power , Cristiano da Matta , Dan Clarke