Paul Tracy Suffers Injury in Long Beach Practice Crash LONG BEACH, California -- April 14th, 2007 -- Following a stellar opening-round event at Las Vegas last weekend that saw Paul Tracy lead the race only to suffer an untimely fueling problem...
Paul Tracy Suffers Injury in Long Beach Practice Crash
LONG BEACH, California -- April 14th, 2007 -- Following a stellar opening-round event at Las Vegas last weekend that saw Paul Tracy lead the race only to suffer an untimely fueling problem that relegated him to a third place finish, the winningest active Champ Car driver rolled into Long Beach this week expecting a strong result at a track where he's won four times. But it was not to be for the Canadian veteran as a Saturday morning practice crash resulted in a compression fracture to his first lumbar vertebrae in his lower back that will keep Tracy out of action for an undetermined period of time.
Spanish veteran Oriol Servia was recruited mid-day on Saturday to substitute for Tracy alongside Forsythe teammate Mario Dominguez. With Dominguez suffering from an unexpected balance problem on his softer Brigestone "Red" qualifying tires and Servia getting only a handful of practice laps, the Forsythe drivers qualified in the fifth and seventh row respectively.
"This is obviously a very unfortunate situation; it's really a shame because it pretty much ruins the championship for us this year. I'm very disappointed for the whole Team because we had gotten off to a great start in Vegas and we were pretty strong here, we were building momentum and just hoping to be fast and consistent the whole year.
I was coming off Turn 1 and got back on the throttle pretty hard and the car just snapped around, I went head on into the wall and then the car jumped up in the air and then slammed back on the ground. I could tell something was wrong right away. Now I'm just going to go home and rest for a couple of days and then early next week we'll start figuring out the best recovery options so I can get back in the car as soon as possible. I feel OK right now after all the medication that the doctors gave me, but I'm just sore and stiff and I just need some rest.
I wish Oriol (Servia) the best of luck, he has a really good car and a great Team behind him, and hopefully he can give the Team a good result."
Mario Dominguez Qualified 10th
"Not a good qualifying session for us today. We were really surprised because we have been running consistently in the top four and we came into the qualifying session confident that we had a very fast car. Our first stint we went out with the black Bridgestone tires and set a decent time. For our second stint we decided to use the red "Alternate" Potenzas and for some reason we just couldn't go any faster, it's very strange. We are not sure if those tires just don't work well with our setup, or what the problem is, but we will figure it out and fix it for the race. So not the best qualifying spot for us, but we know we have a quick car and we should be able to climb through the field tomorrow."
Oriol Servia Qualified 14th
"Well this was obviously a surprise! First of all I want to thank Jerry Forsythe and the Forsythe Team for putting their trust in me and giving me this opportunity. I've been preparing all off season mentally and physically and although this is not the way I expected to get back into a Champ Car I'm still very happy and very excited. Obviously everything has been very last minute. I'm still just getting up to speed and figuring out the DP01 around this track. We managed to go quicker with every lap, but there's still a lot of speed left in the car, we just need more laps. I'm still just barely figuring out the limits of the car under braking and just carrying a little bit more speed trough every corner every time. But we still have the warm up session tomorrow, and although we are starting the race from the back I know the Forsythe Team will give me great pit stops and a great strategy so we should be OK for the race."