Stakes are high as PF Racing Drivers Tracy and Carpentier compete tn second Mexican event of Champ Car season. Mexico City, Mexico, October 9, 2003 -- PF Racing driver Paul Tracy is hoping his second visit to Mexico in this Champ Car World...
Stakes are high as PF Racing Drivers Tracy and Carpentier compete tn second Mexican event of Champ Car season.
Mexico City, Mexico, October 9, 2003 -- PF Racing driver Paul Tracy is hoping his second visit to Mexico in this Champ Car World Series season will be just as productive as the one he made last March.
Tracy's first Mexican fiesta occurred in the second race of the season, when he won on the road course in Monterrey. On Sunday, it's the 70-lap Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante on the 2.786-mile road course at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, and the stakes are high for Tracy, who is leading the championship by 13 points with three races remaining on the schedule.
"The championship is definitely up for grabs in each of these last three races," said Tracy, who is seeking the first driverstitle of his 13-year Champ Car career. "It's at the point where you have to take control of your own destiny and go out there with the intention of winning all three, so that you don't have to concern yourself with what anyone else does."
Thus far, Tracy has recorded six race victories -- three in the United States, two on Canadian soil and one in Mexico. "I'd like to make it at least two race wins in three different countries," said Tracy.
Of the 16 races to date, there have been seven different winners, including Patrick Carpentier, Tracy's PF Racing teammate who had a strong fourth-place finish in Mexico City last year, and Brazils Bruno Junqueira, currently the runner-up in the championship.
"We had a great shot for a podium in Mexico City last year, but we just weren't able to close the gap that separated us from the first three cars," said Carpentier. "This year, the car has been consistently fast on road courses, so I'm really confident we can be right there this time."
Carpentier, who describes the Mexico City road course as "fast, wide and challenging," said the drivers who competed in the inaugural Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante in 2002 were virtually unanimous in their praise for the ultra-modern facilities. The track has a series of tough chicanes, long straights that produce speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour and some decent passing areas, although the inaugural race saw only three lead changes and limited passing.
While Carpentier, who is currently six points out of fourth place in the drivers' standings, is coming off a sixth-place finish in the last race at Miami, Tracy was unable to pad his championship lead at Miami, where contact with another car about halfway through the race, prematurely ended his day. "We were fortunate that we didn't lose more of the first-place margin than we did," Tracy said, referring to the Miami race. "But I know that we simply can't keep handing opportunities to people because sooner or later they're going to capitalize on them."
The Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante is being shown live on The Sports Network at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.