CHAMPCAR/CART: Mid-Ohio: Team Player's Saturday report

Team Player's driver Paul Tracy takes fifth pole of season with quickest lap on Mid-Ohio Road Circuit. Lexington, Ohio, August 9, 2003 Paul Tracy of Team Player's won a career-high fifth pole of the season on Saturday, touring the ...

Team Player's driver Paul Tracy takes fifth pole of season with quickest lap on Mid-Ohio Road Circuit.

Lexington, Ohio, August 9, 2003 Paul Tracy of Team Player's won a career-high fifth pole of the season on Saturday, touring the 2.258-mile Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio road circuit in one minute, 7.058 seconds (121.220 mph), shaving almost two-tenths of a second off his Champ Car World Series provisional pole-winning performance on Friday.

It was the 18th career pole for Tracy tying him with Bobby Rahal for fifth place on the all-time Champ Car list - and his first at Mid-Ohio. Rookie Ryan Hunter-Reay of the United States, joins Tracy on the front row, while Tracy's teammate Patrick Carpentier qualified fifth, the seventh time in the last eight races that he has been in the top six on the starting grid.

With the Mid-Ohio track slicker than it had been for Friday's qualifying, a good number of the drivers waited along pit row through the first 15-20 minutes of the 40-minute final qualifying session, hoping that the track would yield faster times as rubber was laid down. Tracy was one of the last to exit the pits and he wasted little time putting down a quick lap that sent him to the top of the leader board for the second straight day.

"We waited for quite a while because the track was three or four seconds off and we figured there was no point using up our Bridgestones," explained Tracy. "When Team Player's sent me out there, it was the right time, because I did my quick lap on my third lap. When we went out on our second set, we were on a quick lap that I think would have been even faster, but the red flag came out with about a minute to go, and that ended the session."

Tracy lauded the work of the Team Player's crew in putting him on the pole, which brought him an additional point in the standings and moved him within a single point (164-163) of championship leader Bruno Junqueira. The Brazilian driver will start Sunday's physically draining 92-lap race from the sixth spot on the grid.

"We got back-to-back poles and two points in the last two days, and it's great to be able to start closing the gap separating us from first place," said Tracy. "Now it's down to one point and Bruno is starting from the same grid position I started from last week. For the race, hopefully, I'll go into the first corner with the lead and control the pace of the race."

Carpentier, who clocked his fastest lap of 1:07.296 (120.792 mph) on his first set of tires, was bumped from Row 2 when Michel Jourdain registered a fast lap just before the red flag the result of an incident involving Mario Dominguez prematurely ended the session.

"It's a little bit disappointing because I thought that we could be further up the field," said Carpentier. "We ran with used tires this morning and with new ones this afternoon I found that the car was understeering a bit. Starting from fifth means that I will be pushing hard from the get-go and trying to take advantage of any opportunity we can to move up."

Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race on tape delay on The Sports Network at 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Bobby Rahal , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Mario Dominguez , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Michel Jourdain