CHAMPCAR/CART: Mid-Ohio: Team Players race report

One For The Record Books: Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier deliver Team Player's its first-ever 1-2 finish in Champ Car Series Lexington, Ohio, August 10, 2003 Team Player's recorded its first-ever 1-2 finish in the Champ Car series on Sunday,...

One For The Record Books: Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier deliver Team Player's its first-ever 1-2 finish in Champ Car Series

Lexington, Ohio, August 10, 2003 Team Player's recorded its first-ever 1-2 finish in the Champ Car series on Sunday, as championship leader Paul Tracy and his teammate Patrick Carpentier crossed the finish line in that order at the 92-lap Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio.

The victory by Tracy was his sixth of the season three of them from the pole and 25th of his career. His first career triumph at Mid-Ohio, and the 23 points he compiled during the race weekend, also vaulted him back into the lead in the drivers' championship by 20 points (184-164) over Brazil's Bruno Junqueira. Knocked off the track by contact with Oriol Servia early in the race, Junqueira managed to return but finished 13th, just out of the points. American rookie Ryan Hunter-Reay took third place for his first career podium.

"A fantastic and historic day for Team Player's," said Tracy, who led every lap, with the exception of those led by drivers who were off-sequence for pitting, and who was only seriously threatened by Carpentier, who had closed within seven-tenths of a second before the two drivers made their final pit stop. "Finishing 1-2 is just a really great feeling, especially heading to Montreal for the next race, where we'll try to go 3-for-3 in Canada."

Tracy's main concern heading into Sunday's race on the tight, technically and physically challenging circuit was to get through the first turn without incident and then take control of the race. That is precisely what he accomplished.

"It was an extremely tough race," conceded Tracy. "I was going as quick as I could in mid-stint and Patrick just kept catching up to me. Fortunately, we were able to turn it up a bit and build a lead after the last pit because Patrick really had a fast car out there. The thing I was most concerned about during the race was making sure that I didn't get tangled up with back markers. I lost about 5 or 6 seconds at one point behind Tiago (Monteiro) and that cut into the lead, but other than that everything went absolutely perfect. Team Player's gave me a terrific car and the pit stops were flawless."

Carpentier made it to the Mid-Ohio podium for the third straight year he finished third in 2001 and won from the pole here last year, a victory that prompted Carpentier to do a post-win "streak" on the track, clad only in boxer shorts made from a checkered-flag replica.

"What a great race car Team Player's gave me today," said Carpentier. "I was going to give it everything I had, lap by lap, and I told myself if I didn't finish, I didn't finish, that's all there was to it. The guys in the pits said to me, 'Give us one spot on the track and we'll give you some spots in your pits stops.' And that's what happened. I was able to get by Bourdais and then the pit crew gave me a really fast stop and I was able to get around two drivers to get into second place. I'm happy about the second-place podium, but I was hoping to win, so that I could run the track naked like I did after my win here last year."

Carpentier, fifth in the drivers' standings with 114 points, had started fifth and passed Bourdais after the first round of out stops. On the second pit stop, Carpentier muscled his way in front of Hunter-Reay and Michel Jourdain and pressured Tracy for the rest of the race.

Following the post race ceremonies Carpentier also pressured Tracy into joining him for a post race "de-brief" (victory lap around the paddock with only a checkered flag and a smile) with the entire Team Player's crew.

Team Player's has a week off to savour its double podium before competing in front of a home crowd in Montreal on August 24, the last of three Canadian stops on the Champ Car World Series schedule.

-tp-

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