TRACY CONTINUES MASTERY OF MILWAUKEE MILE
Led 192 Laps Enroute To Fourth Win At America's Legendary Oval
MILWAUKEE (June 4, 2005) -- Paul Tracy likes The Milwaukee Mile. On Saturday afternoon, the Champ Car World Series veteran was stronger than his competition in every category, and convincingly won the Time Warner Cable Road Runner 225 presented by U.S. Bank at the historic speedway.
"The car was great all weekend and I knew we would be in good shape," Tracy explained during an interview in the newly-christened Milton Peck Media Center at The Milwaukee Mile. "My car was good in traffic and we were able to cruise on the way."
The win was the fourth on the legendary oval, and the most dominant for the Toronto native, who announced his initial foray into Champ Car racing at The Milwaukee Mile in 1991. Tracy led 192 laps. His other wins at America's Legendary Oval came in 1995, 1999 and 2002.
As an indication of his domination, a brazen outside pass on polesitter Jimmy Vasser on an early race restart set the tone. Vasser was making his 200th consecutive Champ Car start in front of a crowd of 26,012 fans.
Green-flag pit stops did cause Tracy to lose his lead momentarily on two occasions, but the 2003 Champ Car World Series titleholder easily moved back in front as the field cycled through pit stops. Tracy's Forsythe Championship Racing team redeemed themselves, as Tracy left the pits for the final time with a four-second gain on the field after Allmendinger had whittled away Tracy's margin to .25 seconds.
Second-year driver A.J. Allmendinger emerged as the only challenger, closing within a second per lap of Tracy late in the event, but a slow final pit stop left the California phenom several seconds behind.
The lead that the Forsythe team fashioned for Tracy vanished in one flick of starter J.D. Wilbur's hand however, as a yellow flag for debris bunched the field back up on Lap 210.
Champ Car Race Control had already announced that the event would be run under a time limit, meaning that the field had little more than five minutes to run the last 15 laps, of which all but 4 were completed.
Oriol Servia rallied to finish third, his second career Milwaukee podium finish, in a one-off with Newman-Haas Racing.
"We had a very good car and I'm happy I was able to deliver," Servia said. "The team is happy and I want to be back in the car...it is a really good car."
The Spaniard was brought in this week as a replacement driver for injured Bruno Junqueira.
Allmendinger's RuSPORT Racing teammate Justin Wilson battled the flat mile oval and lapped traffic to finish fourth.
"We got really held up by slower traffic and it definitely cost us the podium," the 6' 4" Brit explained. "I'm happy we got another top finish but frustrated that it could have been better."
Vasser rallied to finish fifth after working through handling issues.
"We fought hard all race, but I struggled with a loose car, especially in traffic," the team owner-driver reflected. "We just missed by a little getting the right amount of downforce for the conditions. A fifth place finish in the race is okay, but it is not what we wanted."
The race was slowed three times by the caution flag for 30 laps, with the most serious incident involving defending Time Warner Cable Road Runner 225 presented by U.S. Bank race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay. The 24 year-old Floridian backed his Rocketsports Racing Lola into the turn two wall on lap 6, and was transported to a local hospital for observation.
Amazingly, Tracy has now won a Champ Car race in the last 10 straight seasons, and a total of 29 series races, good enough for seventh all-time in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.