Hunter-Reay wins wet 'n' wild race, Tracy clinches emotional championship. Rookie driver Ryan Hunter-Reay dodged the chaos and utilized a superior pit strategy to collect his first victory today in Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series...
Hunter-Reay wins wet 'n' wild race, Tracy clinches emotional championship.
Rookie driver Ryan Hunter-Reay dodged the chaos and utilized a superior pit strategy to collect his first victory today in Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Meanwhile, Paul Tracy recovered after being involved in two race incidents to finish 13th - but it was enough to allow the Canadian to claim his first championship after 13 years in the series.
The race began in overcast conditions, then was red-flagged 40 minutes for a rain and hail storm. It resumed in wet conditions, with the circuit slowly drying. Hunter-Reay was among a few drivers who made their final pit stop on lap 30 of what was shortened to a 47-lap event. It proved pivotal when other front-runners had to stop later, with Hunter-Reay leading the final 15 laps to the checkered flag. Afterward, he thanked Bridgestone for the standout performance of its dry- and wet-condition tires on a treacherous afternoon.
"The Bridgestone tires were great," Hunter-Reay said. "I was actually a little surprised how good the tires were out there. In the rain they were great, and then back to dries on a drying track, it was excellent. I have all the faith in the world in those tires."
Tracy persevered to clinch the title. Tears streamed down his cheeks as he accepted the Vanderbilt Cup in pit lane, proudly wearing a Bridgestone cap. He, too, praised the official tire supplier of the Champ Car World Series.
"I've been involved with Bridgestone/Firestone since 1998," Tracy said, "and it's such a great company to work for and a great supporter of Champ Car racing. With no traction control on the cars this season, it puts it more in the driver's hands. The engine is very difficult to drive because it's very torquey and has a lot of wheel spin inherently in the car. I've been able to figure out how to manage the tires and manage our sets throughout the weekend. The job that Bridgestone does and the quality of the product that they bring is second to none."
Quote from Joe Barbieri, Project Supervisor, Bridgestone Motorsport: "Today's varying conditions allowed both the drivers' ability and the range of Bridgestone tires to shine through. Both were tested under wet and drying conditions, and as Ryan said, the Bridgestone tires performed extremely well no matter the circumstances. Hats off to Ryan and American Spirit Team Johannson, especially since they battled some trying times during the weekend. Congratulations also to Paul Tracy and PF Racing for their tenacity shown today and the tremendous season they've put together. Paul's praise for Bridgestone makes us feel like an important contributor to a well-earned championship."
Race temperatures ranged from 95 to 75 degrees track and from 80 to 75 degrees ambient (F).
Race temperatures ranged from 35 to 24 degrees track and from 27 to 24 degrees ambient (C).