CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto: Pre-race notes, schedule

WHO'S HOT In Toronto A.J. Allmendinger ( ...

WHO'S HOT

In Toronto A.J. Allmendinger (#7 INDECK Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) is looking to keep his streak alive after winning back-to-back races since taking over his new mount at Forsythe Championship Racing. In Cleveland the American started from the pole position setting a new pole record and drove a clean race to notch his second career win. Toronto is a track that Allmendinger found success on during his time in the Champ Car Atlantic Series, winning from the pole in 2003.

Bruno Junqueira (#2 Hole in the Wall Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) got rid of some of the bad luck that has been plaguing him this season when found his way to the podium for the first time this year in Cleveland, finishing in the second position. In Portland the Brazilian scored his first pole since the 2004 season opener and finished in the fourth position. Junqueira currently sits in the ninth position in the points standing going into Toronto. On the Canadian street course he has qualified in the top three in his last three starts and has one podium finish.

Some may call Andrew Ranger's (#27 Tide/Mi-Jack Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) season thus far a quiet one, but he is having quite a sophomore season in Champ Car. Going into Toronto the young Canadian holds the fourth position in the points standings. This season Ranger has been a man on the move earning a championship point for gaining the most positions in four out of six of this season's races. Thus far in 2006 Ranger has picked up an average of 5.5 positions per event.

Dan Clarke (#14 CTE Racing-HVM Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) logged his third consecutive top-eight run in Cleveland. Going into his final revolution of the Burke Lakefront Airport course the young Brit was holding the third position and was looking to move up to second, before contact with the second-place car relegated him back to a seventh-place finish. Currently Clarke leads the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year battle by three points over Katherine Legge (#20 Bell Micro Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone).

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

2005 Grand Prix of Toronto Champion Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) looks to get the season back on track in Toronto. In last year's event the Brit started the day in the third position and led ten laps before going on to record his first career Champ Car victory.

Paul Tracy (#3 INDECK Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) returns to his hometown as a two-time victor of the Grand Prix of Toronto. The Canadian has 10 top-10 finishes in his 14 Toronto starts.

Fellow Canadian Alex Tagliani (#15 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has been very successful in Toronto, having finished seventh or better in five of his six starts including a pair of podium finishes. His 2001 podium run was the first of his Champ Car career.

Oriol Servia (#6 Bell Micro/Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has three consecutive top-10 finishes in Toronto including a podium finish a year ago. Has never started lower than 11th in any of his five Toronto starts.

In just three starts on the streets of Toronto Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has quite an impressive record. In three starts he has two pole positions and one victory on the course, and has finished in the top-five in each of his three starts.

Cristiano da Matta (#10 RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) returns to the streets of Toronto as a former champion of the event. In 2002 the Brazilian led wire-to-wire, pacing all 112 laps. In five starts da Matta has led 185 laps on the Toronto circuit. Of the drivers competing on the course this weekend, only Paul Tracy has led more.

NOTEBOOK

A.J. Allmendinger became the first American driver since Michael Andretti to win back-to-back Champ Car races when he took victory in Cleveland. Andretti last won consecutive events in 1996 with victories at Road America and Vancouver.

Sebastien Bourdais has scored top-five finishes in each of his first three Toronto events. The only other drivers to earn as many as three straight top-fives in their first three visits to Toronto are Danny Sullivan (1986-90) and Alex Zanardi (1996-98, 2001)

Michael Andretti has seven Champ Car wins in Toronto, matching Rodger Ward's seven Milwaukee wins as the most by any driver on a circuit still on the Champ Car schedule.

The Roshfrans Rookie of the Year battle has been one of the closest on the circuit. Dan Clarke continues to hold the rookie lead with 75 points. Katherine Legge is just three points behind while Jan Heylen's first Champ Car top-five finish moved him into third, seven points behind Clarke.

Paul Tracy is expected to make his 130th consecutive Champ Car start this weekend, a string that will tie him with Mauricio Gugelmin for eighth on the all-time list.

Katherine Legge set a new Champ Car high for best finish by a female driver with a sixth-place finish in Milwaukee. She also became the first female driver ever to lead laps in the 97-year history of the series.

Bruno Junqueira's win in Monterrey last season gave him victories in each of his first five seasons as a Champ Car driver. A win this season would make the Newman/Haas Racing pilot the first driver since Bobby Rahal (1982-87) to earn wins in each of his first six years in the series.

FAST FACTS

MOLSON GRAND PRIX OF TORONTO

WHAT: Molson Grand Prix of Toronto

WHERE: Exhibition Place, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

WHEN: Friday--Sunday, July 7-9

SUPPORT EVENTS: Champ Car Atlantic, Formula Ford 2000, Vintage GT, Drifting, Karting

CHAMP CAR SCHEDULE (All times local): FRIDAY, JULY 7 -- 9:10 - 9:55 a.m., Atlantic practice; 10:15 - 11:30 a.m., Champ Car practice; 1:15 - 1:45, Atlantic qualifying; 2:00 - 3:00 p.m., Champ Car qualifying. SATURDAY, JULY 8 - 9:40--10:10 a.m., Atlantic practice; 10:30--11:30 a.m., Champ Car practice; 1:15 - 1:45, Atlantic qualifying; 2:00 - 3:00 p.m., Champ Car qualifying. SUNDAY, JULY 9 - 8:00 - 8:15 a.m., Atlantic warmup; 8:30 - 9:00 a.m., Champ Car warmup; 10:00 - 11:00 a.m., Atlantic Race; 12:30 p.m., MOLSON GRAND PRIX OF TORONTO

U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE (Eastern Time): SUNDAY, JULY 9 -- Molson Grand Prix of Toronto, 12:30 p.m. CBS Sports (live)

2005 CHAMPION: Justin Wilson
2005 POLESITTER: Sebastien Bourdais

TRACK LAYOUT: 1.755-mile street course
RACE LENGTH: 86 laps (156.195 miles)

TRACK RECORDS: Qualifying (one lap) -- 1999, Gil de Ferran, 57.143 seconds (110.565 mph). Race -- 2000, Michael Andretti, 2:00:02.313 (98.248 mph) based on 112 laps (196.560 miles)

RACE ROUND: 7 of 15 in the 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.

INSTANT REPLAY: Justin Wilson rolled to the first victory of his Champ Car career and the first for Colorado-based RuSPORT last year in Toronto, surviving a wild battle that went a long way toward fueling the rivalry between Paul Tracy and Sebastien Bourdais that festered all the way to the end of the season. Wilson made a strong pass of Oriol Servia in Turn Three with 10 laps to go to earn the lead, then held off Servia and home-country favorite Alex Tagliani to score the win. The first half of the race featured a number of twists and turns, beginning when Bourdais led the field into the pits for the first set of fuel stops. Bourdais led Tracy at that point but the two left the pit lane side-by-side with Tracy closer to the inside wall. Bourdais, fearing a blend-line violation, stayed to the right and had contact with Tracy's front wing, breaking half of it off the car. Bourdais suffered a flat tire in the melee while Tracy not only continued on, he ran faster laps than he previously had turned, and led 22 laps. Disaster struck on the next stop however as an ill-timed caution closed the pits as Tracy was looking for a fuel stop, and the Canadian star coasted to a stop at the end of pit lane with his race over. Servia took over the lead on the restart and held on until Wilson slipped past, and the Brit would roll away from there to take the win.

-ccws

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Bruno Junqueira , Bobby Rahal , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Alex Zanardi , Mauricio Gugelmin , Oriol Servia , Sébastien Bourdais , A.J. Allmendinger , Katherine Legge , Andrew Ranger , Jan Heylen , Cristiano da Matta , Dan Clarke