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

WHO'S HOT Not only did Paul Tracy ( ...

WHO'S HOT

Not only did Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) leave Cleveland with his 30th career victory, but he also left on top of the Champ Car series point standings. Starting from the pole position, Tracy could have run away with the event, but pit strategy came into play. Tracy led early on, racking up 46 total laps led, but the last six were most crucial as a lightening quick pit stop gave him the lead, with time running out. Coming back to his home track, Tracy has two wins to his credit and has paced a total of 170 laps at the circuit. In thirteen appearances in the Molson Indy Toronto Tracy has qualified and finished outside of the top-ten only three times.

In Cleveland, 2004 Roshfrans Rookie of the Year A.J. Allmendinger (#10 RuSport Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) scored his second podium finish of the season and tied his best career finish of second. In the process he led 19 laps around the Cleveland Circuit. Allmendinger also added on to his steak of not finishing outside of the top-ten yet this season, vaulting himself into third in the point standings. At the Toronto circuit Allmendinger won from the pole in 2003 while running in the Toyota Atlantic series.

With time running out in the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland, Oriol Servia (#2 Pacificare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) came close to stealing second place away from Allmendinger, but came up a little short. When the checkers flew Servia finished third and brought home his second podium and his third top-ten finish in 2005. In Toronto Servia has recorded two top-ten finishes, the best being fifth in 2003.

Alex Tagliani (#15 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) scored his second top-five finish in Cleveland coming home a solid fourth. The Canadian used intelligently designed pit strategy to lead five laps around the Cleveland Circuit, before pitting and rejoining the field in fourth place. Returning to his homeland, Tagliani has only placed outside of the top-ten once in Toronto, with a best finish of second coming in 2001.

Canadian Andrew Ranger (#27 Mi-Jack/Tide Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) retook the lead in the Roshfrans Rookie of the year points by having another top-ten finish in The Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland. In his previous appearance at Toronto in Toyota Atlantic competition last year, Ranger came home a solid second.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

2004 Champ Car Series Champion Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonalds Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) took the pole position for the Molson Indy Toronto last year, before leading 75 laps in the event, on his way to victory. In his first start at Toronto in 2003, Bourdais walked away with a 4th place finish.

The last time Cristiano da Matta (#21 Bell Micro Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) took to the track in Toronto, he started in the number one position, led all 112 laps, taking the victory. In 2000 he recorded his first Toronto podium when he finished 2nd and led 73 laps. After disappointment in Cleveland where it looked like da Matta may deliver back-to-back wins, he looks to regain his momentum on a track he has dominated before.

1996 Series Champion Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream/PKV/ Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) returns to Toronto after a runner-up finish last year and leading five laps in the event. In Toronto, Vasser has six top-ten qualifying efforts and seven top-ten finishes in thirteen starts on the street course.

DID YOU KNOW

Toronto was named for the Huron Indian word for 'meeting place'. And for good reason -- the area was used in this manner for centuries by people of the First Nations, and later by French traders, thanks to its naturally protected harbor. In 1793, Lieutenant-Colonel John Graves Simcoe established a military garrison and named the town York in honor of the Duke of York of the time. It was renamed Toronto when the city was incorporated in 1834. In 1867 Canada was born, and Toronto became the capital of the newly created province of Ontario. The Exhibition Place which makes up part of the race course may be best known as the site of Canadian National Exhibition (CNE). This lakefront area has hosted major exhibitions since the construction of the Crystal Palace exhibition hall in 1858. That landmark burned down soon after, but new buildings were built in 1878 to host the Toronto Industrial Exhibition, forerunner of the CNE. The "Ex" is still the world's largest annual exhibition. In1968, the initial proposal to stage a world-class auto race in downtown Toronto was made, but the idea took a very long time to bring to fruition. Auto racing through the streets of Exhibition Place in Toronto did not become a reality until 1986. The Molson Indy Toronto will celebrate its 20th Running in 2005 and has become one of the country's premier annual sporting events.

NOTEWORTHY

Last week, Paul Tracy broke the tie he had for seventh place on the all-time career Champ Car victory list, after taking his 30th win. He was tied with Rick Mears for seventh with 29. Al Unser Jr. is sixth on the list with 31 victories.

Paul Tracy's Cleveland Victory was also his 10th victory from the pole in his career, making him the seventh driver in series history to achieve that feat as well.

Tracy's podium finish in Cleveland was the 66th of his Champ Car career, giving him sole possession of 10th place on the all-time Champ Car list of podium finishes.

The last three Toronto events have been won from the pole position, with Cristiano da Matta (2002), Paul Tracy (2003) and Sebastien Bourdais(2004), seizing the top prize.

Turn three is the most treacherous turn in Toronto. It has accounted for approximately 30 incidents (two of which happened under practice and qualifying conditions) in 19 years. There has been an incident in the turn 12 out of the 19 years Champ Car has raced there (the races with no incidents in that turn include: 1998, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1988, 1987 and 1986). In 2001 turn three was really calamity corner, in that it was responsible for 8 of the 9 incidents in that event. Also in 2003 all of the 4 incidents that year happened in turn three.

This season has a Canadian flavor in the Champ Car World Series as Paul Tracy leads the point standings, Andrew Ranger leads the Roshfrans Rookie of the year battle, and Canada is currently leading the Nation's Cup standings.

BY THE NUMBERS

1834 -- The year that Toronto had its name changed from York. Could you imagine the Molson Indy York? 1986- The first year a Champ Car Race was ran on the Streets of Toronto. 35- The percentage of races in Toronto in which Michael Andretti has been the winner (7 victories in 20 years). 11- The number of turns on the Toronto course. 5 -- Toronto is North America's 5th largest city falling behind Mexico City, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. 4.2 -- The number of millions of people that call Toronto home. 4- How many racers have won from the pole position in the Molson Indy Toronto (Michael Andretti, Cristiano da Matta, Paul Tracy, and Sebastien Bourdais). 2.824 km (1.755 mi) - The length of the Toronto Street Circuit.

FAST FACTS

WHAT: Molson Indy Toronto

WHERE:  Exhibition Place, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

WHEN: Friday -- Sunday, July 8-10

SUPPORT EVENTS: Toyota Atlantic Championship, Trans-Am, Honda/Michelin Challenge Series, CASCAR, Formula Drift

CHAMP CAR SCHEDULE (All times local):

FRIDAY, JULY 8
Trans-Am practice, 8:00 -- 8:30 a.m.
Champ Car practice, 10:15 -- 11:30 a.m.
Atlantic practice, 11:45 a.m. -- 12:15 p.m.
Trans-Am practice, 12:30 -- 1:00 p.m.
Champ Car qualifying, 2:00 -- 3:00 p.m.
Atlantic qualifying, 3:15 -- 3:45 p.m.
Trans-Am qualifying, 4:00 -- 4:30 p.m.

SATURDAY, JULY 9
Trans-Am practice, 8:00 -- 8:15 a.m.
Atlantic practice, 8:30 -- 9:00 a.m.
Champ Car practice, 10:30 -- 11:30 a.m.
Atlantic qualifying, 12:30 -- 1:00 p.m.
Champ Car qualifying, 1:45 -- 2:45 p.m.
Trans-Am race, 3:00 -- 4:15 p.m.

SUNDAY, JULY 10
Atlantic warmup, 8:00 -- 8:15 a.m.
Champ Car warmup, 9:00 -- 9:30 a.m.
Atlantic race, 10:00 -- 11:00 a.m.
MOLSON INDY TORONTO, 1:00 p.m.

U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE: SUNDAY, JULY 10 -- CBS Sports, Molson Indy Toronto, 1 p.m. Eastern Time (LIVE)

2004 CHAMPION:  Sebastien Bourdais

2004 POLESITTER: Sebastien Bourdais
TRACK LAYOUT:  1.755-mile street course

RACE LENGTH: 88 laps, 154.440 miles

TRACK RECORDS:

Qualifying (one lap) -- 1999, Gil de Ferran, 110.565 mph (57.143 seconds).

Race -- 2000, Michael Andretti, 98.248 mph (2:00:02.313), based on 112 laps (196.560 miles).

RACE ROUND: 6 of 14 in the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.

CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES POINTS LEADERS: 1, Paul Tracy, Forsythe Championship Racing, 128; 2, Sebastien Bourdais, Newman/Haas Racing, 127; 3, A.J. Allmendinger, RuSPORT, 102; 4, Justin Wilson, RuSPORT, 95; 5, Jimmy Vasser, PKV Racing, 82.

NEXT EVENT: July 17, West Edmonton Mall Champ Car Grand Prix of Edmonton, Finning International Speedway, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

-ccws-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Al Unser Jr. , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Jimmy Vasser , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Rick Mears , Sébastien Bourdais , A.J. Allmendinger , Andrew Ranger , Cristiano da Matta