<B>Paul Tracy</B>, <B>Michel Jourdain Jr</B> and <B>Bruno Junqueira</B> Part 1 of 2. [Due to technical problems we join the press conference approximately five minutes in. There is also one interruption...
<B>Paul Tracy</B>, <B>Michel Jourdain Jr</B> and <B>Bruno Junqueira</B>
Part 1 of 2.
[Due to technical problems we join the press conference approximately five minutes in. There is also one interruption midway through the press conference. CART Champ Car apologizes for any inconvenience.]
<B>Michel Jourdain Jr</B>: Paul was so, so fast right away, he was so dominant. It was all we could do just to try to lose the least amount of points to him. I'm very happy that we did. Bruno was pretty fast all day long, too. He and I battled after pit stops all day. It happened the same with Patrick. I would come out in front of him in the pits every time. He would catch me, then I would lose him again. I am very happy with the last pit stop, my guys did a fantastic job with the last pit stop.
So I'm very happy, you know. I mean, is very sad to keep losing points to Paul, but we were happy to get second place. I'm very happy for him, you know, to win in his hometown, for him, for Player's, for everybody. Just a great day. It's their last year in racing, so I'm very happy for him and for the whole Team Player's. And hopefully I get this feeling someday to win in Mexico for me, my family, for Gigante, for the whole crowd. The whole crowd is going crazy out here. I'm very happy for Toronto and Canada.
Eric Mauk: That late yellow came out. Big lead suddenly erased. All of a sudden you had Tracy in your sights. Did you think you had anything for him at all in that last restart?
<B>Michel Jourdain Jr</B>: No. I mean, when somebody improves 35 seconds on everybody else, maybe it's even worse to have him on your sight, because you know you're going to lose him again. So, I mean, I was trying really hard. I never really lost him. But, you know, it was just like running as fast as possible. I mean, I just knew, I could see he's always very good here. You know, he was very fast all weekend. The team, he seems been great all year long. But us, sometimes we're faster, sometimes he's faster. Today was his day, so it's good that we took second. The last few races, we've had a better car than (inaudible) and we've we haven't been able to get all those points. I'm very happy, today we really needed these points and I'm glad we got them.
Eric Mauk: Congratulations, nice run. The champion of the Molson Indy Toronto is Paul Tracy, driver of the #3 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone. Paul takes his fourth win of the year, the 23rd of his career, moving him into fifth place on the all-time CART victory list. Paul led all 112 laps in the win and became the first Player's-sponsored driver to win a top tier auto race on Canadian soil. Paul, how much fun was that?
<B>Paul Tracy</B>: It was unbelievable. The car was just perfect today, and I can't thank my sponsors enough and the job that they've done for me. Player's/Forsythe Racing has given me an awesome opportunity. It's sad that it's their last year in racing. You know, it was just a perfect day. I was very motivated coming into this race. We wanted to win this race for Player's. This is the biggest race of the year for them. You know, we qualified on the pole. And then when I heard what Junqueira said, that he was going to make me crack, that kind of pissed me off a little bit yesterday. I said, "I'm going to show him crack. He's going to look at my ass crack all day."
<B>Michel Jourdain Jr</B>: I heard you say the weather was going to be perfect today, too.
<B>Bruno Junqueira</B>: I said it's there's going to be sun today. It's just because last time, you crack. Because there are no hills here. You are not going to pass on the hills.
<B>Paul Tracy</B>: Yeah. No, it's a great day for the whole team. I can't be happier. It hasn't really sunk in yet. I said on the podium, the race in Toronto has always been the biggest win of my career. This is the most important race for me in the world. To come back 10 years later and win it again with a Canadian sponsor, Canadian team, a lot of Canadian guys on the team, it's probably the defining moment of my career.
Eric Mauk: After 21 laps, you got an 11-second lead. After 40 laps, it's 20. You're putting a second a lap on the field. It gets up to 30, 35. When do you decide that enough is enough?
<B>Paul Tracy</B>: The team didn't really try to slow me down because I was just in a zone today. The car was not perfect, it had a lot of understeer, but it was, you know, good enough that I was able to just to consistently run the same lap time every time, run a 60.5 and 60.6 every single lap for 20 laps. We came up on some traffic and everybody was very fair. I didn't lose any time in traffic. You know, I was able to pull out a little bit more. So, you know, it was just one of those days where everything was perfect. You know, the physical effort was much less than I've had the last few races. I mean, the last few races have been physically very tough, when you're fighting for second, third. Today it just came so easily. It's just one of those days where everything was right for me.
Eric Mauk: That having been said, a big lead, traffic getting out of your way, things are flowing just the way you want them to. Yellow flag, all that is gone. What goes through your mind?
<B>Paul Tracy</B>: I'm a little bit disappointed with that flag because when I got down to the corner, the car was all the way in the runoff. I guess they threw a little NASCAR yellow to tighten it up (laughter).
Eric Mauk: Before we take questions for the audience, we'll go over the top five in our championship point standings. After 10 races, Paul Tracy is our leader with 139 points, Bruno second with 124, Michel third with 113, Patrick Carpentier holds down the fourth spot with 88, and rookie Sebastien Bourdais is fifth with 86. Also today's attendance was 73,255, up from a year ago, giving us a three-day total of 167,352. We'd like to take questions from the media.
Q: Paul, can you remember when you've had such a dominant car?
<B>Paul Tracy</B>: No. I mean, this has been the most dominant race of my career. And, you know, I want to make a comment on the attendance. I'm really happy that a lot of fans came from the States to watch the race. Molson was a little worried a month ago. There was a big SARS thing here. The ticket sales were down significantly. I came up and did a lot of promotion for the race. The Molson people really pushed the race. Player's have been pushing the race. To have the attendance be up, because I knew the ticket sales were down up until a week ago, and the weather wasn't very good, it's great that, you know, people came out to watch the race and the attendance was up and I was able to win the race for the Canadian fans.
Q: Paul, you had a pretty much flawless race, except one time, getting into three. Can you just recall that and tell us what went through your mind.
<B>Paul Tracy</B>: I locked the rear brakes and it stalled the engine. The car wouldn't start again. It was just kind of locked up. I was like, "Oh, I'm not going to make the turn." I was going to go down the runoff, but I went straight for the tire barrier. All of a sudden I got the thing to start again and it turned. So it was a pretty close call. That was the only incident I had. I just kind of miss-timed the downshift and a throttle blip. It killed the engine and locked the rear brakes at the same time. I thought I was going to end up in the tire barrier.
Q: You said had you no problem with the back markers. There was one lap where you lost a lot of time. Was it behind Geoff Boss you were trying to get past?
<B>Paul Tracy</B>: There was one time where there were three or four cars, and Geoff Boss was in the middle of all of them. He was trying to get out of the way of everybody. Right at the time he got out of the way, I think we got into a section of corners where I got held up for a couple of corners. But, you know, he was having a bad day today. Every time he ever saw me, he got way out of the way, into the marbles. He was trying to do everything he could. But, you know, in some situations, you know, you go off the racing line, I mean, it's hard just to get around the track like that.
Q: Following up on the marbles question. No tire war going on this year, I was surprised at the amount of marbling on that track today.
<B>Paul Tracy</B>: Well, there's always a lot of marbles at this track because it's a track that uses the tire pretty hard. This was a softer street course tire than we've had. It was a good tire. The times were good. The car was consistent all day. But, you know, if you look at years past, there's always marbles down the straightaway. There's been other times where they've had to take a sweeper out on the track and clean it up, it gets so bad.