CHAMPCAR/CART: Tracy lands the pole in Cleveland

CHAMPCAR/CART: Tracy lands the pole in Cleveland

Paul Tracy flew around the 2.106-mile Burke Lakefront Airport circuit to land the pole position for Sunday's Champ Car World Series race with a time of 57.419 (132.040 mph). "Feels good, thought I would get best on the Cleveland track," expressed...

Paul Tracy flew around the 2.106-mile Burke Lakefront Airport circuit to land the pole position for Sunday's Champ Car World Series race with a time of 57.419 (132.040 mph). "Feels good, thought I would get best on the Cleveland track," expressed Tracy.

Paul Tracy.
Photo by Bridgestone - Dan Boyd.
The Forsythe Championship Racing driver had high hopes coming into this weekend's race, Tracy bested the provisional pole winner Cristiano da Matta by slightly over the margin that da Matta held on him yesterday. Today the difference was 0.005-seconds.

"Had to do two fast laps and had four quick laps in a row," remarked Tracy. "I am very satisfied, the first three laps were good enough for the front row."

The Canadian took with him one bonus point for taking the best time in Saturday's qualifying session. PKV Racing's da Matta garnered the bonus yesterday and had already secured a front row start. His time of 57.424 (132.028 mph) today netted him second fastest -- a full second quicker than yesterday's time.

"Good session today," said the Brazilian and past series champion. "There were a lot of cars on the track so I don't think I got everything out of the car. Very happy to know that last weekend wasn't a fluke, should be a close race tomorrow."

Joining the two past champions on the podium was the defending title holder Sebastien Bourdais. The Newman/Haas Racing driver was clocked at 57.559 (131.719 mph) today and improved his position from fouth slot yesterday to third today.

"Good to be here -- had a bit of a struggle but now have a happy balance," commented the Frenchman. "It was a tough choice to either stay out or wait, too many cars on the track -- a repleat of yesterday. I need to try to pass Paul (Tracy) tomorrow."

Rookie Andrew Ranger came back from a disappointing 13th on Friday to grab the fourth starting position with a time of 57.801. "We're definitely in better shape than this morning and yesterday, we have made quite a few improvements to the car which is nice to see," said the Mi-Jack Conquest Racing rookie.

"The driving was cool, the car was perfect. I know I still have to work on some understeer. Overall the team did a good job for qualifying, it's my best qualifying in Champ Car -- I start 4th tomorrow," added Ranger. "I look forward to a good race."

Fifth on the grid belongs to Alex Tagliani who repeated his performance from the first day of qualifying. The French-Canadian feels that Team Australia has a good chance for a podium finish tomorrow. "I think we had a really good car and I am extremely happy about that."

However, the French-Canadian was a tad disappointed when the red flag ended the session early on his flying lap "we were in the wrong place at the wrong time at the finish when the red flag came out -- I was on a flier which probably would have put me P2."

Oriol Servia moved his Newman/Haas Racing Lola into sixth fastest followed by Forsythe Racing's Mario Dominguez who slid from third on Friday's provisional grid to seventh.

PKV Racing's co-owner and veteran driver Jimmy Vasser will start from eighth ahead of RuSPORT's A.J. Allmendinger and Tarso Marques of the Dale Coyne Racing stables to round out the top ten for Sunday's race.

There was one major incident in today's qualifying: RuSPORT's Allmendinger had a hard crash at Turn 8 in the tire wall. He was checked at the track's medical center before beng transported to MetroHealth Medical Center. The young racer was okay but did complain of headaches. He will only be there for a CT Scan before his release. Allmendinger will be checked by the Champ Car medical team in the morning to determine if he can race which is a standard procedure.

The field will take the green flag at 2:00 p.m. (EDT) Sunday.

Allmendinger cleared to drive

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Tarso Marques , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Mario Dominguez , Sébastien Bourdais , A.J. Allmendinger , Andrew Ranger , Dale Coyne
Teams Conquest Racing , Dale Coyne Racing