CHAMPCAR/CART: Tracy zips around Denver for provisional pole

CHAMPCAR/CART: Tracy zips around Denver for provisional pole

After finishing second in the two practice sessions on Friday, Paul Tracy laid down the fastest lap on the 1.657-mile temporary street course in Denver, Colorado. His time of 59.759 seconds gave the Canadian sole possession of the under-one minute...

After finishing second in the two practice sessions on Friday, Paul Tracy laid down the fastest lap on the 1.657-mile temporary street course in Denver, Colorado. His time of 59.759 seconds gave the Canadian sole possession of the under-one minute club. Tracy set a new qualifying record, besting Sebastien Bourdais' 2004 time by 0.183-seconds.

Paul Tracy.
Photo by Todd Corzett.
"It was a good run," said Tracy. "Really, the first qualifying set of tires, I got a good first lap."

And indeed, the Canadian racer did get a good lap, as he zipped his Forsythe Racing Lola around the streets of Denver at 99.821 miles per hour to earn the provisional pole and along with a guaranteed front row starting position, one precious bonus point in the battle for this year's crown.

Setting his first sub-minute lap on the fifth tour around the Denver track, Tracy upped the ante on his seventh lap and "was able to improve on it all the way around the track. I told my engineer Eric (Zeto), 'That was a really good lap; I pretty much got everything right without really, any small mistakes.' I had a good lap going and the red came out at the end. We were happy to see that," he grinned.

Tracy's teammate Mario Dominguez slotted second in today's qualifying runs. Dominguez, fastest in the second practice session missed the top slot by 0.454-seconds with a time clocked at 1:00.213 (99.068 mph).

"I'm very happy for the team," Tracy remarked. "It's our first 1-2 this year." The second place result for Mexican Dominguez wasn't as easy as it looked as he "struggled a lot with the car in some corners than I got a little traffic in the end." Like Tracy, he put his best lap in with his first set of tires in the 15-lap session.

Defending series and race champion, current points leader Bourdais' best time was 1:00.347 (98.848 mph), giving the Frenchman the third quickest time in the first round of qualifying for Sunday's race. The Newman/Haas driver was quick in first practice had "a very strong baseline from last year and you jut try to optimize the mechanical grip you've got because you know you're going to lose a bit in downforce."

In the RuSPORT team's home race, A.J. Allmendinger logged the fourth best speed this afternoon at 60.612 seconds (98.416mph) and was "pleased with the progrress we made from this morning's practice. We're stuggling with some entry speed and understeer but I'm confident we can build on this result for tomorrow."

Teammate Justin Wilson was fifth at 60.697 seconds (98.278mph). The lanky Briton thought the result was "okay, not too bad overall. A.J. and I are competitive and we definitely have something solid to work with here. We just need to polish it up a bit overnight."

Rocketsports rookie Timo Glock continued to put up good numbers with his sixth place showing at 60.957 seconds (97.859mph). The German's first trip to Denver had him perplexed a bit. "It's a real funny track," Glock admitted. "There is little grip and it feels like you are driving on a wet track."

During morning practice Glock felt "like I was driving on ice, but then I found a rhythm and a good line to drive around this course, so I am feeling comfortable."

Another rookie, Bjorn Wirdheim took seventh for HVM, Rodolfo Lavin was eighth in the twin HVM Lola while NHR's Oriol Servia lost some speed from the morning and ended up ninth. 2002 CART champ Cristiano da Matta rounded out the top ten for his PKV Racing team.

Final qualifying for Sunday's Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver presented by PacifiCare takes place tomorrow afternoon between 2-3PM Rocky Mountain Time. Tracy is in the catbird seat but he's got 17 drivers trying to take pole position away.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Mario Dominguez , Sébastien Bourdais , A.J. Allmendinger , Rodolfo Lavin , Bjorn Wirdheim , Timo Glock , Cristiano da Matta