CHAMPCAR/CART: 2003 Banquet report

INDIANAPOLIS (November 5, 2003) -- With seven victories, six pole positions, and a series-high 658 laps led in the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season, 13-year Champ Car veteran Paul Tracy ( ...

INDIANAPOLIS (November 5, 2003) -- With seven victories, six pole positions, and a series-high 658 laps led in the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season, 13-year Champ Car veteran Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Player's/Forsythe Racing was certainly deserving of the championship title in the most diverse open wheel series on the planet. Last night, the Canadian was honored as the 17th different champion in series history at the 2003 CART Champ Car Awards Celebration in Indian Wells, Calif.

Tracy was presented with the coveted Vanderbilt Cup for winning his first title since beginning his Champ Car career in 1991 with Dale Coyne Racing. Tracy also brought Player's its first title in conjunction with team owner Gerald Forsythe in the longtime Champ Car sponsor's final season.

In addition to a check for $1 million that Tracy received for beating Newman/Haas Racing's Bruno Junqueira (#1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Team Rahal's Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) in the year-end final standings, the Canadian also collected an SVT Mustang Cobra courtesy of Ford.

For the second year in a row Tracy brought home the MCI Most Popular Driver Award which was determined in a vote by racing fans from all over the world. As was the case last year, Tracy donated the $25,000 prize to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which exists to enhance the quality of life for those living with, through, and beyond cancer.

Newman/Haas Racing's newest talent Sebastien Bourdais (#2 Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), who won at Brands Hatch, EuroSpeedway and Cleveland, collected the Jim Trueman Memorial Trophy for CART Champ Car Rookie of the Year, as well as the new Bridgestone "Grip on the Season" award for the driver who posted the total fastest race laps (based on combined time) in all 18 races of the year.

The young Frenchman also was named winner of the Greg Moore Legacy Award, recognizing the driver who most typifies the distinctive combination of outstanding on-track talent and dynamic personality of the former Indy Lights champion and rising Champ Car star who lost his life in 1999.

Last season's Rookie of the Year Mario Dominguez (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Herdez Competition took home the Bosch Most Improved Driver Award, while Lola chairman Martin Birrane accepted the Constructor's Championship trophy for the second year in a row.

Finally, on the basis of finishes by Tracy, Player's teammate Patrick Carpentier (#32 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Alex Tagliani (#33 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Rocketsports Racing, Canada became the third country to win the Nations Cup Award (after four time winners USA and Brazil).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Mario Dominguez , Sébastien Bourdais , Gerald Forsythe , Martin Birrane , Greg Moore , Dale Coyne , Michel Jourdain