CHAMPCAR/CART: Australia's ambassador Tracy chases Canadian triple crown

The International Ambassador of October's Lexmark Indy 300, Paul Tracy, is aiming to become the first driver to ever capture the Canadian triple crown this weekend in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. The ...

The International Ambassador of October's Lexmark Indy 300, Paul Tracy, is aiming to become the first driver to ever capture the Canadian triple crown this weekend in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.

The Canadian driver could also cement his status as the nation's most popular driver with victory in Sunday's Molson Indy Montreal and forge further ahead in the series standings.

Tracy (Team Player's) snared the first two jewels of the triple crown with convincing wins in Toronto and Vancouver, leading 189 of the 212 laps run in the two races. Montreal now looms for its second year after debuting in 2002 to a raucous Canadian crowd. It will be round 14 of the 19 round Champ Car World Series.

The Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast from October 23 to 26 will be round 18.

The 34-year-old reassumed the series points lead with a strong performance in the previous round at Mid-Ohio, earning the maximum 23 championship points and vaulting back into the top spot in the title hunt for the third time this season.

Looking to take command in his quest for his first series championship, Tracy carries a 20-point lead over Brazilian Bruno Junqueira (Newman/Haas Racing) into the weekend with just six races remaining.

"Sweeping all three races in Canada would be absolutely great. It's definitely the most immediate goal," said Tracy.

"Finishing one-two in consecutive races is certainly a tough thing to do, but we had the fastest cars at Mid-Ohio and if we can be quick right from the get-go in Montreal, we might be able to use the same formula that was so successful in Mid-Ohio.

"As we've seen in the last two races, momentum in the battle for the championship can shift very quickly. As the races dwindle down to only a few, you'd like to be in a position where you can control your own destiny."

Junqueira saw his run of four consecutive podium finishes stall at Mid-Ohio after a 13th place finish, making his stand atop the series standings a short one. The result ended a streak for Junqueira in which he had placed in the top five in every race that he had finished this year.

We lost the lead at the last race and need to make up the 20-point gap that we now have," said Junqueira.

"I think, for sure, all of the Canadian drivers will be strong in Montreal - especially Paul Tracy. I think also that Sebastien, my teammate will be strong because I'm sure Newman/Haas Racing will give both of us good cars but I hope I will be in front of all of them."

Junqueira's stablemate Sebastien Bourdais has etched his name in the Champ Car record books during the past five-race stretch as he makes a late-season run at the title.

The 24-year-old Frenchman's win in Cleveland kicked off a streak of five consecutive top-five finishes, making him the only rookie in series history to score five straight top-fives. He earned 73 points in the five-race stretch, second only to Tracy's 85 and holds a commanding 53-point lead in the Rookie-of-the-Year standings.

Mexican Michel Jourdain Jr. (Team Rahal) kept himself in the championship chase with a fourth-place at Mid-Ohio and needs a win to make up ground on Tracy and Junqueira.

Jourdain, who currently sits third in the series standings, is still on pace to have his best ever Champ Car season and has the honour of leading the number of laps completed through this season (1,457 of 1,489).

"We need points and we need a lot of points," said Jourdain. "We didn't dig ourselves this hole in a single week and we aren't going to climb out of it in a single week either."

"I have always maintained that consistency wins championships, but when someone is consistently winning you are going to fall behind, even if you have a lot of podium results."

"There are still six races to go and the challenge before us is to return to the level we were at in May and early June. I know we are capable of performing at that level, now we just have to do it."

The 14th round of the Champ Car World Series -- the Molson Indy Montreal in Canada will be held this Sunday August 24, while the Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast will be held from October 23-26. Lexmark is a global technology leader dedicated solely to printing solutions.

Network Ten will telecast the race from Lexington on Monday August 25 (check local guides for details).

-li-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy , Sébastien Bourdais , Michel Jourdain