CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Bridgestone Saturday report

Tracy Is 1st Repeat Bridgestone Pole Award Winner in '05 Paul Tracy overcame a spin and penalty on his first qualifying stint today, and still recovered to capture the pole position and become the first driver win more than one Bridgestone Pole...

Tracy Is 1st Repeat Bridgestone Pole Award Winner in '05

Paul Tracy overcame a spin and penalty on his first qualifying stint today, and still recovered to capture the pole position and become the first driver win more than one Bridgestone Pole Award.

The 15th-year series veteran started the session on Bridgestone's standard tires and was on a hot lap when he lost control of his car and spun. The Canadian quickly recovered but was sanctioned for blocking another car as he moved around the circuit at less than full speed. The penalty was forfeiture of his best lap in the session, so Tracy knew what needed to be done.

His Mountain Grand Resort/Avalanche Bay/Indeck crew strapped on a set of Bridgestone's softer alternate tires for his final run. Tracy strung together three sizzling laps -- all worthy of the front row. Even surrendering his best lap to the penalty, Tracy won the pole with a time of 57.419 seconds (132.040 mph). Provisional pole sitter Cristiano da Matta was second today, just 0.005 of a second behind Tracy (132.028 mph).

After four different Bridgestone Pole Award winners through the first four races, Tracy becomes the first repeat winner. He also won the award -- which includes a $5,000 check to the driver and $2,500 donations to the Hole in the Wall Camps and a local charity (United Way of Cleveland this weekend) -- in the season opener at Long Beach.

"When I went out on the second set of Bridgestone tires," Tracy said, "we decided to go early, got a clear track and concentrated on putting at least two fast laps down. I did a good time on the standard Bridgestones (first stint), but the alternates were a little quicker for me today; I was impressed with them. Normally my style for qualifying is to bring the tire up (to proper temperature and pressure), do one fast lap, take a cool-off lap and try to do another (hot) one. Today, I had to put a couple together and I was able to do three in a row that were all within a couple hundredths of a second. I was happy I could get the most out of the Bridgestones in qualifying, so we're pretty pleased."

Quote from Page Mader, General Manager, Race Tire Development, Bridgestone Motorsport: "It's no secret Paul Tracy is one of the best there is when the pressure is on, and he showed it again today. We're pleased he gave credit to the Potenza tires for helping him put together the laps needed to win the pole. As usual at Cleveland, tomorrow's race should be wild and exciting. With the intense heat, this circuit can get pretty slick but the drivers have told us that both the Bridgestone standard and alternate tires are providing plenty of grip. We expect that to continue on Sunday."

Qualifying session temperatures ranged from 125 to 127 degrees track and from 92 to 94 degrees ambient (F).

Qualifying session temperatures ranged from 52 to 53 degrees track and from 33 to 34 degrees ambient (C).

-bridgestone

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Tracy