CHAMPCAR/CART: Edmonton: Series round eight preview

CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES DRIVERS LOOKING TO STRIKE OIL AT REXALL GRAND PRIX OF EDMONTON Edmonton race marks final showdown in Canadian Triple Crown Team Competition The Champ Car World Series' three-race stint in Canada comes to an end this...

Edmonton race marks final showdown in Canadian Triple Crown Team Competition

The Champ Car World Series' three-race stint in Canada comes to an end this weekend as the Series moves to the beautiful province of Alberta in Western Canada for the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton.

This third and final race on Canadian soil also marks the final leg of the Champ Car Canadian Triple Crown where the original inuksuk trophies will be awarded at the end of Sunday's race to the team averaging the best finishing position over the three events disputed north of the US border. With all the action of the last two races, it is hard to predict who will walk away with the honors.

The driver combination of Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) of Team Australia are sitting at the top of the triple crown standings and seem fit to run away with the prize. But RSPORTS teammates Alex Tagliani (#8 Tide@Wal-Mart Victory Lap Charity Program Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), who are second, are not ready to give up without a fight just like Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Graham Rahal (#2 Medi|Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) from Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing who are currently in third.

With rain playing a major part in the first two rounds of the Triple Crown competition, Edmonton hopes that it can go three for three in the rain-free race category. Known for its mild summer temperatures, the city of Edmonton is most famous for its oil refineries and the stars of the Champ Car World Series will be looking to strike oil this weekend at the 1.973-mile temporary Rexall Speedway located at City Centre Airport.

The last driver to hit it big in Edmonton was RSPORTS' Justin Wilson who scored his most recent victory there one year ago. Wilson has slowly been closing the gap in the championship standings, inching his way closer to the top-three, and has recorded five top-five finishes in seven races. The Brit seems poised to become the first repeat winner in Edmonton.

Bourdais will also try to become the first repeat winner of the third year event all while trying to reclaim his spot atop the Champ Car World Series championship standings. The Frenchman's race ended in the tire barrier two weeks ago in Toronto relegating him to third in the points, three markers out of first place. Not since his debut season in Champ Car has the three-time Champion been in such a tightly fought battle for the championship lead.

The driver who took that top spot away from veteran Bourdais is his new found nemesis Dutchman Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who, with five podiums in seven races including a sixth place finish in Toronto, from a 12th place start, leads two-time winner Will Power by two points with 164.

With all the attention focused on Bourdais and Doornbos after their "war of words" in Mont-Tremblant the previous week, Australia's Will Power regained the spotlight with his second career win in Toronto. Since winning the first race of the season in Las Vegas, Power has continued to be quick but a string of bad breaks had prevented him from scoring that elusive follow-up victory.

Rookie Simon Pagenaud, who is second in the rookie of the year standings, hopes that history will repeat itself in Edmonton this year. The Frenchman recorded his one and only Atlantic victory at City Centre Airport last season on his way to claiming the Champ Car Atlantic Championship. Pagenaud who has two top fours and two top-five finishes in the last five races has yet to score his first Champ Car podium but with the performances he has put in so far, that initial podium finish and maiden win looks to be right around the corner for the Team Australia driver.

Another rookie, Neel Jani (#21 Red Bull/Gulfstream Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) also seems to be on his way to claiming his first victory. After struggling through the first part of the season, the Swiss driver became the third rookie this season to record a podium finish (third). The PKV Racing driver then went on to score a second podium (second) in Toronto which now places him third in the rookie of the year standings only four points off of Pagenaud.

Contrary to Jani and Pagenaud Pacific Coast Motorsport rookie Ryan Dalziel (#28 PCM Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) seemed to be on his way to clinching his first win in Toronto. Dalziel led the first laps of his Champ Car career in a wet and wild race before eventual race winner Power passed him with 17 laps to go. Unfortunately for Dalziel a podium finish was not in his future either as his day ended in the tires, the Scotsman and his PCM team will try recreate the same scenario this weekend but this time with a different ending.

Graham Rahal (#2 Medi|Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) had one of his best races in the Atlantic Series last year in Edmonton. After falling to sixth from his third place on the grid, the teenager made his way to the front to grab second. Rahal, who already registered a second place finish this season in Houston is looking to Edmonton to turn his luck around after finishing outside the top-ten for only the second time this season.

A couple of other drivers hoping to turn things around are Canadians Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Alex Tagliani. Tagliani is currently fifth in the point standings, nine behind his teammate Wilson, but a pair of eighth place finishes is not what the Quebec-born driver was looking for on his home ground. As for Tracy, he will be looking to complete his first race in his home country this season after his race was cut short in Mont-Tremblant due to mechanical problems and a first-lap crash took him out in Toronto.

Round Eight on the 2007 Champ Car World Series schedule gets underway with the first round of qualifying taking place Friday, July 20 at 2:00 pm local. The final grid will be set the next day, Saturday, July 21 at 2:00 pm with the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton going green on Sunday, July 22 at 1:00 pm local. The race will be broadcast live on in the United States on ESPN at 3:00 pm eastern and in Canada on Global starting at 2:30 pm eastern time.

-credit: ccws

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Alex Tagliani , Graham Rahal , Sébastien Bourdais , Robert Doornbos , Neel Jani , Will Power , Simon Pagenaud