CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach: Bridgestone race report

Champ Tracy Picks Up Where He Left Off, Wins '04 Debut Paul Tracy started the 2004 Champ Car season in the same winning fashion he did a year ago, when he was on his way to the championship. Driving the Indeck/Forsythe Racing Ford/Lola on ...

Champ Tracy Picks Up Where He Left Off, Wins '04 Debut

Paul Tracy started the 2004 Champ Car season in the same winning fashion he did a year ago, when he was on his way to the championship. Driving the Indeck/Forsythe Racing Ford/Lola on Bridgestone Potenza tires today, Tracy burst into the lead on the first green-flag lap and controlled the race, winning for the fourth time in Long Beach and 27th time of his career.

This weekend featured Bridgestone Motorsport's introduction of the new option tire format, which required each driver to run at least one set of the "softer" option specification sometime within the race. Some drivers like Bruno Junqueira, who started on the pole and finished second in the PacifiCare Ford/Lola, liked the option tires so much that he ran two stints on them. Even Tracy, who was somewhat uncomfortable on the option sets in weekend practice, found the new concept tires to his liking in today's 81-lap race.

"We used the option tires for our last set," Tracy explained in victory circle. "We waited until the track was rubbered in before we put them on and the balance of that set was perfect for the whole run."

"The Bridgestone tires were very good for us all weekend," reported Junqueira. "Whether it was the harder compound or the soft one, they were very consistent the entire time."

Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport: "Congratulations to Paul Tracy on a pretty commanding victory. It appeared he had control of the race from the time he took the lead at the start. Paul saved his faster Bridgestone compound tires for his last run and set his fastest lap of the race on that set, two laps from the finish. While that indicates the option tires were faster, we received a wide variety of comments from drivers about the softer compound. This was a trial concept for just this weekend. Now we'll review the situation with the Champ Car community to determine how to proceed with Bridgestone's faster compound concept."

Race temperatures ranged from 87 to 99 degrees track and from 70 to 72 degrees ambient (F).
Race temperatures ranged from 31 to 37 degrees track and from 21 to 22 degrees ambient (C).

-bridgestone-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy