FORSYTHE CHAMPIONSHIP RACING'S PAUL TRACY 2ND AT LONG BEACH, MARIO DOMINGUEZ 5TH LONG BEACH, California -- April 10, 2005 -- It was a bit like kissing your sister, but Paul Tracy's 2nd place finish at the 31st annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long...
FORSYTHE CHAMPIONSHIP RACING'S PAUL TRACY 2ND AT LONG BEACH, MARIO DOMINGUEZ 5TH
LONG BEACH, California -- April 10, 2005 -- It was a bit like kissing your sister, but Paul Tracy's 2nd place finish at the 31st annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach was satisfying nonetheless. In taking Pole Position on Saturday, leading 23 laps on Sunday and securing the 63rd podium finish of his career in the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, Tracy scored valuable Championship points and was pleased with the outcome.
"We're right there" said Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone). "I've raced a lot here at Long Beach and that was one of the most hard-fought races I've ever run. We saw some lead changes and lots of passing, and this isn't the easiest place in the world to pass. We were fast on the first stint but for some reason as the race wore on we didn't get faster as the track came in and got more rubber on it. I also accidentally pushed the pit speed limiter coming out of the hairpin when Bruno (Junqueira) got by me, but I used Push to Pass on the restart later and got him back. Finishing 2nd is a little disappointing after starting from the pole but we're definitely on the pace this year and things look good for the rest of season.
"I'm proud of what the team accomplished in the off-season and we've got a great foundation for this year, maybe a little better than last year because we've done a lot more development on the car. The Bridgestone tires are very consistent and the soft alternate tire really adds some spice to the race strategy, and I think we saw that today. I thought we might challenge Sebastien (eventual race winner Sebastien Bourdais) after the last pit stop when we were on the soft tires and he was on the standard tires, but like I said for some reason we didn't get quicker as the race wore on like we expected. We'll have to look at the data and see if we can figure that out."
"I also should mention how impressed I am with this year's rookie crop. Everybody drove with their heads up and we didn't see many crazy incidents today. As some of these new guys get a little experience I think we're going to see some new faces showing up at the front of the field. This is as deep a field as we've had in this series for a long, long time, maybe the best ever."
As for Tracy's new teammate Mario Dominguez (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), who met his crew for the first time on Thursday and drove the car for the first time in Friday practice, Long Beach was a solid start to the season. After finishing that very first practice session 4th quickest, Dominguez backed that up by Qualifying 3rd on the grid during Saturday's Final Qualifying and finishing 5th in Sunday's 81-lap race.
"I'm satisfied, but not super happy" said Dominguez. "We got some good points but the brakes weren't working as well as I would like and I used all my Push-to-Pass early in the race so when Bruno (Junqueira) made a run on me at the next-to-last restart there was nothing I could do. Then Justin (Wilson) got by after I made a small mistake. I only had one day of testing in the off-season (with his previous team) so I'm still a bit rusty. But the team has been great and with the really deep field we have this year consistency is going to be very important. I've got a few test days coming up before Monterrey (Mexico, on May 22) so I think we'll be in good shape. I'm really looking forward to putting the Forsythe #7 car up front for the Mexican fans."
Forsythe Championship Racing would like to thank the Long Beach fans for turning out in huge numbers all weekend, showing their support for the most competitive and entertaining open-wheel racing series in the world. On to Monterrey, May 20-22!