CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach: Forsythe Racing Saturday report

FORSYTHE CHAMPIONSHIP RACING ON TOP IN LONG BEACH QUALIFYING LONG BEACH, California -- April 9, 2005 -- The deepest field in Champ Car history got a look at a seriously revamped Forsythe racing team as drivers Paul Tracy ( ...

FORSYTHE CHAMPIONSHIP RACING ON TOP IN LONG BEACH QUALIFYING

LONG BEACH, California -- April 9, 2005 -- The deepest field in Champ Car history got a look at a seriously revamped Forsythe racing team as drivers Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone) and Mario Dominguez (#7 Indeck Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone) put a stamp of authority on Final Qualifying today at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the opening round of the 2005 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, as Tracy qualified on Pole with Dominguez close behind in third.

Tracy, the leader among active North American open-wheel drivers with 23 career pole positions, took the Bridgestone Pole Award in dramatic style as he used the soft alternate Bridgestone Potenza tires (identified by their bright red sidewalls) to set a new track record, surpassing the five-year old mark of Gil de Ferran with a lap of 1m07.485s in the last few minutes of the session.

"We set a good time earlier in the session on the standard tires" commented Tracy, "so we knew the reds (alternate tire) would be maybe a half second quicker. I got out at a good time and found some clear space on track, but had to deal with some incorrect split times on my dash. The team told me to ignore them so I just put my head down and concentrated, but I really didn't know how we were doing until I pulled into the pits. It was a bit of a nail-biter as we had to wait a minute or so for Bruno (Junqueira) and Sebastien (Bourdais) to complete their laps."

"It's great to set a new track record. When Gil set his record in 2000 the cars had about 150 more horsepower and a lot more downforce. The Forsythe team worked hard in the off-season to improve the shock and aerodynamic programs and today showed the results. These cars are so equal that all you can do is massage it bit by bit to make it faster and we've done that. My hat's off to the whole team. This is a great way to start the season."

Tracy was presented with the inaugural Bridgestone Pole Award, which includes a trophy and $5000 to the Pole-winner. In addition, $2500 goes to the Hole-In-The-Wall camp charity for sick children and $2500 to a local charity, in this case the Grand Prix Foundation. "It's great to win the first Bridgestone Pole Award" said Tracy, "but it's extra special when you get to give some help to kids in need."

Mario Dominguez, in his first event for Forsythe Championship Racing, was ecstatic to achieve a strong result. "Heck, I only met the crew on Thursday!" Dominguez said to laughter from the attendees at the post-qualifying media session. "I only tested one day in the whole off-season with my old team (HVM) and drove my first laps in the new car during Practice on Friday (where he recorded fourth quick time), so it's pretty amazing and shows just how strong this team is. I really couldn't be happier." Dominguez posted a lap of 1m07.803s and will start from the inside of Row 2, directly behind Tracy.

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach gets underway at 1pm PT (4pm ET, 21:00 UTC) and will be telecast LIVE on NBC in the United States.

-fcr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Paul Tracy , Mario Dominguez