Tracy and Lola Up Front At The Beach Decisive Victory Starts 2004 Campaign Paul Tracy began the 2004 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season in fine form this weekend, leading all but...
Tracy and Lola Up Front At The Beach
Decisive Victory Starts 2004 Campaign
Paul Tracy began the 2004 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season in fine form this weekend, leading all but three laps of the 30th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach to earn his second consecutive victory on the 1.968-mile street circuit and fourth overall. The 2003 Champ Car titleholder who, when he moved to Forsythe Racing last year insisted the team change its chassis choice to Lola, used innate knowledge of both his #1 Indeck Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone car and this tricky 11-turn circuit to begin successful defense of his 2003 title. "It is important to make a good first start," Tracy acknowledged. "The car was just hooked up, running great throughout the whole day," he said after notching win #27.
"This has been an excellent start to the 2004 season for us," declared Lola Cars' Rupert Manwaring, as 16 of 18 Champ Cars assembled on the grid rode with Lola. In a race that saw only one five-lap caution period at its start, drivers and teams with Lola chassis dominated the final results, taking all but one points-paying position. "We feel confident with these results that we are on our way to another successful Champ Car campaign," Manwaring said.
From the start of the race meeting, Lola-equipped machines grabbed headlines, as both Bruno Junqueira and teammate Sebastien Bourdais took a point for qualifying quickest each day. The Newman/Haas duo would finish on podium in the 81-lap race, Junqueira second in the #6 PacifiCare Lola and Bourdais third with his #2 McDonald's Lola. "My PacifiCare car was very good this whole weekend," said Junqueira. Bourdais set fastest lap of the race with only seven tours remaining: "My car was very fast today."
Behind them, Patrick Carpentier warranted fourth with the #7 Indeck Lola, while Mario Dominguez took fifth in the #55 Herdez Lola and declared "I was very happy with my car today." Newcomer Justin Wilson earned sixth in his first drive of the #34 Mi-Jack Lola and Ryan Hunter-Reay's debut in the #4 Herdez Lola netted a seventh place finish. Pit troubles stymied Alex Tagliani who ran the #8 Johnson Controls Lola to eighth. Rodolfo Lavin was tenth in the #3 Corona Lola, his best Champ Car result.
The Champ Car World Series reconvenes in Monterrey, Mexico for race #2 at Fundidora Park on May 21-23.