Team Player's tops the provisional chart at Mid-Ohio as Paul Tracy earns ninth front-row start of the season Lexington, Ohio, August 8, 2003 Paul Tracy of Team Player's assured himself of his ninth front-row start of the Champ Car World Series...
Team Player's tops the provisional chart at Mid-Ohio as Paul Tracy earns ninth front-row start of the season
Lexington, Ohio, August 8, 2003 Paul Tracy of Team Player's assured himself of his ninth front-row start of the Champ Car World Series season by taking the Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio provisional pole in a furious-paced Friday session that saw his teammate Patrick Carpentier record the third-fastest lap on the 2.258-mile road course. Alex Tagliani was second quickest making it the first time Canadian drivers have finished 1-2-3 in provisional qualifying.
Tracy, who moved within two points (164-162) of championship leader Bruno Junqueira with the point he collected for the provisional pole, clocked his quickest lap just before the end of his first stint, touring the twisty course in 1 minute, 7.204 seconds (120.957 mph). At the time, that performance knocked Carpentier from the provisional pole. Carpentier who would lower his time to 1:07.580 during his second stint had that time removed for a blocking infraction, but his second-best time of 1:07.622 was still good enough for third. Tagliani clocked 1:07.477.
"Team Player's set-up for the weekend is very good, and it showed out on the track today," remarked Tracy, who had a string of five straight podium finishes snapped last weekend at Elkhart Lake when he made an uncharacteristic exit early in the race. "I went quickly on my first set of tires and that time held up. We really had to rebound today after our off weekend at Elkhart Lake. We need to get back those lost points in the standings, and it was important to start the weekend off well by winning the provisional pole."
Tracy ran the fastest lap despite having to cope with heavy traffic throughout the session, which ended with just under two minutes remaining when a spin by Jimmy Vasser brought out the red flag. "Heavy traffic is just something you have to deal with and get it done," said Tracy, who expects the track conditions to lead to even faster times in Saturday's final qualifying session.
Carpentier managed to get a couple of clear laps midway through the session and put in impressive runs back-to-back.
"It's a good thing I did those consecutive quick laps, otherwise I would have been well down the chart when I was assessed the blocking penalty," said Carpentier, the defending Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio champion after his pole and race victory last year. "I was only looking for room like everyone else, so I thought the blocking penalty was a bit harsh."
Carpentier believes that he can squeeze more out of his Champ car for final qualifying, but he isn't revealing at this stage what the strategy will be during that session. "I don't know if going out early tomorrow will change something, but I have to put it all together and get that lap," he declared.
Racing fans can follow Team Player's progress at the Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio throughout the weekend by logging on to the team's website at www.teamplayers.ca. They can also watch the race on tape delay on The Sports Network at 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.
SERVICES PROVIDED FOR THE GRAND PRIX OF MID-OHIO
Results of Team Player's drivers' performances in practice, qualifying and the race will be sent out daily. Photos of Team Player's will be sent out on the CNW wire of Canadian Press, as well as to subscribers of our e-mail transmission service.
RADIO STATIONS: Interview clips of the Team Player's drivers are available at the end of each day's activities. You can download professional quality audio in MP3 or WAV by logging on to them by logging on to the website: http://w3.teamplayers.ca/newsmedia/2003