THREE-TIME MILWAUKEE WINNER PAUL TRACY LEADS FIRST DAY OF CHAMP CAR TESTING AT MILWAUKEE MILE MILWAUKEE (May 3, 2005) -- Paul Tracy ( ...
THREE-TIME MILWAUKEE WINNER PAUL TRACY LEADS FIRST DAY OF CHAMP CAR TESTING AT MILWAUKEE MILE
MILWAUKEE (May 3, 2005) -- Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) has shown that he knows the quick way around the Milwaukee Mile on more than one occasion, having captured three Champ Car World Series wins on the venerable oval that sits on the grounds of the Wisconsin State Fair Park.
He demonstrated that prowess again on a blustery Tuesday by leading a 16-car field in the first of two days of Champ Car testing at the Milwaukee Mile. Tracy got around the 1.032-mile oval in 20.949 seconds (177.345 mph) in topping the time charts on a day where conditions challenged the teams in a number of different ways.
"The temperature was not what we were looking for in terms of setting up for race conditions," Tracy said. "I'm pleased we had the fast time because we didn't really concentrate on outright speed. We were trying different things - areas we need to explore for when we come back and race in June. Being quickest certainly puts a smile on everyone's face at the end of the day. My experience here helps. I can get up to speed pretty quickly. I know where I'm going and I know where I need to be."
Sixteen of Champ Car's finest pilots awoke to a cold Milwaukee morning with temperatures early in the day fighting to reach the 40-degree barrier. The chilly conditions kept cars off the track until nearly 11:30 a.m., but the majority of the teams were still able to get in over 100 miles of testing by the end of the afternoon.
Bruno Junqueira (#2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was second on the speed sheets with a best time of 20.960 (177.252 mph), as he and Tracy carded times that were less than a half-second off the polewinning time set by eventual race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay (#31 Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) a year ago. Cristiano da Matta (#21 Bell Micro Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was third on the day in his first look at an oval since 2002, coming in with a best lap of 21.001 seconds (176.906 mph.
"We had a very smooth day," da Matta reported after running 131 laps of testing. "It is the first time for me on the oval with the big wings and they make the car fast. It's good fun to drive the car out here. We had a good first day with our new engineer Tom Brown and I think if we can continue to improve, we can have a good race when we come back in June."
Rookie Ronnie Bremer (#55 HVM Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was impressive in his Champ Car debut, and continued to make a big splash in today's testing, running the fourth-best time of the day in what was his first Champ Car oval test.
"HVM is such a professional team. They have a good setup here and the setup is very important here," said Bremer. "Still think there was a little more in the car from when I had my quickest time. My Atlantic experience helped me on the lines here. These cars are so much quicker than Atlantics. It's about the same in the corners but coming out and on the straights it's much quicker."
A.J. Allmendinger (#10 Red Bull Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was fifth on the time charts with rookie Timo Glock (#8 Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) taking the sixth spot. Glock posted his fastest time of the day on his 89th lap, but found the Turn Four wall in trying to improve that effort on his next lap. Glock was transported to nearby Froedtert Hospital for a precautionary CAT scan and x-rays, and was released after the tests showed no injuries.
The 2005 rookie crop put their time to good use as they attacked the oval for the first time, with Andrew Ranger (#27 Mi-Jack/Tide Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) turning a session-high 164 laps. Marcus Marshall (#5 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was second with 150 orbits while Bjorn Wirdheim (#4 HVM Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) was third after completing 145 laps.
The Champ Cars will conduct a second day of oval-track testing on Wednesday as teams continue preparation for the June 4 Time Warner Cable 225 Presented by U.S. Bank.