CHAMPCAR/CART: Monterrey: Pre-event notebook, schedule

Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix Of Monterrey Notebook WHO'S HOT * Defending series champion Paul Tracy ( ...

Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix Of Monterrey Notebook

WHO'S HOT

* Defending series champion Paul Tracy (#1 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Forsythe Championship Racing earned his second consecutive win at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season opener. Tracy dominated on the streets of Long Beach leading 78 of the 81 laps as 2003 series championship runner-up and pole sitter Bruno Junqueira (#6 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Newman/Haas Racing finished second by 5.681 seconds.

* Rookie-of-the-year Sebastien Bourdais (#2 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) started his sophomore season demonstrating improved consistency throughout the weekend. Bourdais, who led the series in qualifying average (3.67) a year ago, posted the fastest time during the final round of qualifying at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, and would start second to teammate Junqueira. Bourdais started in the front row in the opener as he did in 2003 but this time avoided trouble and was able to come home with a podium finish.

* Making his Champ Car debut in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, former Formula 1 pilot Justin Wilson (#34 Mi-Jack Conquest Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Mi-Jack Conquest Racing illustrated his open wheel talent amongst a diverse Champ Car field filled with talented veterans and rookies. Starting in the 11th position, Wilson maneuvered his way through the field gaining five positions. Wilson's sixth-place finish was the best of the five rookies in the field and gives him the early lead in the Rookie-of-the-Year standings.

* Brazilian Mario Haberfeld (#5 Cummins Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone) who has joined Walker Racing for the 2004 season, brought home a top ten finish for his new team in the season opener at Long Beach starting from 14th and moving his way up five spots to place ninth, finishing at the top Reynard.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

* Entering round two of the 2004 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford with a victory under his belt, defending 2003 Monterrey race winner Paul Tracy looks to follow last season's pace where he won each of the first three races of the year. Tracy became the first driver since the formation of CART in 1979 to win the first three races of a season as he kicked off the 2003 campaign with victories in St. Petersburg, Monterrey and Long Beach.

* Mexican fan-favorite Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) made his mark south of the border when he became the first Mexican to make a Champ Car podium appearance on home soil during last year's run in the Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix. Jourdain moved up to finish second in Monterrey last year after gridding fifth. The number, car, colors, and sponsor may be the same on Jourdain's Champ Car; however, he has switched team operations and will be running this season with the rookie RuSPORT squad.

* The 2002 Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix marked the start of Mexican Mario Dominguez's (#55 Herdez Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) Champ Car career. Last season, he finished in the top ten at Fundidora Park and had a breakthrough season leading his Herdez Competition squad to its first 1-2 finish with a victory in Miami. He is looking to score his seventh consecutive top-10 finish, tying the Champ Car record for consecutive top-10 finishes by a Mexican driver.

* Second year team Rocketsports had outstanding results during its rookie season in 2003 with veteran pilot Alex Tagliani (#8 Johnson Controls Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone). Earning a career-best three podiums last season, including a third-place finish at Fundidora Park and two poles, Tagliani lead his team to a top-10 finish in the championship. At the 2004 season opener in Long Beach, Tagliani made his 78th start positioned fourth on the grid and was running in the third spot during the first half of the race when problems changing a tire during his second pit stop dropped him out of contention. Tagliani was able to bring his rocket home for a top-ten finish placing him eighth in the standings after one race.

NOTEWORTHY

* Mexico will be represented this weekend in the nation's cup with four of the 18 Champ Car drivers calling Mexico home. Mario Dominguez, Rodolfo Lavin (#3 Corona Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Forsythe Championship Racing, Michel Jourdain Jr., and Roberto Gonzalez (#21 Nextel Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Reynard) of PKV Racing will all be battling to finish on top in front of their countrymen.

* Within the 2004 driver field that is mixed with veterans and rookies, there are only five drivers that will be stepping foot onto this course for the first time. Those drivers are veteran Tarso Marques (#19 American Medical Response Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) with Dale Coyne Racing along with rookies Roberto Gonzalez, Justin Wilson, Nelson Philippe (#17 LeasePlan Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Rocketsports, and Mi-Jack Conquest's Alex Sperafico (#14 Mi-Jack Conquest Ford-Cosworth/Reynard/Bridgestone). Rookie A.J. Allmendinger experienced the 2.104-mile permanent road course at Fundidora Park last year when he competed in his first year running with the Toyota Atlantic Championship Series. This number is a drastic change compared to the number of rookies that were on the 2003 roster (nine rookies).

* The 2003 Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey was again a highly successful event for Champ Car. Race organizer GRAND announced a three-day attendance total of 215,771, including a race day crowd of 92,713. The Monterrey race has attracted over 200,000 race enthusiasts in each of the three previous Champ Car visits. It is projected that ticket sales will break previous records during the 2004 event.

BY THE NUMBERS

* 769,771 -- Number of fans that have come through the gates at Fundidora Park in the three seasons of Champ Car racing in Monterrey--7 -- Number of current drivers that have run in each of the three previous Monterrey starts--2.039 -- Largest-ever margin of victory in seconds at Fundidora Park, set last year by Paul Tracy--0 - Number of times the Tecate/Telmex Grand Prix of Monterrey has been won from the pole position--8 -- Number of different drivers that have stood on the podium in Monterrey in the three previous events.

FAST FACTS

WHAT:  Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix

WHERE: Fundidora Park, Monterrey, Mexico
WHEN: Friday-Sunday, May 21-23

SUPPORT EVENTS: Toyota Atlantic Series, Dodge Truck Series, Neon SRT 4 Series

CHAMP CAR SCHEDULE (All times local):

FRIDAY, MAY 21
Atlantic practice, 9:15 -- 9:45 a.m.
Champ Car practice, 10:00 -- 11:30 a.m.
Atlantic qualifying, 1:00 -- 1:40 p.m.
Champ Car qualifying, 2:00 -- 3:00 p.m.

SATURDAY, MAY 22
Atlantic practice, 9:15 -- 9:45 a.m.
Champ Car practice, 10:00 -- 11:15 a.m.
Atlantic qualifying, 1:00 -- 1:30 p.m.
Champ Car qualifying, 1:45 -- 2:45 p.m.

SUNDAY, MAY 23
Atlantic warm-up, 8:30 -- 8:45 a.m.
Champ Car warm-up, 11:00 -- 11:30 a.m.
Atlantic race, 12:30 -- 1:30 p.m.
Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix, 3 p.m.

U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE: (All times Eastern)
SUNDAY, MAY 23, Spike TV, Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix 4:00 p.m. (Live).

2003 CHAMPION: Paul Tracy
2003 POLESITTER: Sebastien Bourdais

TRACK LAYOUT:  2.104-mile temporary road course

RACE LENGTH: 72 laps (151.486 miles)

TRACK RECORDS: Qualifying (one lap) -- 2003, Sebastien Bourdais, 101.076 mph (1:14.938). Race -- 2002, Cristiano da Matta, 90.544 mph (1:58:30.642) based on 85 laps (178.840 miles).

RACE ROUND: 2 of 16 in the 2004 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford

SERIES POINT STANDINGS: 1. Paul Tracy, 32; 2. Bruno Junqueira, 29; 3. Sebastien Bourdais, 27; 4. Patrick Carpentier, 24; 5. Mario Dominguez, 21.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Mario Haberfeld , Justin Wilson , Bruno Junqueira , Tarso Marques , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Mario Dominguez , Sébastien Bourdais , A.J. Allmendinger , Rodolfo Lavin , Roberto Gonzalez , Alex Sperafico , Nelson Philippe , Dale Coyne , Cristiano da Matta , Michel Jourdain
Teams Conquest Racing , Dale Coyne Racing