WHO'S HOT * Rookie superstar Sebastien Bourdais ( ...
* Rookie superstar Sebastien Bourdais (#2 Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Newman/Haas Racing claimed his third victory of the season from pole last weekend in Cleveland, sprinting from the pack on a last-lap restart to win the U.S. Bank Presents The Cleveland Grand Prix. The Frenchman stood atop the podium for the third time in nine races and delivered fast food giant McDonald's a win in the first of a three-race sponsorship deal. With three wins, Bourdais matches point leader Paul Tracy (#3 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) for most wins heading into the always popular Round 10 Molson Indy Toronto. Bourdais is currently leading the Rookie of the Year race, and is fifth in the championship, 43 markers behind Tracy with 117.
* Scarborough, Ontario native Paul Tracy returns to his homeland this weekend with a renewed confidence after struggling through Rounds 4-6 in the month of May. The outspoken fan favorite rebounded to score his third podium in as many races with a second place run at Burke Lakefront Airport and looks to widen the gap between himself and Bruno Junqueira (#1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Newman/Haas Racing who stands a close second in the race for the prestigious Vanderbilt Cup with 109 points. Tracy has the most laps led with 336 of 1,151 and comes to Exhibition Place in search of his third career triumph north of the border after posting wins in 1993 (Toronto) and 2000 (Vancouver).
* Brazil's Bruno Junqueira could come away with the CART Champ Car World Series point lead if he and his Newman/Haas Racing squad are able to put together the breakthrough weekend they've being working on all season. Junqueira has been one of the most consistent drivers on the tour again this season having placed in the top five an amazing eight times in nine races-- five of those podium finishes.
* Mexico's Michel Jourdain Jr. (#9 Gigante Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) of Team Rahal qualified sixth on the Cleveland grid, spun to 17th on the first lap and sped through the field over the 115-lap event to finish seventh. The leader in laps completed (1,143 of 1,151), Jourdain is another pilot that could walk away from Toronto with the points lead, only 20 points behind Tracy.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
* Mexican team owner/driver Adrian Fernandez (#51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth Lola/Bridgestone) has proven he can get it done in the streets of Toronto, having won the Molson Indy Toronto in 1996. Fernandez currently stands seventh in points with 65 on the strength of his Round 8 win in Portland-- the first by a team owner/driver since Bobby Rahal in 1992.
* Canadian son Paul Tracy dominated the streets of "TO" in 1993, beating current CART Champ Car team owner Emerson Fittipaldi to the stripe by a distant 27.471 seconds. Other notable Toronto finishes for Tracy include second (1999), third (2000) and fifth twice (1994, '96). In 10 career Champ Car starts at Exhibition Place, Tracy has an average finish of seventh.
DID YOU KNOW?
* In 2002, the Molson Indy Toronto at Exhibition Place drew a weekend total of 168,421 fans, the Molson Indy Vancouver at Concord Pacific Place drew 161,728 and the inaugural Molson Indy Montreal at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve drew 172,000. In total, the wildly popular Molson Indy Champ Car races north of the border accounted for 502,149 spectators, or 19% of CART Champ Car's all-time record attendance total of 2,686,640 last season.
* Brazilian Alex Sperafico will make his debut in the Champ Car World Series this weekend in Toronto, taking over the driving duties from fellow countryman Gualter Salles in the Dale Coyne Racing #19 Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone. Sperafico started his racing career in 1998 with three wins and three poles in the B Class of the South American F3 Championship, where he finished third for the season. He then moved to North America where he would race in the Barber Dodge Pro Series for parts of the next three seasons. He had five top-five finishes in the 2000 BDPS championship and finished ninth in the point standings. He earned his first BDPS win in 2001 by taking the season opener at Sebring, setting a new track record in the process. He would earn two other podium finishes but ran only nine events before heading back to South America. He ran nine races in the FIA International F3000 Championship for European Minardi, competing against current top Champ Car rookie drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Mario Haberfeld.
WHERE WE'LL BE IN TORONTO
* On Tuesday, July 8, the Toronto-Dominion Centre, Courtyard will host the "Molson Indy Downtown" from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. The event features an autograph session with Player's/Forsythe Racing drivers Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier as well as drivers from the six other race series competing in the Molson Indy Toronto. Other activities include a CASCAR media pit stop challenge, a Molson Indy remote control car race, over 25 show cars, live entertainment and a four hour spinning competition. The event is free and open to the public. Contact Cynthea Galbraith at Molson Indy (416) 579-1048 for more details.
* On Tuesday, July 8, Gabby's on 309 King Street West will host a "Molson Canadian Blow Out Bash" starting at 5:30 p.m. The event features the grand finale of the "Gentleman Start Your Engine Contest." Ten finalists will rely on a celebrity panel of judges including CART Champ Car drivers Paul Tracy and Patrick Carpentier; CART Toyota Atlantic Championship drivers Jonathan Marci and Michael Valiante. CASCAR drivers and NHL superstars will also be on hand, in addition to show cars, Molson Canadian Team Red, Molson Indy Prize Packs and a chance to win a Dodge vehicle. The event is free and open to the public. Contact Cynthea Galbraith at Molson Indy (416) 579-1048 for more details.
* On Wednesday, July 9, the Wooden Sticks Golf Club, Uxbridge will host the "Molson Indy Charity Golf Classic" with an 11:30 a.m. shotgun start. Champ Car Driver Alex Tagliani and corporate foursomes will be playing on the "golf masterpiece" of Wooden Sticks in support of the Greg Moore Foundation. The cost is $3,210 (Canadian) per foursome. Contact the Molson IndyFest hotline, (416) 966-6213 or www.woodensticks.com for more details.
* On Wednesday, July 9, the Crocodile Rock on 240 Adelaide Street West will host a "Molson Canadian Blow Out Bash" at 5:30 p.m. Participants include the Molson Canadian Traveling Team Red, racecar drivers, show cars and Molson Indy Prize Packs including a chance to win a Dodge vehicle. The event is open to the public. Contact Callie Hynes at Molson Indy, (416) 579-7024 for more details.
* On Thursday, July 10, John Street, in the Toronto Entertainment District will host the "Molson Canadian Pit Party" featuring celebrity bartenders from 7:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m. The event features a CASCAR Pit Stop Challenge, food, music, display cars, dancing in the streets and beer gardens. Celebrity bartenders will include Champ Car drivers Rodolfo Lavin and Tiago Monteiro, CART Toyota Atlantic drivers Jonathan Macri, Michael Valiente and Louis-Philippe Dumoulin, and CASCAR drivers with a special appearance by the Miss Molson Indy contestants. The event is free and open to the public. Contact Cynthea Galbraith at Molson Indy (416) 579-1048 for more details.
* On Friday, July 11, Wayne Gretzky's at 99 Blue Jays Way will feature a drivers' VIP Party hosted by Paul Tracy from 7:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m. Participants include Champ Car drivers Jimmy Vasser, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Adrian Fernandez, Roberto Moreno, Mario Dominguez, Alex Tagliani, Max Papis, Tiago Monteiro, Sebastien Bourdais and Bruno Junqueira, Toyota Atlantic drivers Jonathan Macri and Michael Valiente, Miss Molson Indy contestants, sports stars from the Blue Jays, Yankees and WWE. The event features a silent auction with unique racing paraphernalia, and a street barbeque extravaganza. Contact the Molson IndyFest Hotline, (416) 966-6213 or Cynthea Galbraith, Molson Indy, (416) 579-1048 for more details.
* On Friday, July 11, Club O on the corner of Richmond & Peter Streets will host the always popular Miss Molson Indy Swimsuit Competition from 8:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m. The event is open to the public. Contact Callie Hynes at Molson Indy, (416) 579-7024 for more details.
* On Saturday July 12, the autograph session tent in Thunder Alley will host a CART Champ Car Fan Forum from 12:45 - 1:30 p.m. Participants include CART Chief Steward Chris Kneifel; Sr. Manager of Electronics Kevin VanderLaan; TV commentator and former driver Tommy Kendall, and Player's-Forsythe Racing Technical Advisor Tony Cicale. Contact Amanda Trotter at CART Champ Car, (317) 716-9269 for more details.
* On Saturday July 12, the Molson Canadian Beer Garden in Thunder Alley will host the Miss Molson Indy Grand Finale at 5:00 p.m. Participants include the Miss Molson Indy contestants and a judging panel made up of Champ Car drivers. Contact Callie Hynes at Molson Indy, (416) 579-7024 for more details.
WHAT: Molson Indy Toronto
WHERE: Exhibition Place, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
WHEN: Friday -- Sunday, July 11-13
SUPPORT EVENTS: CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, Barber Dodge Pro Series, FF1600, CASCAR, Fran-Am
CART SCHEDULE (All times local):
FRIDAY, JULY 11
Champ Car practice, 10:00 -- 10:50 a.m.
Champ Car practice, 11:40 a.m. -- 12:30 p.m.
Champ Car qualifying, 3:15 -- 4:15 p.m.
SATURDAY, JULY 12
Champ Car practice, 10:00 -- 11:15 a.m.
Champ Car qualifying, 1:45 -- 2:45 p.m.
SUNDAY, JULY 13
Champ Car warmup, 8:30 -- 9:00 a.m.
Molson Indy Toronto, 112 laps, 12:30 p.m.
U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE:
SATURDAY, JULY 12
SPEED Channel, CART Champ Car qualifying, 1:30 p.m. ET. S
UNDAY, JULY 13 -- CBS Sports, Molson Indy Toronto, 12:30 p.m. ET.
TRACK LAYOUT: 1.755-mile street course
RACE LENGTH: 112 laps, 196.560 miles
RACE ROUND: 10 of 19 in the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford.
NEXT EVENT: July 27, Molson Indy Vancouver, Concord Pacific Place, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.