TORONTO, Ont. - Team KOOL Green driver Paul Tracy had the crowd firmly in the palm of his hand for today's CART FedEx Champ Car race in his hometown of Toronto. But while the "Thrill from West Hill" had every intention of making a break for it...
TORONTO, Ont. - Team KOOL Green driver Paul Tracy had the crowd firmly in the palm of his hand for today's CART FedEx Champ Car race in his hometown of Toronto. But while the "Thrill from West Hill" had every intention of making a break for it and giving polesitter Cristiano da Matta a true challenge for the win, the brakes on his #26 KOOL-Honda-Lola-Bridgestone race car had another ambition. Tracy's day came to an abrupt end on lap 88 of the Molson Indy when his front brakes failed and he was forced to retire from the event. Much to the dismay of the local crowd, Tracy was awarded a sixteenth place finish.
Tracy's teammate Dario Franchitti fought his own battles during the 112-lap event. After pitting out of sequence on lap 17 to take on fresh tires, Franchitti dropped down to 17th position and began to fight his way back through the field. The Scotsman made steady progress, climbing as high as seventh but was forced back to eighth position after CART Race Control determined that Franchitti had short cut the course when passing Scott Dixon. Following a restart on lap 71 Franchitti spun and on lap 96 was hit from behind by Alex Tagliani. After continuing from the collision Franchitti locked the rear tires, spun off course and was forced to retire from the race on lap 101.
Brazilian Cristiano da Matta led flag to flag and earned his fourth victory in a row. Kenny Brack was second while Christian Fittipaldi was third.
Da Matta continues to lead the CART FedEx Championship Series points standings with 118 points. Bruno Junqueira is second with 70 points. Dario Franchitti remains in third place with 64 points. Paul Tracy is tenth with 36 points. TKG technical partner Michael Andretti is eleventh, also with 36 points.
Paul Tracy - #26 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone
"After the yellow I lost the front brakes for some reason and then the rear brakes kept locking up and I couldn't get the car to stop. Team KOOL Green was watching the brake balance on the telemetry and on one corner I'd have sixty percent on the front and on the next I'd have thirty, it just kept jumping all over. I kept trying to adjust it and maxed out on the bias, but the car still had no brakes. I did try to keep driving the car as long as I could, but it just kept getting worse. It just reached a point where it was no longer safe to stay out there. I'm disappointed, I was running well in front of my home crowd and we did have a good car out there, we just had a problem that we couldn't get rid of. I thought I'd be able to pull through the rest of the field on the restart to take a run on Cristiano (da Matta) but that's when we started having our problem and I couldn't do it. We'll have to come back next year and try again."
Barry Green - Team Owner
"Today was not the way we like to see things go. Paul had a great car until we had the problem with the brakes. We're not sure what went wrong and it's too bad. Paul drove a brilliant race for Team KOOL Green, he was very fast and consistent and we had great pit stops. We just threw away a bunch of points today."
Dario Franchitti - #27 KOOL Honda-Lola-Bridgestone
"Tag (Alex Tagliani) hit me pretty hard from behind and hopefully CART will do something about it. I think CART Race Control was really off today. I passed Dixon (Scott) and Race Control said I short cut the course which I did not do. I had two wheels on the curb which I had done every time. CART made their decision and I want to talk to Wally (chief steward Wally Dallenbach) immediately after the race. I want their decision explained to me. On the last incident I locked up the rear wheels on braking and backed it into the tires. It was a difficult race today for Team KOOL Green. Tag must not have known I was there because he knocked me out of the way. With the marbles it was difficult to pass and the one time I did make a pass CART said I had short cut. I don't know how they came up with that, I'm pretty sure they want passing in this series."
Kyle Moyer - Team Manager
"It just hasn't been our weekend. We've been fighting it and we should have finished the race but we didn't. We were shuffled to the back a couple of times and we kept fighting our way back to the front, then something else would happen. I'm disappointed in a couple of CART's rulings today but they must not see it the way we do. We flat spotted a tire early in the first stint and pitting to change it sent us to the back. We told Dario to run as fast as he could and he did which put us right back where we were after everyone pitted. Then we were caught by a couple of yellows, which hurt the strategy we were running. It was just an uphill battle all day for Team KOOL Green."