CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto: Top-three finishers press conference, Part II

<B>Paul Tracy</B>, <B>Michel Jourdain, Jr.</B> and <B>Bruno Junqueira</B> Part 2 of 2. Q: Paul, on Thursday, you pointed to this day, you wanted to have a peak performance. Do you understand how or why...

<B>Paul Tracy</B>, <B>Michel Jourdain, Jr.</B> and <B>Bruno Junqueira</B>

Part 2 of 2.

Q: Paul, on Thursday, you pointed to this day, you wanted to have a peak performance. Do you understand how or why you were able to get yourself into that frame of mind when you wanted it most?

<B>Paul Tracy</B>: No. I mean, we've been working hard all year to try to get in this frame of mind for a complete season. You know, we're halfway through. We started the halfway point of the season where we started the first race back winning again. We've been scoring podiums every race. You know, as you do that, you just get more and more confident with the team and, you know, everything starts to work really well. So we're not struggling with the car. You know, as every race goes by, we're just getting more and more confident.

Q: Paul, I was standing next to your mom in the pits. She said it was tougher on her than you. Would you talk about how important it was for you to have your mom and dad here.

<B>Paul Tracy</B>: It was great. My dad came today, my mom was here, my sisters were here. So, you know, to win again in Toronto 10 years later after my first win here, it's great. I mean, like I said, I put more effort into trying to win this race over the last 10 years than it took to win today. Today was very easy, for whatever reason. You know, the effort level that I've put out over 10 years has been back-breaking to try to win again. To do it again is great.

Q: There's been a lot of talk of the Player's sponsorship. From your point of view, can you see a product that kills 10 or 20 or 30 thousand Canadians a year, I know it's bad for you, but can you see why the government doesn't want this to seem glamorous?

<B>Paul Tracy</B>: Well, you know, they've been involved in motorsports for 42 years. This is a product that is still a legal product all around the world. You know, to be limited by what they can do to advertise the product, I think that's wrong. If you have a product that's a legal product, you should be allowed to advertise that product.

This is a place that they have chosen to do that for 42 years. They've created a lot of jobs, they've done a lot of things for charities, done a lot of great things for this city and all across Canada. You know, it's just a shame that they can't stay in, because this is where they want to be. They don't want to be in any other type of sports or entertainment. Motor racing is what they love to do.

Q: Big picture, what would a championship mean to you? For Bruno and Michel, is it Paul's championship to lose?

<B>Paul Tracy</B>:  The championship is everything.  That's why Bruno's here.
That's why Michel's here.  That's why every driver in the field is here.
That's what we want.  That's what I've wanted since the start of my
career. You know, I wouldn't say it's ours to lose.  We're only halfway.
We need to not make any mistakes.  Same goes for them, as well.

<B>Bruno Junqueira</B>: My goal?

Q: Is it Paul's championship to lose? Do you feel you're chasing him for the championship?

<B>Bruno Junqueira</B>: I hope not. I hope next week we can win and get the lead, and then he and Michel will chase me. I think this year the championship has been one of the most highest scoring ever. Because between me, Paul and Michel, we have like 350 points in 10 races. And it's quite amazing how consistent me, Paul and Michel are doing, you know. That's pretty tough. I think in the past, if you finish second or third in the race, you would be happy for the championship. But now me and Michel are not that happy because Tracy won. It's been quite tight, the championship.

<B>Paul Tracy</B>: I think if you look, people have been saying, "It's not as competitive," but if you look at how tight the field is for the race, and the championship, myself, I've scored seven podiums, I think that's more than I've ever scored in my career in a season, and four wins. One year in '93, I won five races in one year. You know, if you look at the amount of podiums the three of us have had, it shows you can't afford to make one slip-up or else you lose so much ground. So the series is very competitive right now.

Eric Mauk: Between the three drivers we have up here today, they have 376 championship points after 10 races between them and 18 podiums. Bruno just 15 points behind Paul, that is most definitely a gap that can be made up in one race, Michel just 26 points back.

Q: Paul, could you talk about, it looked like you were emotional at the singing of "O, Canada" out front. I just wanted you to comment more on that, if you would.

<B>Paul Tracy</B>: Yeah. To hear the fans start singing, everybody still in their seats, standing, you know, I could see the crowd in the last couple laps, they were all standing and waving. You know, it just gave me goose bumps out there, like '93. You know, it's just a great, great feeling. Michel said to me on the podium, he says, "I need to win in Mexico. I've got goose bumps."

<B>Bruno Junqueira</B>: That's not fair because there is three races in Mexico, three in Canada and none in Brazil (laughter).

<B>Michel Jourdain Jr</B>: Because we don't want you to win (laughter).

Q: Are you guys happy with the mandatory pit windows in place now and would you change them?

<B>Paul Tracy</B>: I think that it is a good thing for the most part because you want guys pushing hard all the time. You don't want to have a race where someone from the back of the field lucks out and wins a race. I think that's what CART doesn't want, is fuel strategy races.

<B>Bruno Junqueira</B>: I think the mandatory window is very good because, as Paul said, in a street race like this, someone gets lucky, can win the race starting from last and being the slowest guy on the track. These pit windows doesn't allow that. If you have the pit windows, even without trying to save fuel, you're going to save fuel anyway, then you're going to go back to the race like Brands Hatch. Me, Tracy and Sebastien were lapping half a second slower than each other could just to see who could go one lap further. That's not the race that the fans want to see. The fans want to see you going fast as you can and pushing hard. I think the pit windows allow those, obligate us to go fast as we can.

<B>Paul Tracy</B>: Yeah, I agree with Bruno. Because the way it's set up now, I mean, you have to drive the cars to the limit because, you know, if you're all coming in on the same lap, you want to get a lead over the guy behind you, and everybody's going as hard as they can go, and you see a lot more action in the car, with the in-car cameras, the cars are sliding more sideways and guys are working really hard to try to not have a whole line of cars behind them because, you know, that's where the difference is, in the pits. You want to have a lead on somebody.

<B>Michel Jourdain Jr</B>: Actually, I would make the windows even smaller because right now there's still a chance of sometimes -- I mean, I would make it three pit stops and you can only put fuel in during the windows. Right now you can come in and put fuel in lap two, three and four, and then you can come in three laps later and still get an advantage. I think the rule is meant to be for that not to happen. I mean, for the guys that are fast to win, you know, that's the way racing is, and it should be. But I think it's a good rule.

Eric Mauk: Last weekend in Cleveland is a prime example of what these pit windows can do. Out of all the major North American racing series that competed last weekend, these guys in CART Champ Car were the only guys that won the race depending on who was the fastest. The other racing series we saw had fuel economy runs and guys winning that weren't necessarily the fastest race cars on the track. That's what these pit windows are designed to do, and that's what these guys did in Cleveland.

Q: The next race is in Vancouver, another street course. Do you think you can carry on the success there, make it two in a row in Canada?

<B>Paul Tracy</B>: I hope.

<B>Bruno Junqueira</B>: I hope not.

<B>Paul Tracy</B>: Vancouver, since they changed the circuit in '99 or '98, it's always been a very good track for me. I've always qualified well, in the top five. I've always -- last year, I was on the front row to Cristiano. I led the race. We made a mistake on the pit strategy. I pulled a 17-second lead on Dario last year, but we were on the wrong pit strategy. So it's always been a good race for me and I'm looking forward to it. I think we have a good car. Our street course car has been very good this year and I think we have a chance.

Eric Mauk:  That will bring a conclusion to our press conference.
Thanks, very much, gentlemen.  Congratulations.

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Part I

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy , Michel Jourdain