Canadian Paul Tracy nailed down his fifth Bridgestone Present the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford victory of the season, as he mastered the streets at BC Place in Vancouver, Canada. Burn out for Paul Tracy. Photo by Paul ...
Canadian Paul Tracy nailed down his fifth Bridgestone Present the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford victory of the season, as he mastered the streets at BC Place in Vancouver, Canada.
As the green flag fell, it appeared that second place finisher Bruno Junqueira was already ahead of Tracy as the cars made it safely through turn one. Junqueira maintained control for several laps with Tracy a few car-lengths back followed Patrick Carpentier, Alex Tagliani and Michel Jourdain.
The race was not without early incident though. Before the race even started, both Dale Coyne entries contacted the wall during the warm up laps. Each incident was separate but inexplicable and embarrassing for a team that prepares so hard to have it all end by scrubbing tires.
On the race's fourth lap, teammates Roberto Moreno and Mario Dominguez came together bringing out a full course caution. Moreno's days was done froma well-earned third starting position.
On lap 21, CART officials had finally determined that Junqueira actually jumped the start and ordered him to move over and let Tracy by, which he did on lap 24. "I made it clean by Tracy going into turn one." Junqueira said. "I don't know."
"He came off the last turn like a gear higher and 30-40 miles per hour faster." Tracy said of the start. "But they (officials) made the right decision. After that I was like six seconds ahead after a few laps."
During the first round of pit stops, Tracy made it out first to retain the lead but Junqueira stalled the car and lost a position. He was still behind a Team Player's car when he got back on track, but now it was Carpentier.
Bourdais had a strange beginning to his event but was with the front runners after his stop. When Moreno and Dominguez came together, the young rookie misjudged the situation and became involved in the incident. He rejoined the race, out of sequence with the rest of the field when he ultimately pitted, then recovered after the second caution period to make it back to the front runners.
Alex Tagliani had his day end early when Tiago Monteiro tried a move with cold tires, doing in both cars with suspension damage. The move brought out the race's second caution.. Tagliani was having one of his best showing all season, running in the top five prior to the contact.
On lap 41, Bourdais made it by Jourdain for fourth and then took Junqueira. His luck ran out when he made a bid for second, but Carpentier held his ground and the Frenchman lost his step and the two spots he had just earned.
Mexican Adrian Fernandez made the biggest improvement after his stop and then benefited from the subsequent accident. By lap 50, Fernandez was in the sixth position, 18 seconds adrift of Bourdais. Rookies Mario Haberfeld and Darren Manning were right behind at the point which made for its own interesting battle.
Attrition would eventually be the demon in Fernandez's race when an oil leak sidelined the car with terminal problems. A loose piece of bodywork was the undoing of rookie Darren Manning, as it rubbed against a tire causing him to pit and give up a spot on the lead lap.
Tracy left the field behind and was 15 seconds ahead of teammate Carpentier when he pulled in for his next stop. Bourdais temporarily took command when he stayed out but came in a few laps later and surrendered the lead.
During the pit shuffle, Dominguez, two laps down, tried an unexplainable move on Carpentier and ruined the French-Canadian's race. Junqueira moved up to take second followed by Bourdais, Jourdain and Fernandez.
With nearly a half a lap lead on his closest rival, Tracy put it cruise control, leaving the other battles nearly half a lap behind. It was smooth sailing from there and he never looked back.
Five rookies finished in the top eight this weekend with Bourdais leading the group on the podium in third. Manning came home fifth and Ryan Hunter-Reay scored his best ever finish, bringing home his Reynard in sixth for American Spirit Team Johansson.
Only four out of ten finishers were on the lead lap at the end. Haberfeld took a five second penalty on his last pit stop for a previous infraction but otherwise get his nose clean and came home in seventh place.
Tracy's win is his 24th and puts him into a tie with Bobby Rahal in all-time Champ Car victories. Along with his points for the victory are the extra point for most laps led, and now has a 20 point lead over Junqueira going into next week's event on the four-mile road course at Road America.