Leapfrog to the front
Tracy takes CART lead with Mid-Ohio winPosted: Sunday August 10, 2003 5:47 PM
Tracy, who had finished second four times in 10 previous appearances at Mid-Ohio, averaged 106.251 mph and won by 0.51 seconds over Player's-Forsythe teammate Patrick Carpentier in the first one-two finish for the team. Carpentier won here last year and was third in 2001.
Rookie Ryan Hunter-Reay, who started second, finished a career-best third.
Tracy pulled away from the field to take a big lead at the start and led 69 of the 92 laps, losing the lead only on pit stops for 13 laps to Adrian Fernandez and 10 laps to Tiago Monteiro, both of whom pitted out of sequence.
Monteiro later was given a stop-and-go penalty for blocking Mario Dominguez.
Tracy's career-high sixth victory of the season gave him a 20-point lead in the driver standings over Bruno Junqueira. Tracy won the maximum 23 points for the race -- 20 for winning, one for leading the most laps and two for being the top qualifier Friday and Saturday.
Junqueira failed to pick up any points. He finished 13th, losing two laps when Oriol Servia bumped him on the 13th lap, sending him off course.
Tracy crashed early last week at Road America, allowing Junqueira to move past him into first. He said he knew a similar performance could be costly at this stage of the season, which has six races to go.
"I had a long talk this weekend with (Player's-Forsythe technical adviser) Tony Cicale and he said 'We're not going to win the championship at Mid-Ohio, but we could lose it at Mid-Ohio if we have a bad race,"' he said.
"I don't expect Bruno to go away. The championship will be tight to the end."
Carpentier said his teammate was too fast for him.
"I caught up to Paul a couple times, but to pass him would have been another story. I don't think we would have been able to," he said. "It was a fun race. I pushed hard and really enjoyed it."
Local favorite Michel Jourdain of Team Rahal, CART's only Ohio-based team, was fourth. He's third in the points race with 137.
He was followed in order by Sebastien Bourdais, Alex Tagliani, Fernandez, Darren Manning, Max Papis and Mario Haberfeld.
Jimmy Vasser, who started 14th, got as high as fourth before losing his rear end and going off the track with eight laps to go. He had the fastest lap of the race at 118.901 mph.
Tracy moved into second place in career CART laps led with 3,322, putting him ahead of Rick Mears, who had 3,286. Michael Andretti is the leader with 6,607.
His 25th career victory gave him sole possession of fourth place in that department, one ahead of Bobby Rahal and one behind Mears.
Andretti has 42 and Al Unser Jr. 31.
It's the 10th time in 22 CART Mid-Ohio races that the winner has come from the pole.