Tracy Pushes Way To Third Grand Prix Of Cleveland Win
Sunday, June 24th 2007, 2:24 pm
By: News On 6
CLEVELAND (AP) _ Paul Tracy pushed his way to the front and held off rookie Robert Doornbos on the final lap to win his third Grand Prix of Cleveland on Sunday, ending Seabastien Bourdais' three-race winning streak.
Tracy was involved in two accidents early in the race, but the gutsy Canadian worked his way through the field and took the checkered flag, finishing .513 seconds ahead of Doornbos and another rookie, Neel Jani, who was 5.405 seconds back in third.
The victory ended a 23-race winless streak for Tracy, whose last win came at Cleveland in 2005. With another win 1992, he joins Danny Sullivan and Emerson Fittipaldi as the only three-time winners of the event.
The 38-year-old Tracy crossed the finish line of the timed-for-TV race with a third front nose on his No. 3 Indeck car after losing two following contact that he initiated with rookie Graham Rahal and Bruno Junquiera.
``I'm kind of overwhelmed,'' Tracy said. ``It doesn't seem like it came the right way, but I'll take what I get.''
Bourdais, the series' points leader and dominant driving force this season, led for the first 30 laps and was still running second when he lost oil pressure and his engine automatically shut down on Lap 67.
He was towed back to the pits and his crew tried to restart his Cosworth engine before finally giving up and Bourdais climbed out of his cockpit following his latest mishap along the shores of Lake Erie.
``The engine just let go,'' said Bourdais, who was briefly hospitalized following a wreck here last year.
As Bourdais was in the pit, Australian Will Power, who entered the race second in the standings blew a front tire. He finished 10th.
The first standing start in Cleveland's 26-year history resulted in one of the cleanest beginnings of the race in recent memory as all 17 cars got through the infamous Turn 1 without an incident.
A year ago, Bourdais was knocked out on the first lap in a scary wreck as Tracy's car landed on him, leaving tire marks on his helmet. He didn't have to worry about traffic this time as he was able to beat the field to the first turn and quickly opened a lead in the McDonald's No. 1 car.
It wasn't long, however, before there were cars spinning _ courtesy of Tracy, Champ Car's resident racing rebel.
Tracy, who started seventh on the grid, first plowed into Rahal in the fourth turn, pushing him onto the infield grass. Tracy's front wing flew off in the contact and he had to pit to get it replaced.
He needed another new wing moments later when he bulled into Bruno Junquiera's rear in Turn 1 to end the day for the Brazilian, who wasn't pleased about the early exit.
``Tracy, as usual, threw a chrome horn on somebody and unfortunately this time it was me,'' Junquiera said.