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Tracy charges to win in B.C.

7/25/2004

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Defending Champ Car
titleholder Paul Tracy vaulted himself back into championship
contention Sunday with a victory at the Molson Indy Vancouver.

Tracy started from the pole and controlled the entire race for
his second straight win at Vancouver. Michel Jourdain Jr. of Mexico
worked his way up from 12th to finish in second place, about 5.5
seconds behind Tracy.

American rookie A.J. Allmendinger posted his first podium finish
for upstart Rusport Racing, placing third.

Tracy, who was winless since the series opener on April 18,
moved into third place in the series points standings, passing
fellow Canadian Patrick Carpentier.

Series leader Sebastien Bourdais of France finished fifth in his
Newman Haas Racing car, retaining a hefty lead in the standings
over second-ranked Bruno Junqueira of Brazil, who finished fourth.

"It was just a frustrating weekend because I could have been on
the pole and it could have been a whole lot different racing,''
Bourdais said.

Tracy moved into third place in the points race.

"Obviously things didn't go well for (Bourdais) and that's
exactly what we need,'' Tracy said. "We're right back in the
middle of it.''

The victory was the 28th Champ Car win of Tracy's career. He had
no trouble with his competition, but was almost sunk by a problem
on his second pit stop.

Forsythe Championship Racing operations chief Neil Micklewright
suspected a malfunction in the refueling rig.

The team told Tracy, 19 seconds ahead of Jourdain, that he
needed at least a 20-second lead to make a splash-and-go pit stop
and retain the lead.

Tracy put in nine furious laps, brushing a tire wall at one
point, and pitted with a 28-second margin, emerging with more than
six seconds in hand.

"At the time we had about 11 seconds. I just put my head down
and tried to turn qualifying laps every lap,'' Tracy said.

The race around Vancouver's notoriously crash-prone 1.781-mile
street circuit was relatively incident-free with two yellow flags.

On lap 21, Carpentier tried to pass Brazilian rookie Alex
Sperafico, who was a lap down, when they came together at the end
of the pits, knocking them both out.

"(Sperafico) wasn't even in the race,'' said Carpentier, who
crashed here last year due to contact with a lapped car. "I was
really mad at the guy.''

Rodolfo Lavin spun by himself on the same lap and was a lap down
by the time he restarted. His race ended on lap 66 with a blown
engine, his fourth DNF in seven races.

Mexican Gaston Mazzacane's race didn't last past the second
warmup lap, when his Dale Coyne Racing car veered inexplicably into
the front-straight wall, possibly due to a broken suspension.