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Champ Car World Series: Molson Indy Toronto

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Molson Indy Toronto

Champ Car World Series: Molson Indy Toronto

Michel Jourdain, Jr.
Bruno Junqueira
Paul Tracy
July 13, 2003


TORONTO, ONTARIO

MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR.: Paul was so, so fast right away, he was so dominant. It was all the time just to try to lose the least amount of points to him. I'm very happy that we did. Bruno was pretty fast all day long, too. It (inaudible). It happened the same with Patrick. I would come out in front of him in the pits every time. He would catch me, then I would lose him again. (Inaudible) the last pit stop, my guys did a fantastic job with the last pit stop. So I'm very happy, you know. I mean, is very sad to keep losing points to Paul, but we were (inaudible) I'm very happy for him, you know, to win in his hometown, for him, for Player's, for everybody. Just a great day. It's their last year in racing, so I'm very happy for him and for the whole Team Player's. And hopefully I get this feeling someday to win in Mexico for me, my family, for Gigante, for the whole crowd. The whole crowd is going crazy out here. I'm very happy for Toronto and Canada.

ERIC MAUK: That late yellow came out. Big lead suddenly erased. All of a sudden you had him in your sights. Did you think you had anything for him at all in that last restart?

MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR.: No. I mean, when somebody improves 35 seconds on everybody else, maybe it's even worse to have him on your sight, because you know you're going to lose him again. So, I mean, I was trying really hard. I never really lost him. But, you know, it was just like running as fast as possible. I mean, I just knew, I could see he's always very good here. You know, he was very fast all weekend. The team, he seems been great all year long. But us, sometimes we're faster, sometimes he's faster. Today was his day, so it's good that we took second. The last few races, we've had a better car than (inaudible) and we've we haven't been able to get all those points. I'm very happy, today we really needed these points and I'm glad we got them.

ERIC MAUK: Congratulations, nice run. The champion of the Molson Indy Toronto is Paul Tracy, driver of the #3 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone. Paul takes his fourth win of the year, the 23rd of his career, moving him into fifth place on the all-time CART victory list. Paul led all 112 laps in the win and became the first Player's-sponsored driver to win a top tier auto race on Canadian soil. Paul, how much fun was that?

PAUL TRACY: It was unbelievable. The car was just perfect today, and I can't thank my sponsors enough and the job that they've done for me. Player's/Forsythe Racing has given me an awesome opportunity. It's sad that it's their last year in racing. You know, it was just a perfect day. I was very motivated coming into this race. We wanted to win this race for Player's. This is the biggest race of the year for them. You know, we qualified on the pole. And then when I heard what Junqueira said, that he was going to make me crack, that kind of pissed me off a little bit yesterday. I said, "I'm going to show him crack. He's going to look at my ass crack all day."

MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR.: I heard you say the weather was going to be perfect today, too.

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: I said it's there's going to be sun today. It's just because last time, you crack. Because there is no climbs here. You not going to pass on the climbs.

PAUL TRACY: Yeah. No, it's a great day for the whole team. I can't be happier. It hasn't really sunk in yet. I said on the podium, the race in Toronto has always been the biggest win of my career. This is the most important race for me in the world. To come back 10 years later and win it again with a Canadian sponsor, Canadian team, a lot of Canadian guys on the team, it's probably the defining moment of my career.

ERIC MAUK: After 21 laps, you got an 11-second lead. After 40 laps, it's 20. You're putting a second a lap on the field. It gets up to 30, 35.

PAUL TRACY: The team didn't really try to slow me down because I was just in a zone today. The car was not perfect, it had a lot of understeer, but it was, you know, good enough that I was able to just to consistently run the same lap time every time, run a 60.5 and 60.6 every single lap for 20 laps. We came up on some traffic and everybody was very fair. I didn't lose any time in traffic. You know, I was able to pull out a little bit more. So, you know, it was just one of those days where everything was perfect. You know, the physical effort was much less than I've had the last few races. I mean, the last few races have been physically very tough, when you're fighting for second, third. Today it just came so easily. It's just one of those days where everything was right for me.

ERIC MAUK: That having been said, a big lead, traffic getting out of your way, things are flowing just the way you want them to. Yellow flag, all that is gone. What goes through your mind?

PAUL TRACY: I'm a little bit disappointed with that flag because when I got down to the corner, the car was all the way in the runoff. I guess they threw a little NASCAR yellow to tighten it up (laughter).

ERIC MAUK: Before we take questions for the audience, we'll go over the top five in our championship point standing. After 10 races, Paul Tracy is our leader with 139 points, Bruno second with 124, Michel third with 113, Patrick Carpentier holds down the fourth spot with 88, and rookie Sebastien Bourdais is fifth with 86. Also today's attendance was 73,255, up from a year ago, giving us a three-day total of 167,352. We'd like to take questions from the media.

Q. Paul, can you remember when you've had such a dominant car?

PAUL TRACY: No. I mean, this has been the most dominant I think race of my career. And, you know, I want to make a comment on the attendance. I'm really happy that a lot of fans came from the States to watch the race. Molson was a little worried a month ago. There was a big SARS thing here. The ticket sales were down significantly. I came up and did a lot of promotion for the race. The Molson people really pushed the race. Player's have been pushing the race. To have the attendance be up, because I knew the ticket sales were down up until a week ago, and the weather wasn't very good, it's great that, you know, people came out to watch the race and the attendance was up and I was able to win the race for the Canadian fans.

Q. Paul, you had a pretty much flawless race, except one time, getting into three. Can you just recall that and tell us what went through your mind.

PAUL TRACY: I locked the rear brakes and it stalled the engine. The car wouldn't start again. It was just kind of locked up. I was like, "Oh, I'm not going to make the turn." I was going to go down the runoff, but I went straight for the tire barrier. All of a sudden I got the thing to start again and it turned. So it was a pretty close call. That was the only incident I had. I just kind of miss-timed the downshift and a throttle blip. It killed the engine and locked the rear brakes at the same time. I thought I was going to end up in the tire barrier.

Q. You said had you no problem with the back markers. There was one lap where you lost a lot of time. Was it behind Geoff Boss you were trying to get past?

PAUL TRACY: There was one time where there were three or four cars, and Geoff Boss was in the middle of all of them. He was trying to get out of the way of everybody. Right at the time he got out of the way, I think we got into a section of corners where I got held up for a couple of corners. But, you know, he was having a bad day today. Every time he ever saw me, he got way out of the way, into the marbles. He was trying to do everything he could. But, you know, in some situations, you know, you go off the racing line, I mean, it's hard just to get around the track like that.

Q. Following up on the marbles question. No tire war going on this year, I was surprised at the amount of marbling going on on that track today.

PAUL TRACY: Well, there's always a lot of marbles at this track because it's a track that uses the tire pretty hard. This was a softer street course tire than we've had. It was a good tire. The times were good. The car was consistent all day. But, you know, if you look at years past, there's always marbles down the straightaway. There's been other times where they've had to take a sweeper out on the track and clean it up, it gets so bad.

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?

PAUL TRACY: 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.

PAUL TRACY: 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?

PAUL TRACY: 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?

PAUL TRACY: 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.

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: My goal?

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

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: 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 high score points 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 on 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.

PAUL TRACY: 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.

PAUL TRACY: 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."

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: That's not fair because there is three races in Mexico, three in Canada and none in Brazil (laughter).

MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR.: Because we don't want you to get (inaudible) (laughter). (Interruption in audio.)

PAUL TRACY: I think that's what CART doesn't want, is fuel strategy races.

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: I think the monitor 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 (inaudible) saving 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 (inaudible) 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.

PAUL TRACY: 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.

MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR.: 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 in 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 tiers we saw had fuel economy wins 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?

PAUL TRACY: I hope.

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: I hope not.

PAUL TRACY: 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, 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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