Tracy shocked after Cleveland win
|By David Malsher||Monday, June 25th 2007, 01:38 GMT|
Paul Tracy, with his 31st Champ Car victory at the Grand Prix of Cleveland today, equalled the win tally of his former Penske teammate Al Unser Jr, elevating himself to joint sixth in the all-time standings, but even he confessed this one of his more bizarre victories.
"I made five pitstops and I still won!" grinned the Forsythe Championship Racing driver afterwards. "I lost two front wings, but that also meant I cut two sets of tyres with my accidents, so the tyres they put on at the end were just practice tyres with about 20 laps already on them. So I have to say, I'm kinda still in shock."
Explaining his fourth lap collision with Graham Rahal that sent both himself and the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing driver off course, Tracy said: "Graham and Robert [Doornbos, Minardi Team USA] both kind of ran wide in turn three. Graham was kind of way out in the dusty part of the track.
"When he turned to change directions, go the other way, he had to come to a stop in the middle of a corner so he didn't spin. I was coming pretty hard. I knew he was going to have to slow down at the apex, but I thought I could kind of duck under him.
"But because he was going so slow, I hit him when I crossed behind him. We both went out in the grass. So that was wing number one."
The next collision was thumping the rear of Dale Coyne Racing driver Bruno Junqueira under braking for Turn 1 two laps later. "Oriol [Servia, his Forsythe teammate] made a move on Bruno and Bruno tried to do what I tried with Graham and cross under Oriol at the apex.
"And I was right on them, and because Bruno had slowed down so much, I ran right into the back of him. That was wing number two."
Now at the back of the field, Tracy admitted his spirits went down, but the team urged him to go for it. "The team really rallied and said, 'All right, come on, let's go. We can do something here with our strategy'.
"So I passed the five cars that were in front of me. I pulled away and caught up to Graham and Justin towards the end of that stint, really started to turn some good laps.
"The rest was really just strategy. We had the fuel at the end of the race that other people didn't."