Qualifying 1: Tracy makes a point

Paul Tracy is proving to be unstoppable in 2003, but the Canadian's provisional pole at Long Beach came with some controversy. Tracy was accused of blocking at least two rivals during the 35-minute session, but none of them had an answer for the 34-year-old's speed.

Qualifying 1: Tracy makes a point

Tracy and Bruno Junqueira exchanged the top spot throughout the session, with Junqueira holding a narrow 0.1-second edge after the first runs with a 1m09.120s lap. But Tracy responded with less than two minutes remaining in the session, clocking a 1m09.079s flyer in his Player's Lola-Ford. Junqueira was unable to respond because Tracy was involved in an incident with Roberto Moreno that brought out the red and chequered flags simultaneously.

Sebastien Bourdais was third fastest ahead of Patrick Carpentier as Newman/Haas Racing and Player's/Forsythe Racing dominated the first two rows of the grid. Tracy had already incurred the wrath of Mario Haberfeld, who responded in frustration to being blocked by extending his middle finger at the Canadian. Ultimately, none of that mattered as Tracy's dream season continues unabated.

"We improved the car in every session," remarked Tracy, whose last front row start in Long Beach came back in 1995. "There was a lot of traffic - everybody tries to gauge when to go onto the track but it seems like everyone waits until the last five minutes and rushes out at the same time.

"I think we'll still need to improve the car tomorrow if it's dry. Our goal today was to do a good time and place the car well because maybe the weather's not going to be so good tomorrow."

Junqueira turned in his best qualifying effort of the season. "It was okay," he shrugged. "The car was pretty good and I had the pole after the first set of tyres. On the second set, I had a lot of traffic and then the red came when I was on a very good lap. It's kind of frustrating because I know I left a lot on the table."

Rookie Bourdais is gunning to win his third consecutive Champ Car pole. "It was a bit difficult at the start of the day," said the Frenchman. "It was hard to learn the line, and the walls are so close. You have to push and touch the walls without hitting them!"

Behind Carpentier, Mexicans Adrian Fernandez and Michel Jourdain filled the third row ahead of Oriol Servia and Alex Tagliani. Mario Dominguez and Jimmy Vasser completed the top 10.

Dominguez was initially listed as 15th fastest after Champ Car officials disallowed his fastest lap, claiming he had blocked Servia in an unsportsmanlike manner. But after stewards reviewed the alleged incident on videotape, Dominguez was reinstated to ninth place.

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Practice 1 & 2: Tracy times two

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