Tracy takes star win from the back

Paul Tracy and his Team Green crew gambled on a three stop strategy and a late-race fuel-only stop, and ended up taking the winner's spoils at Long Beach

Tracy takes star win from the back

The Canadian, who started 17th, now leads the CART FedEx World Series despite an apparent difficult start to the season, and this event. But help came from his team-mate's new engineer, Steve Challis. "We were lost this weekend," said Tracy. "Steve opened Greg's notebook (Challis was Greg Moore's engineer) and we put one of Greg's set-ups on our car this morning. It was perfect.

"It's just huge to win this race. The job that Team KOOL Green does is amazing. Tony Cicale, my whole crew, Barry Green, and I really have to thank Steve Challis for the contribution that he has made to our team this year. It's just phenomenal. We started in the back twice now and we haven't panicked. We just got the car sorted out. We know that we have a good team and that's what we've concentrated on... being as good as we can be. That drives us to go forward.

"The pit strategy that the guys came up with was unbelieveable. I ran a clean race and we tried to be real conservative on the tires. Starting 17th, the plan was just to stay alive and not get into a wreck. There was a lot of stuff going on in front of us with traffic. Michael (Andretti) and I ran hard together for a long time, working together and that brought us up through the field. Our strategy just seemed to be right at the end.

Team boss Barry Green said: "We changed the car a lot last night and Paul was really happy with it this morning in practice. Starting 17th though, that's a tough job for anyone. Paul did a fantastic job, we made some right calls and had great pit stops. It was a real team effort today. We blew them away in the pits. Paul didn't make one mistake in the last 25 to 30 laps. He was absolutely perfect and that's what it takes to win at Long Beach."

Penske's Helio Castro-Neves took second place under intense pressure from Jimmy Vasser. The Brazilian incurred a pit-lane speeding penalty, but managed to make it back from 15th place to the front driving as carefully as he could to make the fuel last. He ran out on the slow-down lap.

Third place for Vasser puts him second in the championship, eight points behind Tracy. It was also Toyota's best finish to date, although no-one -- least of all Vasser -- doubts that will be bettered soon. "Every time we show up Toyota has new advances in the horsepower and reliability," he said. "Every time we hit the track. You guys better watch out."

Fourth place went to rookie Alexandre Tagliani, while 2000 "supersub" Bryan Herta took fifth for Walker stepping in for Shinji Nakano.

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