“I intend to take back the Vanderbilt Cup that’s
on loan to Sebastien.”
The cup in question is awarded to the winner of the Champ Car
World Series championship. “Sebastien” is Sebastien Bourdais,
current holder of the Vanderbilt Cup. And, the speaker is Paul
Don’t count Tracy out.
Ever since he burst out of the Indy Lights ranks and onto the
Champ Car fast track, the outspoken 37-year-old Canadian has
been a winner. And few drivers are as much fun to watch.
Case in point: right here at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
last year. Champ Car had instituted a new “push to pass” rule
for 2004, which gave a driver 60 seconds of “super boost,”
adding 50 or more horsepower for passing situations. Champ Car
watchers figured a driver would save it until the final lap or
two for a Trophy Dash to the checkered flag.
They didn’t reckon with Paul Tracy.
Starting on the outside pole, Tracy took off at the green flag
and – just as he entered the long Shoreline Drive straightaway
-- punched the “push to pass" button, roaring past surprised polesitter Bruno Junqueira and through the Fountain Turn in the
The move was vintage Tracy and he was never seriously
threatened, leading 78 of 81 laps for his second straight Toyota
Grand Prix of Long Beach crown. He went on to take the checkered
flag at Vancouver, bringing his career win total to 28, good
enough for eight place all-time and only one behind Rick Mears
The Long Beach win was his career fourth, tying him with Mario
Andretti for second place behind Al Unser Jr.’s six. Small
wonder Tracy enjoys coming here!
“I got my first start here (with Dale Coyne in 1991) and my
first win here (with Marlboro Team Penske in 1993),” says
Tracy. “This is such an historic race, loaded with Champ Car
tradition, and to see my name up there with those other
multiple-race winners is something I’m very proud of.”
He’s also rightfully proud of his 2003 Vanderbilt Cup-winning
season, during which he scored seven wins (including three
straight to start the season), six poles and 11 podium finishes.
Which made 2004, when he finished fourth in points, all that
“Yeah, I wasn’t real happy with what happened in 2004, but I’m
really excited about getting back in the car, ” Tracy said at a
recent California Speedway testing session. “We haven’t had any
real problems testing. We’re concentrating on making the car
better than it was last year, and we’re heading in the right
Tracy, a native of Scarborough, Ontario who now resides in Las
Vegas, also got a head start on this season with a one-off drive
at February’s Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.
“It wasn’t about transition for me,” he said. “Champ Car is the
greatest series. I have a good contract with Forsythe Racing and
I could sit back for a few months and relax, but I wanted to get
out and get back to racing.
“And, I want that cup back.”
Tickets for the 31st Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach,
which will run April 8-10, 2005, are on sale now. The Champ Car
World Series will again be the featured racing event. Tickets
can be ordered via credit card by using the toll-free ticket
hotline, (888) 82-SPEED. Tickets can also be purchased on-line
at longbeachgp.com, in
person at one of the Grand Prix ticket offices (3000 Pacific
Ave. or 430 E. First St. in Long Beach).
Ticket prices range from $32 for a Friday/Saturday-only general
admission ticket to $114 for a three-day ticket, which includes
Saturday and Sunday reserved seating on upper levels of the
grandstands. Limited pre-paid parking packages are available and
can be purchased when ordering tickets. Handicapped seating,
Bosch Champ Car Garage passes, hospitality club packages and
super photo tickets are also available for purchase.
For up-to-date ticket information, descriptions of the various
club ticket packages, or for announcements of special Grand Prix
event activities, visit the official Toyota Grand Prix of Long
Beach Web site at
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