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Tracy takes title in crazy Lexmark Indy 300.

Paul Tracy wrapped up the 2003 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford despite finishing 13th in Sunday's chaotic Lexmark Indy 300 while series rookie Ryan Hunter-Reay claimed an emotional, if unexpected victory for Stefan Johansson's fledgling American Spirit team.

Both Hunter-Reay and Tracy came away ultimately victorious from a day where the pressures of the 2003 title chase were all too apparent from the start.

Both Tracy and his lone remaining Championship rival Bruno Junqueira saw fortunes swing for and against them as some blatant Newman-Haas Racing team orders twice saw polesitter Sebastien Bourdais allow second place starter Junqueira to get the jump at the start of what was originally intended to be a 65-lap race around the 2.795-mile Surfers Paradise street circuit.

Due to Junqueira's outrageous break at the head of the field, CART officials waved off the first start but things hadn't improved much one lap later as the Frenchman again held off the accelerator until Junqueira had edged ahead. To make matters worse, as the field pounded down to turn one under racing speed for the first time, Bourdais nerfed third place starter Tracy into a spin that caused uproar in the PF Racing garage and put the red mist well and truly over the Canadian driver's eyes.

Thankfully Tracy was able to get restarted without losing a lap although the race was already over for Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia, who found himself squeezed into the wall by Adrian Fernandez as the field took evasive action.

When the race resumed again on lap five Junqueira once again got a great jump over Bourdais while Tracy, who took the green flag in 18th position, passed the soon-to-retire Tiago Monteiro and Geoff Boss almost immediately and then deposed of Rodolfo Lavin, Gualter Salles, Jimmy Vasser and Mario Haberfeld before sweeping past Darren Manning for eleventh place going down the back straight on lap seven!

After ten laps Junqueira held a comfortable three-second lead over his obedient teammate with Alex Tagliani, Adrian Fernandez and Mario Dominguez squabbling for third place when the overcast Australian skies began to deposit their first drops of rain.

At first the precipitation was just enough for Junqueira to back off his pace slightly, but as he exited the second chicane on lap 12 the water levels were suddenly greater and he almost snapped into the outside wall. Bourdais, travelling slightly faster in second place, wasn't so lucky and he lost control and smacked the inside wall before spinning across the track, wheels spinning furiously, creating a smokescreen for everyone else.

Luckily Tagliani, Fernandez, Dominguez et al managed to work their way successfully around the stranded Frenchman but while the field ran under safety car conditions the rain quickly worsened into a downpour and within two laps, coin sized hailstones were thrashing pit road.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Paul Tracy and Player`s Forsythe Racing celebrate their season opening victory in St Petersburg.
Paul Tracy, Player`s/Forsythe Racing Lola-Ford, 2003 Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Ryan Hunter-Reay, American Spirit Team Johansson.
Sebastien Bourdais with his son after winning Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
The red flag is waived halting attempts to start Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto on Saturday. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway and Team Owner Ed Carpenter celebrate victory in Race 2 of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais gets a congratulatory hug from team co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven after winning Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Chevrolet sweeps the podium with winner Mike Conway (center), driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. Tony Kanaan (left), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet celebrates his second-place finish. Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates his third-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway on his way to victory in the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway jumps for joy after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway with the winner`s flag after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway receives the winner`s trophy after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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