Paul Tracy made an early race pass for the lead stuck on his way to another win. Tracy was never challenged once in front and began the 2004 Champ Car season just as he did in 2003, with a win.
“You have to make good fuel mileage with the new rules and I have plenty of experience with that kind of strategy,” said Tracy who secured his 27th champ car victory and won at Long Beach for the fourth time in his Champ Car career. “This is a great win for the team and I'm very happy.”
Bruno Junqueira once again had to settle for second place in what has to be a disappointing trend for the Newman/Haas Racing driver. He's finished the last two seasons in second place.
“For sure this is not the result I wanted to get but I'm still happy,” Junqueira said. “We had a very quick car all weekend long but we couldn't catch him. I wasn't expecting that pass by Tracy. Once he got by, I tried to close the gap but I couldn't get close enough.”
Sebastien Bourdais rounded out the podium in third.
“The car was very fast today,” said Bourdais. “I kind of regret not doing more at the beginning of the race though. I had nowhere to go on the inside going into turn one and when I turned into the corner, I lost two positions. It's still important to start well and this is a good result.”
The first attempt at the race was waved off by the flagman giving the drivers a second chance to line up. Going into turn one on lap two the green flag waved, Tracy made a late move to the inside of Junqueira going into turn one to take the lead and that turned out to be the pass for the win. Tracy almost lost control of the car which briefly got sideways, but he held on and moved in front of the Brazilian.
Tagliani got by Bourdais for third while behind the first group of cars, AJ Allmendinger ran into trouble after he ran into the side of another car and spun at turn one. Several cars were collected in the incident and knocked out of the race including Jimmy Vasser, Alex Sperafico and Tarso Marques. Allmendinger was able to resume but now a lap down.
The lap six re-start saw Tracy lead handily over Junqueira. Tagliani slotted into third in front of Bourdais. Justin Wilson had moved up nicely to 8th place on lap 10 and was looking competitive. Oriol Servia had to pit on lap 14 for attention to his car after fluids were reported to be leaking from the gearbox. His day was over.
Junqueira wasn't letting Tracy get away and he shaved the margin to just over a second and a half as the first pit stop window opened. Tracy had to contend with slower traffic on lap 20 and both he and Junqueira got by Roberto Gonzalez without incident. Gonzalez did a nice job letting the leaders by.