Sunday, July 11, 2004

Tracy hoping home track works to his advantage


The Associated Press

TORONTO - Defending Champ Car World Series champion Paul Tracy, 46 points behind leader Bruno Junqueira going into today's Toronto Molson Indy, figures he can't afford to fall further behind as the season nears its halfway point.

"This is my hometown, and this is the biggest race of the year for me," said Tracy, who will start second in the 18-car field.

The race is even bigger this year, as Tracy tries to climb out of a hole for which he at least partially blames nemesis Alex Tagliani.

In the race in Portland, Ore., on June 20, Tracy became irate, saying Tagliani held him up for a dozen laps and cost him a shot at winning. Last week in Cleveland, Tracy got caught up in a crash involving Tagliani and rookie Justin Wilson.

Replays showed Wilson at fault, but Tracy has continued to blame Tagliani for "making it very, very difficult for me to have a real shot at the championship."

But Tracy probably won't have to worry about his fellow Canadian early in today's race; Tagliani will start well behind Tracy in ninth.

History indicates that the street race on the edge of downtown Toronto will be good to Tracy, who won here in 1993 and 2003.

"It's a good place to get something good happening," Tracy said.

FORMULA ONE: Kimi Raikkonen won the pole for today's British Grand Prix at Silverstone, England.

Raikkonen drove his McLaren Mercedes to a lap of 1 minute, 18.233 seconds on the 3.195-mile circuit to earn his third career pole.

Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello, the defending champion, was second in 1:18.305.

Jenson Button of BAR-Honda qualified third in 1:18.580, and six-time series champ Michael Schumacher, going for his 10th victory in 11 races, was fourth in 1:18.710.

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