Notes taken during the CBS broadcast of the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto on 7/9/06.
Welcome to Toronto. It's a street fight. Rollerball on wheels. Bourdais, AJ, Tracy montage. Everyone has something to prove. It's the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford (BPCCWSPF). Recap -- Bourdais won first four. AJ the next two. Paul Tracy has a chance to win one, maybe. Rest of the field, probably not.
Welcome to Toronto. It's a street fight. Rollerball on wheels. Bourdais, AJ, Tracy montage. Everyone has something to prove. It's the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford (BPCCWSPF).
Recap -- Bourdais won first four. AJ the next two. Paul Tracy has a chance to win one, maybe. Rest of the field, probably not.
Video of Tracy going everywhere on the track, including over the top of Bourdais.
Cleveland circus music montage. Carnage. Car shrapnel everywhere. People kicking up dirt, plowing with the front wings.
Rick Benjamin -- The question is what's going to happen to Paul Tracy, the THRILL FROM WEST HILL.?
Tracy -- been real rough aside from Houston. Looking forward to Toronto.
Derek Daly and Rick on camera. Double D -- P.T. under intense pressure. Having a miserable year, "crashing all sorts of cars." Video of PT putting Kasemets into the wall in warm up. That's a warm up of a sort for Paul. He needs to practice hipchecking people into the wall. He needs to be ready when the chance comes up on the course.
DD -- AJ has been slapping everybody around ever since RuSPORT fired him.
That decision is looking better and better all the time!
Jan Beekhus deployed in the pits. Video of P.T. going over Bourdais. Cannot get enough of this video.
Cameron Steele with Justin Wilson. Pole-sitter. Justin -- Being on the pole doesn't guarantee anything. Wilson has finished second four times. Little bit of luck and stay out of trouble and he might win. Justin won it at Toronto last year. Or was it the year before?
"I feel lucky" musical montage.
Michelle Beisner deployed. Has her sleeves on again. Guns hidden. Says Exhibition Place in Toronto very historical. Wars fought here. High tech machinery racing through historic ground.
Staring Lineup: Justin "World's Tallest Open Wheel Driver" Wilson, AJ "The Lone American" Allmendinger, Paul "Rage Issues" Tracy, Oriol "Shake Well before" Servia, Andrew "The Lone" Ranger, Nelson "Lion's Mane" Philipe, Christiano "What's" da Matta, Bruno "Metal Detector" Junqueira, Alex "Freeze" Tagliani, Mario "The Other One" Dominguez, Will "Mr. Discipline" Power, Jan "No Nickname" Heylen, Chuck "Big Z" Zwolsman, Katherine "Show Some" Legge, Speedy Dan Clarke, Tonis Kasemets. 17 whole cars!
No word on the abscence of Nicky Pastorelli. I may have missed it, but I don't believe they said anything about it. He missed the race due to a sponsor pulling out. That, however, is none of our business. Little things like an entire car not making the starting lineup won't be mentioned. Why be a negative nelly? CBS's job isn't to inform viewers, but to make the BPCCWSPF look as good as it can, apparently.
Pre-race. Candian armed forces in Afghanistan gives us the "start your engines." Word to your Candian armored posse. It would have been cool if they would have shot off the tank's gun after they said it. That's what I'm talking about, bay-bee. God I love those Canucks.
Derek breaks it down -- one of the shortest road courses at 1.7 miles, very abrasive, very boompy (bumpy). One of the best street circuits they run.
Jan -- Alex Tag crashed this morning and had to go to the backup.
Let's light this candle. Green, green, green.
No wrecks in turn one! Derek -- "We're safe!" No wrecks in two. Derek -- "We're safe again!" No wrecks in three. DD -- "Remarkably, we're still safe!"
Derek -- Tracy is under pressure to perform here. Didn't want to make any dumb moves on the first corner. Good for him.
Lap 3 -- Jan -- PT doesn't like the Bridgestone red sidewall tires. Only driver to go slower on the reds.
Derek -- Tracy may have been over-driving on the reds. Other drivers are .5 seconds faster on the reds. Paul Tracy may just be over-driving.
DaMatta has struggled in the RuSPORT #10. (The guy who used to drive the #10 is doing OK, though.)
Jan -- Mario has contact on the first lap (color me shocked). Pitting. Replacing the front wings.
Wilson leads. AJ in second.
Lap 5 -- Wilson, AJ, Bourdais, Tracy, Nelson, Servia, Ranger, Junk.
DD -- Concrete walls are freaking him out. Have to have concentration between the walls.
Rick -- Lack of yellows. Are they being more conservative? Derek theorizes that the wide-open spaces at places like Cleveland make drivers brave. Walls help them get real.
Lap 6 -- Wilson still leads.
Lap 9 -- Legge and Clarke battle for 14th! Legge goes under Heylen, Heylen turns in. Legge's nose clips Jan's right rear. We got spinnage. Speedy Dan gets through and then stalls it. Yellow yellow yellow. Cars everywhere. Derek -- "We got a car park down here."
Pace car is out. Derek says it's a "gorgeous Ford GT. What a pace kerrrrrr to have at these Champ Car events."
Michelle Beisner. Guns covered again. She's by the CN Tower. Low angle so you can see the CN Tower above her. They've succeeded in making Michelle look bad. Everything happens within sight of the CN Tower. GP of Toronto activities held down there. Montage.
Lap 11-ish. Wilson, Bourdais, Tracy, Ranger, all pit.
Nelson leads, then Servia, Bruno, AJ, Wilson, Bourdais, Tracy. (Wilson gets passed by AJ in the pits. Media alerted.)
Lap 12 -- Green. Everyone streams around Kasemets.
Derek declares "This is white knuckle stuff here." Coaches us through a turn. "Now brake, brake, downshift, balance, balance, ... " Derek may be flashing back to his driving days.
Lap 14 -- Bourdais and Wilson touch.
DD -- "This is hold onto your hollyhocks time whenever Tracy gets into the back of someone you better be prepared for something to fly off a car. Paul Tracy almost never backs off." Let the record show the HHH reference was on Lap 14.
Derek is clearly warmed up now. Calls AJ a "fireball" and Tracy "the fireball's teammate."
Lap 16 -- yellow yellow yellow. Speedy Dan is sideways and stalled. Replay shows Zwolsman trying to get inside Kasemets who is Mr. Chicane at this point. Zwols didn't see Speedy Dan. Contact ensued.
Dan Clarke Cleveland Flashback to his last-lap brain melt down. Passes Mario, lights the tires, gets sideways, takes them both out, then can't get it going again. Does random donuts and then just pounds the steering wheel -- "We gave him the dunce cap for this move here," Derek says.
DD reminds us that "marbles" are rolled up pieces of ruuuber from the tyres. Marbles are bad because they make your car slide and become uncontrollable.
Nelson and Servia, who stayed out under the first yellow, stay out under yellow. Much speculation and second-guessing on the strategy.
Down to Jan with Michael Cannon, AJ's engineer. Mike says they have to stop one more time. People they are racing with -- Justin, Paul Tracy -- are in the same boat so it's all good.
Lap 18 -- green. Lap 21 Bourdais right up Wilson's rear wing in the brake zone. He may have a bet with his pit if he can tough him with his car's nose but not screw them both up.
Nelson locks up the left side giving Derek an opening to go off about the dangers of "flat spots." He doesn't telestrate a flat spot for us this time, however.
Heylen is like a 1945 electric powerplant --- slow and off line.
Nelson montage -- Milwaukee getting third, Cleveland led late and then had some electrical issues. DD - "When he came to Champ Car people thought 'another snotty-nosed rich kid with daddy's money let's take advantage of him.' He has proven himself."
Allmendinger is second. CBS tries to show us a replay of him passing for second, but instead we see a replay of AJ passing a lapped car. Gripping. Note to Champ Car -- we need more red and white cars that way the entire field could look alike, as opposed to just half the field looking very similar.
Bruno says his engine is sounding funny. Telemetry shows no issues.
Nelson is matching AJ for fast laps.
Down to Vince Kramer, Nelson Philipe's team manager. Vince is telling Nelson to take care of his car. Doesn't think anyone can make it on two stops.
Lap 31 -- Video of Nelson in a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey. Says it's a long race. Just wants to get through turn 1. Feel really, really confident and is aiming for a podium.
Radio to Nelson who is leading -- "Nice and smooth, big guy. Nice and smooth. You're the man."
Rick -- Is Bourdais feeling pressure to stop the American? DD -- Bourdais is in a real fight. (Many people, it seems, are in a "real fight" according to Derek. Virtually everyone on the track is in a "real" a "straight" or a "street" fight.) Bourdais is still trying to get an F1 test.
Lap 35 -- Jan -- expect pitting in the next lap or two. Oriol has a tire going down, will pit now.
Lap 36 -- Nelson pitting. 11.7 second stop. Derek says that was maybe 1.5 longer than they wanted.
Lap 40. AJ, Nelson, Wilson, Bourdais, PT.
Derek does some telestration of the suspension. Drawing a shock absorber on the screen. He's a telestrator wildman.
Jan with Speedy Dan. Dan says he was moving in on fellow rookie Chuck Zwolsman. Chuck reacted and drove into me. That kind thing can happen when race against other rookies. Derek says Zwolsman was making a move on Kasemets and had no idea Dan was there until too late.
Tracy passes Wilson.
Lap 42 -- Jan -- Tracy loves the black sidewall tires. Derek declares that "Tracy is on fire."
Cameron -- Bourdais says he might have front wing issues. Car is loose. Bourdais passes Tagliani. Bourdais is working on Wilson. Wilson is loose when he gets on the power.
Bourdais is about to pass so let's go to the pits so we can watch Tag's stop. ?? Much better than watching someone pass on the course! My viewing is enhanced.
Let's go to the replay to watch the pass we missed when we were watching Tag in the pit. Bourdais goes around Wilson and waves goodbye.
Wilson pitting. Cameron reports talking to Carl Russo off camera. No camera time for Russo this race. He set the record last couple races he can go hungry this race, I guess.
AJ and Tracy are going to pit at the same time. Derek says the black sidewall tires are out. He uses the telestrator to circle a tire laying out in the pits just in case we don't know what a tire looks like.
Everyone in. Bourdais in too. AJ out first. PT then Bourdais. Servia leads by 8 seconds. AJ and PT are on the same tires and fuel. Servia is now up by 10 seconds. Nelson is second.
Michelle -- Reports on Tess Brelia, a 7-year mechanic and front tire changer for Nelson's car. Flings the 20-pound tires around pretty good. Probably has guns like Michelle.
Bridgestone Round and Round ad. Can someone explain these ads to me? If I'm a very cool dancer person I should buy Bridgestones?
Lap 55 -- Oriol pitting. Video of he and Tag hipchecking. Da Matta getting passed.
Lap 56 -- DD -- Ranger is in a crap here (maybe it's a fight, or a street fight). He's in a street fight (I called it!) with Servia and Da Matta.
Lap 59 -- AJ second. Nelson leads. Raise your hand if you think that will last.
Last American to win three straight in Champ Car was Little Al Unser in 1994. Those were significantly different times, however.
Nelson radios that his tires are going off. Derek says Nelson is in "hang-on mode here."
Derek is as impressed with Nelson and what he's done in the last four races as he is with AJ.
Lap 63 -- Jan -- Nelson will be in in two laps. DD -- "Track position is so vital here." Derek, name me a street/road course where track position isn't basically everything.
Derek -- "When Philipe peals off to pit, roll up your sleeves here" because PT and AJ are going to brawl. Nelson in. 8.7 seconds. Nelson has a sports psychologist. Listens to inspirational music before races.
Recap of AJ -- fired, engaged, hired, win.
Michelle -- Big ticket is the drivers' party on Saturday night. She's going with Cedric the Entertainer.
AJ leads by 2.8. Lap 69 -- Katherine Legge is toast. Looks kind of pissed in her pit. KK is in the tent. Replay shows her getting into the marbles and slapping the wall. Down to Katherine -- Not sure what happened. Something broke and understeered and became obvious she was not going to make the corner. Coming together with Jan in the first lap wasn't good. "We'll get there. It's just frustrating."
71 -- Tag pits. Ranger is 7th. MiJack is the meat in a Forsythe sandwich on the track.
Cosworth Power to Pass graphic is totally unreadable. If the names were smaller, it wouldn't even be an eye chart. My viewing is enhanced!
DD -- AJ knows he has the speed to win. Just has to make sure he doesn't get in trouble with lapped traffic.
The THRILL FROM WEST HILL. Tracy is the biggest star name in Champ Car, according to Derek.
Lap 75 -- Down to Neil Mickelwright. Both Forsythe cars can make it. If AJ wins Mickelwright has to shave his head.
10 to go. Yellow-yellow-yellow. Nelson and Oriol are junk. Nelson drove into the back of Servia and they both went smacking off the wall and into the tires. What the? Derek -- "Servia gets it all wrong."
7 to go. Nelson with the hair blowing stunningly in the wind, standing by the safety vehicle, having some water. Oriol with the "WTF?" look on his face.
Jan pulls out some Nietzsche "what doesn't kill ya ..."
Vince Kremer -- Team Mgr with CTE Racing HVM. We needed that position. Looked like we might have a run on him. Hard to tell.
Not real hard to tell that your guy ass-ended Servia. Seems pretty clear. DD speculates that Nelson ran down inside where there are lots of marbles and he couldn't brake very well so he got into the back of Oriol.
Ranger comes out of the pits clapping. For the audience? Might be his last race for a while. Stories of sponsor trouble. Shocker.
Rick -- will AJ be the first American driver since Al Jr. to "turn the trick" and win three in a row? TURN THE TRICK. Somewhere Todd Harris is smiling. Let's hope AJ doesn't turn the trick right on TV.
5 to go. As far as who will win this, this has all the drama of Italy vs. Iceland in soccer. Oh, the drama. Still, Derek is trying to milk it for all it's worth.
"For those of you at home, move back from your television screen because we got five to two and Tracy is a man on a mission right now."
Tracy better worry about Bourdais because he's all up in his mirrors.
Two to go. Holy pigeons! We got birds on the track. They just sit there as AJ swerves around them and finally move when Tracy comes up on them. They must have heard about Tracy. Derek declares that the birds cost Tracy .3 of a second.
White flag. AJ mom and dad get air. His dad is all decked out in the Forsythe racing colors.
AJ wins. Pit guy holds up "We got a hat trick" sign. AJ on the radio -- "You guys, oh my god you guys are amazing." No F bombs this time! Well done.
AJ does donuts. Tracy is second. Down to AJ getting out of the car. Says the whole Forsythe team is absolutely beautiful. Forsythe 1-2, not a RuSport 1-2. I don't think so. (Wait a second, that was definitely a pop on Carl who kept saying it was a RuSport 1-2 when AJ and Wilson were fighting it out in the last two races.) Michael Cannon gets a shout out. Looking forward to Edmonton. May move to Toronto. AJ's fiance is from Toronto.
Note to Carl: it might have been the team, not the driver. Just a thought.
Atlantics montage. We got cars everywhere. Standing start to carnage in the first corner. Circus music. Rahal gets darted. Bobby will be pissed. Note to Bobby: you got an IRL team as well, Sparky.
Cameron with P.T. Good race for him. 1-2 for Forsythe is as good as it gets. Final 5 laps he didn't have enough push to pass left to challenge AJ.
Video of Tracy passing Bourdais. I think this is makeup video because I don't recall seeing it during the race. Bourdais getting passed by Tracy is video worthy. They must have been following Nelson at the time or something.
Jan with Bourdais -- third place car. Took what he could get. Tried to pass on last restart but couldn't get 'er done. Tried to give Tracy room. When Tracy is toward the front he's not as crazy. When he's in 5th or 6th he tends to be more aggressive.
Congrats to Bourdais for being named "driver of the quarter." Who named him that, what organization, is none of our business. Could have been the Toronto Boy Scouts giving him the award for all we know. He is, though, driver of the quarter as judged by someone.
Finish -- AJ, Tracy, Bourdais, Wilson, da Matta, Tag, Power, Junk, Zwols, Ranger, Dominguez, Servia, Nelson, Legge, Kasemets, Heylen, Clark.
Tune in at noon central on July 23 for the Edmundon Hold Onto Your Holyhocks Straight Street Fight.