Wanting to go head-to-head with the defending champion and
series leader, Tracy rushed his car out to the track and started
running fast laps right away. By the time he was done, Tracy had
set a track record, edging Bourdais by .109 seconds Saturday in the
second round of Grand Prix of Denver qualifying.
"It wasn't really our plan. Obviously, I was in the car ready
to go and when we saw Sebastien went, we just decided let's go out
and go head-to-head, you know one-to-one, see if we can beat him,"
Tracy said. "Sebastien did a great lap this morning on fresh
tires, so we knew that we needed to step it up and the time to do
it was while he was on the track."
Tracy broke the track record in preliminary qualifying on
Friday, making it around in 59.759 seconds to secure a spot on the
front row. The 36-year-old Canadian earned a second point by
winning his third pole of the season, finishing in 59.432 seconds
(100.370 mph) to close the gap on Bourdais' series lead to 26
Tracy became the third Champ Car driver to reach 25 career poles
and will start on the front row with Bourdais in Sunday's race.
"It's going to be fun watching these two guys go at it because
they've been having a good battle all year," said Mario Dominguez,
who qualified third. "I'm going to have the best seat in the
Officials tweaked the 1.657-mile course before last year's race,
widening most of the turns and straightaways to create more room
for passing and added excitement for the fans.
The result was 10 track records during qualifying, including
three by Bourdais on the second day. The Frenchman capped the day
with a run of 59.942 seconds, becoming the first driver to break
the 1-minute barrier.
Six drivers went under a minute on Saturday, including three who
eclipsed the record mark Tracy set on Friday.
Bourdais made it around his fifth qualifying lap in 59.541
seconds and Dominguez was .103 seconds behind him. A.J.
Allmendinger joined the sub-minute crowd with a 59.938 seconds on
his final qualifying lap to earn a spot on the second row with
Dominguez, and Justin Wilson (59.962) Jimmy Vasser (59.995) also
came in under 60 seconds.
"It's not easy to be fast on this track," Dominguez said.
"You really have to be on the edge. The track is very slippery,
but it's fun to drive on the edge like this."
Bourdais had it close to the edge during the morning practice
session, turning a lap of 59.3 seconds. But the team decided to
swap out tires and couldn't match the time once qualifying started.
"I'm kind of beating myself up because I think we could have
got the pole going back out with the same set of tires. I guess a
lesson was learned."