Tracy wins Cleveland GP

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Paul Tracy won the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland on Sunday, for the first time since 1993.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:52 IST
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Paul Tracy won the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland on Sunday, for the first time since 1993. When the race began, Tracy was in the front row again on the Burke Lakefront Airport course. The 36-year-old Canadian made it safely through the tricky first hairpin turn. But for the fifth time in six years a car was knocked out after a crash in the course's famed first turn. Things looked good until Ryan Hunter-Reay and rookie Bjorn Wirdheim made contact and spun out. Hunter-Reay was out of the race with a broken front suspension. Trusting the drivers On Saturday, race officials said they would place an orange construction barrel in the opening turn to help eliminate drivers from diving to the inside at the end of the opening straightaway. However, the barrel wasn't used as race director Tony Cotman decided to trust the drivers to behave. A short time later, Justin Wilson cut the turn a little too tight, and spun into Mario Dominguez. But Wilson turned his car around and went on to finish seventh. Fresh trouble Dominguez got into trouble again on lap 38. He went to the pitts to find out the damage was too extensive, and his day was over. Then on lap 50, Wirdheim slammed into the wall. His day was over too. Tracy led the final five laps of the race, which was shortened to 91 laps from 94 to accommodate TV coverage. Starting on the pole again, Tracy finished 3.113 seconds ahead of A.J. Allmendinger, who was immobilized and carried from the track on a stretcher after a nasty crash in qualifying. Allmendinger was cleared to race by Champ medical personnel only a few hours before the start, and recorded his best finish in two years on the circuit. Oriol Servia finished third, Alex Tagliani fourth and two-time defending Cleveland champion Sebastien Bourdais was fifth - 13.262 seconds back of Tracy. After taking the checkered flag, Tracy smoked his wheels to the delight of fans who sweated through an oppressively warm afternoon near Lake Erie. Tracy earned 31 championship points for the win and now leads the series with 128, one more than Bourdais. (AP)

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