VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Paul Tracy answered his critics the best way he could, winning the pole Saturday for the Vancouver Molson Indy.
The Champ Car points leader lost the provisional pole — and the championship point that goes with it — to Bruno Junqueira on Friday when CART penalized Tracy for blocking other drivers late in the qualifying session.
"It's very satisfying," an unsmiling Tracy said after Saturday's qualifying session for the race on Sunday. "Yesterday, I felt we were wrongly stripped of our position and point. They were given to the wrong person. He didn't earn it."
The series "bad boy" — often at odds with CART and other drivers for his aggressive tactics on the track and outspoken comments off it — took no chances Saturday.
Tracy answered after watching 2001 Vancouver winner Roberto Moreno post a fast lap of 1 minute, 1.172 seconds, 104.813 mph to take over the top spot with 26 minutes remaining in the 40-minute session.
Instead of waiting for the traffic-jammed late laps, as the leaders usually do, Tracy took no chances that anyone would accuse him of blocking on the tight 1.78-mile street circuit this time.
Tracy drove his Ford-Cosworth-powered Lola onto the nearly empty track with nearly 18 minutes remaining and quickly got up to speed.
He retook the top spot with just under 15 minutes remaining, turning a lap of 1:01.049, 105.024, then bettered it the next trip around with a 1:00.926, 105.236.
Tracy said his qualifying effort midway through the session was very purposeful.
"I wanted to make sure there was no reason for anybody to complain about anything," he said. "I wanted to get it out of the way and do my talking on the track."
Junqueira came the closest to catching Tracy with a last-second lap of 1:01.070, 104.988, but Tracy wound up heading into Sunday's 100-lap race with his fourth pole of the season and the 17th of his Champ Car career.
Junqueira, sitting next to Tracy at the post-qualifying press conference, said, "What happened yesterday was a very strange thing. I did not want to get the pole that way.
"Today, I really tried to win the pole. I really pushed hard, but Paul was very fast."
The result got Tracy back the point he gave up on Friday and put the Canadian-born driver 15 points ahead of Junqueira in the standings — exactly where he was when the race weekend began.
Both drivers said there will be no reprisals on Sunday.
NASCAR BUSCH 250: Scott Wimmer won the NASCAR Busch 250 at Pikes Peak International Raceway in a race Saturday that saw a track record 15 lead changes. Wimmer led for 70 laps and took the lead for good on the 227th lap by overtaking Jason Keller, who finished 1.045 seconds behind.
"Fortunately, I just got my fender up on his right rear quarter (panel) and he didn't run me into the wall," Wimmer said. "He let me stay up there and I was able to get past."
Wimmer collected $91,920 for his first win of the season. He has won five times in the series.
A track temperature of 139 degrees at the start of the race made for a slick road surface, allowing for the lead changes. Ron Hornaday Jr., who finished seventh, led the most laps with 80.
The racers averaged 108.19 mph, and there were three caution flags for 23 laps.
Bobby Hamilton Jr., who started in the pole position, led for 31 laps but spun out in the 63rd lap when he was tapped in the rear by Mike Bliss.
Hamilton returned to the race and finished 25th.
David Vickers, who started fourth, had his day ended early. On Lap 28, Jeremy Clements spun out in Turn 4, which caused Larry Gunselman to spin. Vickers then hit Gunselman.
The early exit dropped Vickers from third to fifth in the season points race. There were no injuries in either crash.
NASCAR TRUCKS: At Brooklyn, Mich., Brendan Gaughan ran the fastest race in NASCAR Craftsman Truck series history and continued his domination of the circuit by winning Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.
Gaughan averaged 154.044 mph in the Sears 200, his second consecutive victory and fourth in the last seven races. The speed easily eclipsed the previous record of 144.260 by Kurt Busch at California Speedway in 2000.
The victory moved Gaughan to the top of the series standings halfway through the season. Gaughan and Travis Kvapil have 2,000 points each, but Gaughan is leader on the strength of his four wins.
Gaughan, who started sixth in a Dodge, took the lead for the final time on the 80th of 100 laps on the 2-mile track after a round of green-flag pit stops. He extended a nine-second advantage to a final margin of victory of 11.477 — nearly a quarter of a lap — over Ted Musgrave, who also drove a Dodge.
The margin of victory was third-largest in series history.
INDY RACING LEAGUE: At Brooklyn, Mich., Tomas Scheckter wants to duplicate last year's victory at Michigan International Speedway without the off-track drama.
Scheckter earned his second straight pole at the Indy Racing League event Saturday, putting himself in good position to win his second Firestone Indy 400.
Scheckter turned a fast lap of 222.458 mph for his second pole of the season and fifth of his career.
A repeat victory at MIS on Sunday would make Scheckter the third driver in track history to win two straight Indy-style races along with Mario Andretti and Bobby Unser.
Scheckter's first IRL victory came last season at MIS during a week in which he verbally sparred with team owner Eddie Cheever of Red Bull Cheever Racing.
Just before last year's race, Cheever added a third driver, Buddy Rice, and gave his new driver the crew that was working with Scheckter.
Scheckter lashed out at Cheever last year and did so again earlier this season.
Now a member of the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team, Scheckter refused to be drawn into controversy Saturday.