Oh Canada

Posted by Iannucci | 1/04/2008 | 3 comments »
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Considering this site is entitled My Name Is IRL it should be entirely understandable why there isn’t terribly much discussion of things related to Paul Tracy. The Indianapolis 500 notwithstanding the Canadian driver has never driven in the IRL, and he has never publicly expressed an interest in driving in the IRL. Quite the opposite in fact, and that’s putting it VERY lightly.

But there have been notes made by racing regulars like Robin and Oreo that Tracy has been told by his Champ Car employer that his five-year contract is not likely to be paid (would you please renegotiate, sir?) so the 39-year-old driver is exploring his options. And now Panther Racing says that those options most definitely include the IndyCar series.

Q. John Oreovicz at ESPN has said that if Paul Tracy were to switch to the IRL, Panther would be one of the viable options for him. If PT were to switch, would you guys be interested?
A. (1-3-08) Would we be interested in Paul Tracy? Absolutely. But the word on the street is PT has his sights set on another team, should he elect to join the IndyCar Series. What fans need to keep in mind, though, is that PT is under contract right now.

Q. Any interest in having Paul Tracy in the Panther stable? What are your thoughts on the rumors of him coming over to IRL?
A. (1-3-08) Absolutely we’d be interested in Paul Tracy. But he is under contract with another team. I think his move to the IndyCar Series – with Panther or another team – would be a major score for open-wheel racing and the Indianapolis 500. The biggest question would be: How quickly could the Indy Racing League organize an event in Canada?
Considering he’s quite a bit long in the tooth, the smart money would say Tracy has his eye on a Big Three team. But also considering their rosters are full, the smarter money says he isn’t going to be racing with one of them. As the Panther folks wisely note he is still under contract with Forsythe in the CCWS, so maybe this is just a legal issue that needs to be handled and all of this IRL sniffing is merely to be used as leverage by the only driver of any recognizance in the Other series.

With little else to talk about it’s some fun gossip, but I need to completely disagree with beat writers. If (and that’s a mighty big if) Tracy were to become an IRL regular in 2008 then it would indeed sting the CCWS, but it won’t be the death knell. And conversely while reporters and talking heads would chat up a Tracy defection, when the season got under way the topic would more often than not quickly return to Danica and Helio and Marco and Dixon and Kanaan. Sorry, but unless he does something stupid – and granted, that’s much of where his fame comes from – Tracy would have too much competition for the publicity to be a top name in the IRL.

Perhaps he should consider remaining the big fish in the shrinking pond.

3 comments

  1. Billy Coy // January 04, 2008 1:15 PM  

    I'm so glad the Paul Tracy topic has hit MyNameIsIrl !

    I really hope this comes true !

    Paul is the bad guy I love to cheer for like the old days of Dick The Bruiser vs Bobby "The Brain" Heenan.

  2. mmack // January 04, 2008 3:31 PM  

    Perhaps he should consider remaining the big fish in the shrinking pond

    Jeff, the problem is, which fish in the shrinking pond pays him? Unless you're with Newmann\Haas\Lanigan, it's expected a driver has to bring a little "something-something" (spelled M-O-N-E-Y) to the table to get a ride. Either a paying sponsor or outright ride buying via check, something from the "good-old-days" of CART in the early 1980's. As someone else coldly pointed out in another forum, Tracy is the biggest remaining name in that series and even he couldn't get a sponsor to adorn the sides of his car at Forsythe. And if Robin Miller's story about GF demanding more money from Monster Energy Drinks for sponsorship was true, Paul may be driving for someone dumber than he is. Either that or GF really wanted Paul out for a driver who could bring him money, perhaps even more cash than Monster could bring. In that case, I say good luck Gerry!

    Now, if Paul could bring Monster's cash to Panther, and Panther could cobble up some secondary sponsors, it could be a go. However, I'm afraid Paul could be headed down south to bang fenders and tailgates in the N-word Truck Series, like Johnny and I discussed in another post.

    As much as I'd like to see Tracy in an IRL car and back at the 500, it's still too early to get my hopes up.

  3. pressdog // January 05, 2008 10:33 AM  

    When the shrinking pond goes dry, all fish therein -- big, small or in between -- die.