It's not IndyCar racing, but it puts Tracy back behind a steering wheel
IndyCar teams didn't come calling, so out-of-work Paul Tracy landed a new job -- as test driver for Germain Racing in the Craftsman Truck Series, writes John Schwarb.
- At the moment, surprisingly, a NASCAR truck is more of a possibility than an IndyCar Dallara for Tracy's next competitive venture, with his Forsythe Racing Champ Car team opting not to compete in the IndyCar Series and no other opportunities in the circuit available.Tracy, 40, dearly wanted to drive at Indianapolis. He had competed five times prior, most recently finishing runner-up in 2002 (to this day he claims he should have been declared the winner instead of Helio Castroneves with the race ending under caution), and longed for another shot at the missing piece in an otherwise remarkable open-wheel career. But no seats -- or at least none of the top-shelf kind he wanted -- came open.Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO and Vision Racing owner Tony George fielded calls from Tracy's management group but said he wasn't inclined to spend more money for another team, as he ran three cars with Ed Carpenter, Davey Hamilton and A.J. Foyt IV.Walker Racing owner Derrick Walker tried to put together a one-off program but also fell short of money, and Tracy was adamant about not adding any of his own when talking to other teams."The other phone calls I'd gotten, people that were interested in me coming to Indy, the first question was 'How much money can you pay me to drive?'" Tracy said. "I said, 'I'm not going to pay you anything to drive.' Calling up a guy who's a series champion, with 31 wins, the most wins out of any of the drivers that are Indy cars, and asking how much money I'm going to pay to drive? I'm not interested in that."So he watched Sunday's race at home in Las Vegas ("I walked in the door right when Danica had that accident with Briscoe in the pit lane -- that was the most entertaining part of the race," he said), and watching could be his only open-wheel option this year."All of that's kind of unfortunate in all of this. I'm not sure what his prospects are, and I'm not sure what teams, you know, have available seats that would meet his expectations," George said of Tracy at the Indy 500 media tour in April. "I just want him to have the chance to come over now. I don't know how long he wants to do it, probably a couple of years and transition into the next phase of his professional career.[+] EnlargeAP Photo/Mark J. TerrillPaul Tracy, front, leads Alex Tagliani through Turn 3 at the 2008 Long Beach Grand Prix. Tracy finished 11th in the Champ Car finale.
We've got a lot of irons in the fire, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to talk to Paul about it. He's a very talented guy, very interesting, he has a lot of good contacts. The thought of doing something together with him was pretty exciting for us.
-- Bob Germain
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