May 29, 2008
Tracy's wheels greasedSeatless driver back testing
By DEAN MCNULTY -- Sun Media
Never let it be said that Paul Tracy is one to sit around feeling sorry for himself.
The 2003 Champ Car World Series champion was cast aside by Forsythe Championship Racing this season when the series ended with a so-called merger with the Indy Racing League.
And being unable to negotiate a seat at last week's Indianapolis 500, some wondered what was left for the 38-year-old Tracy.
WONDER NO LONGER.
Yesterday, Tracy was testing at Chicagoland Speedway with Germain Racing's No. 30 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Toyota team.
This is a quality outfit, that currently sits on top of the ownership points with its regular driver Todd Bodine. The team also won a series championship in 2006.
Tracy got hooked up with the team through long-time manager Doug Barnette, who has close links to the team as he represents Mike Wallace, who also drives occasionally in the NCTS.
According to Barnette, Tracy has kept the pressure on both himself and his management team to get him something to race this season.
"While it would be easy for (Tracy) to retire and live off the earnings from his Champ Car days, he has instead spent his spare time executing a rigorous training program," Barnette said.
Tracy believes, as do many others in the racing world, that he still has lots left in the tank after more than 15 years of top-level competition.
"I'm still young and I have a great passion for the sport of racing, and I plan to be a part of it for many years to come," Tracy said prior to taking to the track. "This is something that I've committed my entire life to and it has been fun to participate in the many different disciplines of the sport."
He said that however much he might have wanted the Forsythe team to move to the IRL, he has no regrets about where it has left him.
"My situation with Forsythe was unfortunate, but it has opened up so many other opportunities for me and I'm really enjoying my life right now," Tracy said.
He also is well aware that in his previous foray into NASCAR -- in the then Busch Series in 2006 -- he was handcuffed with teams that were not competitive. The Germain team, he said, is different.
"It's a championship team that is committed to winning, so it humbles me to be able to take part in a test and share a Toyota Tundra with Todd Bodine," Tracy said in a statement released by the team. "He is one of the best in the business and I'm looking forward to doing whatever I can to learn from him so that I can experience my own success should I go that direction."
CARPENTIER VS. MONSTER
For Patrick Carpentier, it seems that every week brings a new challenge for the NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie in the No. 10 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge. And this week at Dover International Speedway's Monster Mile is no different.
"I'm fortunate because I have really good teammates," Carpentier said yesterday. "Elliott Sadler and Kasey Kahne have been helping me learn about Dover. I'll also watch in-car footage from the races at Dover last year. Kasey's in-car footage from last year has been in my DVD player for the past week."
Carpentier will have to make the race on speed. The team is outside the top 35 in points, currently sitting 43rd. In every instance where he has been in a position to actually race for a spot this year, Carpentier has made it. But the work involved in qualifying has hurt the team's race-day setup.
"We have to spend so much time and energy just getting into the races that we can't spend the time needed to work on the car," he said.
Still, the GEM team, according to insiders, hasn't given up on the native of Joliette, Que.
"He is very well thought of by the team," the insider said.
STECKLY STICKS IT
Veteran driver Scott Steckly won the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series season opener at Cayuga Speedway Park in his No. 22 Erb Group Dodge.