Tracy holds out for cash

DEAN MCNULTY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:21 AM ET

It is becoming increasingly probable that Canada's Paul Tracy will miss the July 26 Rexall Edmonton Indy -- the only Canadian stop on the 2008 Indy Racing League calendar.

And this is due -- if one is to listen to IRL insiders -- to the fact that Tracy actually wants to be paid to be a race car driver.

Imagine a professional athlete who puts his life on the line every time he gets behind the wheel of a race car capable of travelling at speeds of more than 200 m.p.h. asking to be paid?

The latest word out of this continent's top open-wheel racing series is that while IRL founder Tony George and team owner Derrick Walker want to get Tracy into a car in Edmonton, neither is willing to pony up Tracy's asking price to get it done.

Tracy, too, has told anybody who wants to listen that he would love to be in Edmonton.

But the Thrill from West Hill has learned in his nearly 20 years of top-level racing that if you work for nothing, that's exactly what people think you are worth.

Earlier this season, he agreed to drive the Forsythe Championship Racing Panoz at Long Beach and according to sources close to Tracy, he has yet to be paid for that adventure.

So he has taken the "fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me" approach to negotiations this time and who can blame him?

Meanwhile, Tracy will be on a track next week at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England to mark Lola's 50th anniversary in racing.

Tracy won his championship driving a Lola and will team up with old foe Sebastien Bourdais and such luminaries as Damon Hill, John Surtees, Carl Haas and Brian Redman to honour Lola founder Eric Broadley MBE, who will be joining Martin Birrane, Lola's current owner, to mark this milestone occasion.

That takes a whole week off the calendar that Tracy -- if he were to get a deal done for Edmonton -- would need to run at least one or more races prior to the Rexall.

And don't forget Germain Racing -- one of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series top teams -- has already signed Tracy to race at the Qwik Liner Las Vegas 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sept. 20 and he will be doing more testing with that team in the coming weeks as well.

TAGS TEAM

There will be two Canadian former Champ Car drivers racing at Edmonton but, like Tracy, neither will be part of the IRL event.

Instead, both Alex Tagliani and Andrew Ranger will be driving the No. 7 and No. 27 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Fords respectively for Dave Jacombs Racing.

And Tagliani, for one, is now saying that he is having so much fun driving stock cars that he is considering fielding a team of his own in the future.

"My mind spins with ideas all the time," he said prior to heading to the Autodrome St. Eustache this weekend for the National Kodak 250.

"This series is going to continue to grow and grow and I want to be a part of it. So much that I think about starting my own team and beginning a driver search program in Canada."

Tagliani always has been at the forefront of exploring new ways to feed his passion for racing and combining that with NASCAR's burgeoning popularity could be a potent combination.

FINISH LINES

It has been a while since NASCAR has witnessed a feud that looks as nasty as the one between Kyle Busch and Juan Pablo Montoya at New Hampshire. Even more surprising was NASCAR not issuing sanctions against the pair after the race ... Patrick Carpentier will attempt to make his first stock car race at Daytona, piloting the No. 10 Auto Value Dodge for Gillett Evernham Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Coke Zero 400. A blown tire in final qualifying at February's Daytona 500 kept him out of that race at the 2.5 mile super speedway ... What does it say for the state of the economy in the U.S. when Chip Ganassi Racing can't find Sprint Cup sponsorship for 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti?


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