A day in the life of Paul Tracy

DEAN MCNULTY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:23 AM ET

Tracy asks if it is all right for him to eat while conducting the interviews.

A lunch of pasta and tomato sauce has been prepared and Tracy heads to the grill to fill his plate. Midway through the media session Tracy excuses himself and goes back for seconds. It will be a long afternoon and he needs the carbs to help him manage.

With the interviews over, Tracy retreats to the back of the tent to a table where his mom Vivian is waiting. She drove down that morning from their Pickering, Ont., home to be at the race for Paul.

She tells her son it took her just five hours, having left the house at 5 a.m. and got to the track just after 10 a.m. She is indeed a race driver's mother.

1:30 P.M.

The next two hours Tracy spends between meet and greets with sponsors, pre-arranged television appearances and consulting with team engineers about the upcoming qualifying session.

One of his chores at this time is to draw a qualifying starting position. There are 11 red and 11 blue bingo-type balls in a bin for the 22 drivers set to race.

Tracy picks a red one and he's is tempted to put it back in because it means he will be part of the fastest group of drivers in the first stint of qualifying.

That is bad news.

Not only is Tracy handicapped by never having raced at the Glen before, but it has been almost a whole year since he last raced on a road course. A double whammy for the Thrill from West Hill.

It almost automatically places him in a position that he won't be in the fast six that will move to the second stage of qualifying.

Tracy says that if he can get in the top 15 he'll be happy.

3:30 P.M.

Tracy's arrival on the front stretch of the track is greeted by cheers from the crowd when he gets into the bright red No. 15 Dallara. He screams out of pit lane anxious to get in as many qualifying laps as possible.

After about six turns around the track, Tracy brings the car in for fresh tires and some minor adjustments.

Back out on the track, Tracy improves on his morning practice time by more than a second, but it is not enough to move him to the fast six.

At the end of the session he is 12th fastest.

By the time everyone has finished final qualifying he is bumped to 15th but moves up to 14th when Newman/Haas/Lanigan driver Graham Rahal fails post-qualifying inspection.

4:15 P.M.

The day is done. Tracy heads back to his hotel for dinner with mom and a good night's sleep to be ready for the next day's race.

DEAN.MCNULTY@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos