Dean of Speed old, fat?

DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:14 PM ET

On Wednesday at 10 a.m., Paul Tracy will take a group of cyclists on a tour of the Honda Indy Toronto temporary street course, mostly to show off his new physique — a 40-pound lighter version of “the Thrill from West Hill” that showed up here a year ago.

Good for him.

But did he have to point out to anyone within hearing distance on Tuesday at the Media Pit Stop Challenge in aid of his Children’s Wish Foundation charity that maybe I might benefit from such an exercise?

OK, I’ll give him the fact I might be slightly overweight — OK, a lot overweight — and a bit older than the average IZOD IndyCar driver. But there he was brandishing a microphone at the Yonge-Dundas Square sharing that opinion with a crowd of hundreds that had assembled to watch a dozen or so media types try to change the tires on Tracy’s No. 15 KV Racing Technology Dallara.

“Let’s see if McNulty can change tires as fast as he can write nasty columns about racing,” Tracy said.

And later he reached over and patted my admittedly ample mid-section suggesting that age and too many meals of fries and burgers at various race tracks around the world have taken their toll.

I used to like it a lot better when Tracy used to refer to me as simply “McNutty.”

Not in a malicious way mind you. In fact, I think if he truly disliked me he would have and could have come up with much more colourful epithets from which to label me.

The nickname was an outgrowth of what he and his race teams sometimes felt were unfair or unfounded criticisms of him in particular, and the former Champ car World Series in general, in my columns.

For the most part, it was sort of a badge of dubious honour.

So when he showed up on Tuesday at the Media Pit Stop Challenge — in which my partner city columnist Mike Strobel and myself managed the fifth fastest time of the day of 15.03 seconds to change two tires— I expected a little more of the same.

But just as he has upped his racing game — Tracy had a terrific weekend at the Camping World Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International 10 days ago — he now has upped his critical assessments of yours truly.

Old and fat, that is.

I appreciate that Tracy did so with that wicked twinkle in his bright blues eyes, but golly, it sort of hurt.

That is until my daughter Natasha — a witness to my humiliation at Tracy’s hands — agreed with him.

So no, that doesn’t mean I’ll be there at the Prince’s Gate at 10 a.m. Wednesday to take up Tracy’s challenge.

I’m afraid one trip around the 2.82-km Exhibition Place track would be way too little and way too late to erase a lifetime of excess in my case.

However, a year from now, without the aid of the high-priced trainers and plush gyms that Tracy has access to, maybe I’ll give that bike challenge a go.


Videos

Photos