|Paul Tracy enters the track at Friday's practice run at Toronto Honda Indy. (Stan Behal/QMI AGENCY)
The plan for Saturday for Paul Tracy is mostly to forget about Friday.
The two-time winner of the Honda Indy Toronto had a miserable pair of practice sessions in the No. 15 KV Racing Technology Make-A-Wish Dallara on the Exhibition Place temporary street course.
Tracy fastest lap of the day was one minute, 4.654 seconds, faster only than perennial back marker Milka Duno’s 1:10.652.
But Tracy did have an excuse.
“We slapped the wall pretty good and had to get the car back to the paddock for repairs,” he said. “By the time we got back on track there were only a few minutes left in practice, so we really didn’t even get on good run in.”
He promises he’ll be better on Saturday
Jacques back at Indy
Canada’s only Indianapolis 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve will be back at the 2.5-mile oval next week — this time in the No. 32 Braun Racing Toyota when he’ll attempt to qualify for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Brickyard 400.
He will join two other former Indy 500 winners, Juan Pablo Montoya and Sam Hornish Jr. in an effort to become the first driver to win on the track in both and IndyCar and a NASCAR Sprint Cup car.
“I am very excited to join Braun Racing at Indianapolis,” Villeneuve said in a team release. “We had a very exciting and solid race last month at Elkhart Lake. I had hoped it would result in additional opportunities to drive for the organization. I have a lot of good memories at the Brickyard. Winning the Indy 500 was a very big highlight in my career. This will be my first venture in a stock car there, but I am confident that we will do well.”
James Hinchcliffe came within one unlucky break — allowing series points leader J.K. Vernay to pass him with a lap to go — two weeks ago from recording his second Firestone Indy Lights race win this season at Watkins Glen International.
On Friday, on his hometown track, Hinchcliffe topped the speed chart in practice rounding the Exhibition Place 2.82 km course in one minute, 6.821 seconds.
That makes him the favourite to capture the pole on Saturday in preparation for Sunday’s race.
“We had a super strong package (at Watkins Glen),” Hinchcliffe said. “They say that in racing it’s better to be lucky than good. That’s what happened at the Glen, J.K. was lucky we were good.”
He said he wants to be both — lucky and good — on Sunday.
Edmonton deal done
The contract that would see Montreal’s Octane group takeover the promotion of the IZOD IndyCar Honda Indy Edmonton has been completed and only awaits the political okay from Edmonton’s city council on Wednesday to be official, several sources told The Toronto Sun on Friday.
“Everybody wants this to happen: The city, the IRL and the big sponsors,” one source said.” City officials really haven’t even talked to anybody else.”
The pressure to get the city-owned Northlands out of the race promotion business has been intense since big loss after big loss has been dumped in the taxpayers lap.
And the Octane group, that promotes both the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix and the NASCAR Nationwide race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, is itching to bring its team to Edmonton to make the race a financial success.
“Look what they have done in just one year in Montreal with the Canadian GP,” another source said. “Right now they have the No. 1 and No. 2 race events in the country. And they really want to make 1-2-3.”