May 17, 2011
Tracy seeks NASCAR ride
By Dean McNulty, Toronto Sun
While Paul Tracy may be concentrating 100% on making the Indianapolis 500 this month, the Canadian racing icon also is in talks to compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series NAPA 200 at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Aug. 20.
Tracy has signed on with TopSpeed Management to pursue getting the 2003 Champ Car World Series champion a ride in the Nationwide Series’ lone Canadian stop this season.
It is believed Tracy is negotiating with Penske Racing — the NNS championship Dodge team from 2010 — for a ride in Montreal.
Talks are also ongoing with RAB Racing, the same team that won last year’s NAPA 200 with Boris Said behind he wheel of the No. 09 Toyota.
“We are actively seeking a top Canadian company to come on board with Paul for the Montreal Nationwide race,” Brian Marks, CEO of TopSpeed said in a recent interview.
Tracy has a five race deal in the IZOD IndyCar Series with Dragon Racing — owned by Jay Penske — and will attempt to qualify for the Indy 500 for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.
HONDA PULLS SPONSORSHIP
The American Le Mans Series suffered a major blow this week after its 2010 championship team — Highcroft Racing — announced it has lost its manufacturer support from Honda.
The team immediately withdrew from the Le Mans 24 Hours in France.
Team boss Duncan Dayton said the ongoing devastation in Japan as a result of the recent earthquake and subsequent tsunami were to blame for Honda ending its racing partnership.
The team was only planning to run a part-time ALMS schedule this season with Marino Franchitti and David Brabham in any event but it did finish second in the first race of the season at Sebring.
“We certainly appreciate the massive impact the earthquake and tsunami has had on the people of Japan and the huge challenges facing Japanese business,” Duncan said. “It appears this may have contributed to Honda’s decision and we fully respect and understand their position.”
Duncan said the team had been looking forward to competing in Le Mans following its ALMS titles last year and in 2009.
“Everyone was really looking forward to taking the ARX-01e to Le Mans; we really believed the car could have been extremely competitive,” he said. “Le Mans is one of the greatest races in the world, but it requires significant financial and physical resources to compete at the highest levels. Whatever we do, we want to be able to do it properly and it just isn’t viable at this time without proper backing.”
As for the future Duncan said the team is looking for new partners.
“Highcroft Racing is actively seeking new manufacturer relationships and is beginning discussions regarding future programs — both in sports cars and other championships,” he said.
DEAN’S WEEKLY RANT
The first four races of the 2011 Formula One world championship proved one thing — that the bosses of the series were right to urge new regulations that allowed more overtaking on the race track.
The addition of the moveable wings (Drag Reduction System) and the return of the full blown KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) both helped make the races in Australia, Malaysia, China and Turkey the most exciting in years.
So now as F-1 heads to Spain and the Catalunya circuit the FIA is threatening to reduce the advantages gained with the new regulations.
Autosport.com reported Tuesday the FIA told F-1 teams this week it wants to reduce the effect of both the DRS and KERS systems.
Never mind that it is a nonsensical idea to remove devices that have made F-1 racing fun again for both fans and drivers but they are doing it as the series hits Catalunya, the hardest of the traditional road courses to attempt a pass.
Just look at the stats.
Over the past decade there hasn’t been a single pass for the lead.
That means the race is effectively decided on Saturday by whomever wins the pole position.
I don’t know what exactly to call it, but it sure isn’t racing.