IndyCar Series: Rexall Edmonton Indy
Topics: Rexall Edmonton Indy
July 26, 2008
THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with our post race press conference, our story of the day, fourth-place finisher, Paul Tracy. Paul, I am sure you're happy with today?
PAUL TRACY: I'm extremely, extremely excited. It's been a long time coming, getting back in a car. You know, I never dreamed in my career that the last final phase of my career would go like this. Obviously, I was under contract to Gerry Forsythe. When they decided not to go racing, that kind of left me hung out. You know, there really wasn't anything out there that interested me in driving.
Derrick Walker and I had been talking, you know, all the way through the summer from Long Beach about trying to put something together and finding sponsorship, working on things. You know, it kept going down dead-end roads.
I was on vacation with my wife and kids in San Diego. We were hanging out at the beach. Derrick said, I think we got something for Edmonton, are you available? I said, Yeah, but I've already made a commitment to go to Goodwood for four days. Then the deal came together while I was there, which was the week before last.
So I flew back early from England on an overnight flight straight to Indianapolis. We made a seat. I got to know the team. Four days later we were at the track.
I went home back to Las Vegas and trained like crazy in the hundred-degree heat for four days. I wasn't in the best shape of my life, like I said this weekend, but definitely was able to carry it through here and was strong all the way through the race.
I'm just really happy for the team, really happy for the sponsor. I think it shows that we deserve to be out here.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Paul, your best lap during the race was the eighth quickest. What do you think about it?
PAUL TRACY: Well, most of the race, I spent the whole race saving fuel, doing fuel mileage. The last stint I really had to do fuel mileage, couldn't really go quick at all.
But, you know, I just kind of -- I knew that I couldn't go at the pace that Helio and Dixon and those guys could go. But I could set the pace of the group that I was with, and that was the group from 3rd to 10th. They were all about the same. So really I was just running my race and pacing myself, you know, making it to the goal line.
The end, the last stint, I really had to make some fuel mileage for a while. Then they turned me loose for a little bit. At the very end they said, You got to slow down again. I was fortunate enough that Oriol had some type of problem or ran out of fuel right at the end and I got him. But that was just really lucky from that standpoint.
But I'll take it (laughter).
Q. I think it was probably after the restart on about lap 25 or 26 that Danica passed you.
PAUL TRACY: Well, she got by me in the pit lane. She had a faster pit stop than a bunch of us, which I was quite surprised. I don't know if she short filled it or not. I don't know where she was in line in terms of when she came in to pit, but she jumped ahead of probably five or six cars in the pit lane. I think it was Oriol got by her. She was running a good pace, and I had to make a move on her. And, you know, just really set her up in the infield and stuffed it down the inside of her and gave her no opportunity to turn into the corner.
Q. Which turn was that?
PAUL TRACY: Turn five.
Q. Can you talk about how much racing there was out there today. There was a lot of good racing out there today.
PAUL TRACY: There was a lot of good racing.
Q. The other part of that question, I mean, you had the same scene pretty much here you had your three years of Champ Car. How much pride do you take in that, the Canadian thing and everything?
PAUL TRACY: No, the racing was great today. There was action all the way through. You know, I was fighting with many different drivers, passed a lot of guys, made a lot of, you know, really daring passes in the infield. My car wasn't so strong in the faster corners where I could run up on guys in the fast corners. So I had to really make my moves in the infield. I did that on Justin. I did it to Hunter-Reay and Danica, Dan Wheldon. They were all done in the tight, twisty stuff, which is hard to get by.
But, you know, it's no secret that my whole career, the most important part of the season for me is always to run in the Canadian races. And right from the beginning of my career, winning the Toronto race in '93, to run well at home was always the focal point of my year.
You know, I think it would have been very, very difficult emotionally to not be a part of an IndyCar race and have to miss out on it. But, you know, I got this opportunity and we cashed in on it. So from that standpoint, I hope the -- the door was cracked open for us. I hope it's wide open for me and Derrick to be able to move forward and doing something long-term.
Q. Would you surprised if that didn't happen?
PAUL TRACY: Yeah, I'd be surprised if that didn't happen after how I showed this weekend (laughter). But, you know, nothing surprises me in motor racing. But a lot of people were saying -- you know, I had many journalists that I'm friends with say, Don't do this, it's going to be a bad deal. You're going to be set up to look bad. They're only using you to sell tickets.
You know, I spoke to Derrick on the phone. You know, he's trying to get back in the game. He said, Look, I'm going to give you the best, everything I got, to make us look good this weekend. So just believe in me.
That's why I took the chance on doing this. For me, it's difficult to hear people say, Well, Paul should just have to come out and pay his dues again, run around at the back, show that he can drive. I showed today what I can do if we got a proper deal.
I'm excited for Derrick and I'm excited for Tony's team. I think the equipment they've got, we've shown them what the level is, where they're at. So hopefully we can continue
Q. I understand you could hear the team on the radio, but you couldn't speak to them. Do you think a lot of the success you had today is because of your experience in situations like this?
PAUL TRACY: Well, I didn't get an opportunity to mouth off back to Derrick (laughter). You know, I had a couple of moments, but couldn't relay them back to him.
But, you know, we were able to communicate. He was very good on the radio. There was no confusion. When they realized they couldn't hear me, he said, Just give me some hand signals, do you need more or less tire pressure, stick your hand in the air if you need more, don't raise your hand if you don't. If you want a wing change, raise your hand or don't raise your hand.
We kind of did it I guess the way the guys like Mario, A.J. and those guys did it back in the '70s when there was no radio. From that standpoint, that was different.
But very well-organized, very well-run race. Just excited for Derrick's team that we were able to get the job done this weekend.
Q. You said last time you wanted to be in the right situation. Given all the hurdles, if you were a betting man, would you bet on yourself?
PAUL TRACY: I felt coming in that I could do a good job. This series has got the best of both groups, you know. You got the top guys in the IRL, which were really top guys at their time in CART. Helio and Dixon, they were frontrunners. You've got the top guys that were in Champ Car. So that doubles the level of top guys.
The last couple years for me have been frustrating, you know. We really struggled the last couple years. I came into this weekend and I learned that guys that were my crew guys and engineers from last year were making bets that I wouldn't crack the top 20, you know, because they felt it was me that was the problem at Forsythe. So that definitely gave me some extra motivation, to prove that, hey, I can still do this. I can run up front with these guys that are a lot younger than me.
I'm not ready to retire. I want to do a few more years of racing, try to help the series and help it grow in Canada. That's what I've stated all along since the merger. So hopefully I'll get the opportunity to do that.
Q. I was watching the morning session outside your pit. I think you came in about three or four times right in a row lap after lap doing full-time pit. Was that just to work with the team?
PAUL TRACY: Yeah. I mean, they do a different strategy in terms of how they call in and out. They use a board and pull it away to leave. We were scrubbing tires, too, because I don't really like to start on stickers and I don't like to run right out of the pits on stickers. So we were just taking the shine off the top of the tires. We were practicing coming in and out because it's been a little while since I've done it.
Q. Speaking of that, the pit stops today were really good.
PAUL TRACY: Everything was good. I was going down the fast lane two of the pit stops and guys came flying out right into the fast lane and I had to go in the grass to avoid getting run into. It could have been a disaster if there was a wall there. But I had to take to the grass to avoid getting run into the side.
But generally speaking, we gained positions in the pits or didn't lose any. So, you know, they did a great job. A couple guys were flying. I had a couple guys on my crew, you know, were from Forsythe. Most of the guys are all Derrick's guys from the Atlantic program.
Q. (No microphone.)
PAUL TRACY: No, they were guys they bet with that came over. We had a couple guys on the Forsythe team that were just weekend guys that flew in for the race weekend. One of them actually lives in Vegas. He's a fireman. He flew in to do this race for me.
Q. How much did you win for your team?
PAUL TRACY: It wasn't big bets. It was only 20 bucks. 500 bucks on another one. But, you know, it's just the point of it. If there was no confidence there now, there probably wasn't last year. So, you know, it's gratifying to me that this is probably one of the best races I've done in the last year or so. It feels good.
Q. Are you at all concerned about fatigue? You mentioned earlier how tough this race is, not having raced most of the season.
PAUL TRACY: I was a little bit. But, you know, I haven't been doing a lot of cardio in the last few months. I've been riding a little bit, a couple days a week, but not like every single day. I've been lifting more weights, you know, than doing cardio. So I was a little bit worried about my cardio for the race. But I think my strength was fine.
You know, obviously with more time to prepare I would have been more prepared, but I only had four days of really hard training cardio-wise to get ready for this race. Other than that, I was pretty happy with how I ran.
Q. Bryan Herta has been brought into Vision Racing to assist on road courses. How did he assist you this weekend?
PAUL TRACY: He really focused on Ed and A.J. I tried to help as much as I could with Ed and A.J. Obviously they had access to our data. So, you know, I think they found what the level of their cars are. And they improved drastically through the weekend. I think they've got a benchmark now.
THE MODERATOR: Paul, we appreciate your time.
PAUL TRACY: Thanks for all the support.
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