Monday, January 30, 2012

A Farewell Tour For Paul Tracy

Aside from Michael Shank Racing winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona this weekend (good job, Justin Wilson!), there was also the news (long-speculated here) that Paul Tracy was trying to finalize a deal with MSR to run the full 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule. It sounds as if it might necessitate a change to Honda power to secure the deal, but if you need a veteran to shake down the new car, Paul Tracy is about the best option still out there.

There's long been a fear, perhaps crystallizing around the time he missed the Indy 500 almost by fluke back in 2010, that Tracy had overstayed his time in open wheel racing. That the sport had passed him by. In an era where the soap opera of a retiring and unretiring Brett Favre made him a figure of derision, and where athletes routinely outstayed their welcome in a sport to their legacy's detriment, we could only hope Paul Tracy was not headed down the same path.

In an interview Saturday, Tracy affirmed this would be his farewell tour for IndyCar, if he does indeed finish up the full-time ride with Shank. After a nickel-and-dime sort of tour around IndyCar for the past few years, this would be Tracy's first full-time season in American open wheel racing since 2007. One more chance to make a full-season charge, to build up continuity over an entire campaign.

No, he's not a saint, finishing a blameless career on some grand farewell tour. But he has been an integral part of this sport over the last three decades. To finish the Series with a respectable, full-time ride would be a fitting farewell, and a definable part of the transition to the new generation of cars and drivers that make up this Series. Let's hope that farewell tour is made official soon.

3 comments:

  1. Well said, love him or hate him, the mans been a success in open wheel racing and has the stats to back it up. The series is better when Tracy's in it then out.

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  2. Good article! Shared this at the Paul Tracy needs a ride 2012 FB page at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Paul-Tracy-needs-a-ride-2012/256915317704454

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