Chat with Paul Tracy
Moderator (1:32 PM)
Hey, wer'e here with Paul Tracy and we're ready to take questions.
Paul Tracy (1:33 PM)
Hello, how's it going?
Melissa (kansas city)
Regardless of whether you would want to go, have any IRL teams contacted you about joining them?
Paul Tracy (1:34 PM)
No, no contact from the IRL. I don't think they like me over there.
What do you think of safety in open wheel racing, with recent Brack and Renna accidents? Is it just an oval thing? Is the IRL package more dangerous than CART's? What can be done to improve safety?
Paul Tracy (1:35 PM)
I think the CART package is pretty safe, there's always dangers in racing, but I think the speeds they run at on ovals at 220 mph it's very difficult to have a 100 percent safety record when you're traveling at those speeds. I guess a lot can be done. I think it's definitely more an oval issue.
Hey Paul- What are your thoughts on the cancellation of the Fontana race and subsequent lawsuit. Could/should that have been handled differently? Also, what would have happened if you had not clinched the title at Surfers and it was still up for grabs with Fontana to go?
Paul Tracy (1:37 PM)
I guess that's a question that will never be answered, we had clinched it, as far as I know it was ISC that canceled the race, the CART teams were there ready to run, and it was the track that canceled the race, I don't understand why they feel the need to sue now when it was their decision to cancel the race.
Maria - Cali
Hey Paul, what type of music do you listen too?
Paul Tracy (1:37 PM)
I listen to everything and anything, except country. I'm not big on country.
What is your opinion on Darren Manning having to go to Ganassi and the IRL as there was not enough sponsorship available to pay for a ride for him in CART? Why is a guy like Manning still a 'pay driver'?
Paul Tracy (1:39 PM)
Why is he a pay driver? I guess because he hasn't won anything yet. He did a good job this year, but he hasn't reached the level to get big money. the offer was there from Toyota and Chip Ganassi to get paid big money in that series. He hasn't been in that situation his whole career to make money, and he felt it was time to make some money. You got to make a living.
Kevin (Fremont, OH)
With rumors about Dario and other assorted drivers coming into or back to the series, who would you like to race against next season?
Paul Tracy (1:41 PM)
I think Dario coming back would be good for the series and good for him. I think A.J. Allmendinger would be good for the series, Michael Valiente both coming up from Atlantic, we have new and older drivers possibly coming back, I think the series will be stronger.
Congratulations on the Championship!!! Do you think CART should stick with one engine manufacturer? I think it produced alot better racing this year.
Paul Tracy (1:42 PM)
I think for the short term they need to because they have a reliable package, engines which run for 1200 miles without any trouble which made for good racing. I think in the future, in 05, there's going to be a rules change I think they've talked to a lot of manufacturers about invlovlement in CART. There's a lot of engine makers out there that can't afford to be in F1 and CART would be a viable series for them.
Scott: (Bradenton, Florida)
Paul, what was your favorite win of the season? The hometown win in Toronto?
Paul Tracy (1:43 PM)
I think both Canadian races were important to me, I think the turning point of the season was Mexico City.
Hi Paul! As a rabid CART enthusiast, I'd like to know when us fans can expect to here more announcements on the new sponsors and drivers for the upcoming season. Anything you can divulge?
Paul Tracy (1:44 PM)
All that I can say on our sponsorship, we have a new sponsor for Forsythe Racing, that announcement will be made once we get through our obligations for Player's.
John in Tucson, AZ
Hi Paul, big fan -- The Nascar series owes a lot of success to the development of a "cult of personality' style. Fans, mostly American, can relate to their favorite driver and his colorful competitors, no matter the racing quality. CART seems to lack this aspect of fan relations, your personality exempted of course. Has CART encouraged you to "be yourself", tried to highlight driver rivalries? Clearly North Americans having a little trouble relating to a lot of unfamiliar driver names in the series.
Paul Tracy (1:45 PM)
I don't know if they've ever encouraged me to be myself, judging by some of the fines I've received I would say no. But that's who I am and I don't try to be someone I'm not.
Mikearl: (Des Moines, Ia.)
Paul, first off I'd like to congratulate you on a well-deserved championship. Secondly, I'd like to here your thoughts on the hipocricy displayed by some of the owners/drivers who left CART for the IRL in chase of the manufacturer money being thrown in their faces. Weren't many of these guys the same ones who despised Tony George and his 'vision'? I guess some people just lack the loyalty and integrity you've displayed in sticking with CART.
Paul Tracy (1:46 PM)
I have to agree with you, a lot of the owners, some of the owners, that left for the IRL were on the board of directors for cart. I'm sure they weren't making the best decisions for CART when they knew what their future plans were.
Why doesn't CART do IROC anymore? It seems the series needs the exposure. NASCAR and IRL are there, not to mention NHRA next year and busch and trucks. You guys need to be there!
Paul Tracy (1:48 PM)
It would be nice to be there, but the problem is it usually conflicts with some of our races. It's easier for the IRL to do it because some of the races are at their venues, for us it would mean compromising your race weekend by flying out to do an IROC race while at the same time tryin gto qualify for your race. A lot of the time, your sponsors don't want you doing that when they're paying you to race. It's difficult to do with the scheduling
Indy 2004. Be there!
Paul Tracy (1:49 PM)
Cool, I'll have a beer in my hand.
Congratulations Paul, this was long overdue. I'm 21 and would like to pursue a carrer in open wheel racing what should I do to get started?
Paul Tracy (1:49 PM)
I think the best way is through the Barber Dodge program. They've done good things in North America for people coming from go-karts up.
You get to make cart sked -- determine where the series races (and the oval/road/street breakdown). What's your ideal sked?
Paul Tracy (1:50 PM)
I don't really care what the sked is as longn as it has the strongest races we can have. I'm not in favor of quantity of races if some are not well attended. I think that's what CART is looking at for 04, going to all the strongest venues we have.
Kylie (Torrington, CT)
Hey Paul- Some still see you as the bad boy of Champcars (blocking, attitude) while others think you are the established, beloved veteran who deserved the title. Do you care what others think and how do you view yourself?
Paul Tracy (1:52 PM)
I just view myself as a guy who works hard and gives 110 percent all the time. I don't sit at home and think about what others are thinking about me. I just do my best. Sometimes I make mistakes, and sometimes I win.
Mike (San Antonio, TX)
Congrats on the Championship! Will we ever see Paul Tracy at the Indy 500 again?
Paul Tracy (1:53 PM)
Probably not unless both series are back together. If I'm in CART, I will just concentrate on CART.
Paul, Congrats on the championship. What was the first car you bought with your own money? FYI - Eddie Cheevers was a Fiat. Comment? :)
Paul Tracy (1:54 PM)
My first car I bought with my own money was a chevy blazer 4x4. No comment on Eddie.
Mike (San Antonio, TX)
Hi Paul - Congrats on the Championship! With the recent incidents in the IRL what are your thoughts from a driver's perspective on what, if anything, should be done to make oval races safer for the drivers and the fans?
Paul Tracy (1:56 PM)
You hear a lot of people say speeds need to come down, but winston cup cars run 170-180 and drivers get hurt. I'm not an engineer or aerodynamisist, so I'm not an expert on what needs to be done to fix what's going on in the IRL, but definitely there's work to be done.
CART has its share of Canadian and Mexican drivers and does well in both countries but isn't as popular in the US. Do you think success in the States is even important? Is it tied to having more than just two American drivers?
Paul Tracy (1:58 PM)
I think success in America is important for champ car, we all know it's not very important to f1 to be successful in America. If you go into Mexico, Canada, Europe, NASCAR racing is not very popular at all by comparison to open wheel racing. That's just an American thing to be fascinated by racing with cars your mom drives to the grocery store.
Were you shocked on how good Da Matta was in F1 this year?
Paul Tracy (1:58 PM)
No, I'm not shocked, he's a great driver and drove a great championship in cart last year. He had a very good first f1 season so we're very proud of him.
Steve (Grand Island)
Would ever consider a driving in F1?
Paul Tracy (1:59 PM)
I would if a good opportunity came, but really, I'm too old now. F1 teams are looking for the next Kimi Raikkonen, 21, 22 years old. My time has kind of passed me by.
Congratulations, Paul! Met your Mom a few years back on a flight to Allentown for the old Nazareth race. Wonderful lady and always so excited about your wins. Your folks have always been supportive - how does it feel to bring the championship home to them?
Paul Tracy (2:01 PM)
It's a great feeling not only for me but also for my family. They know how much effort I put in and I know how much effort they put in, especially financially, early in my career. So it's satisfying to my whole family.
You have seen all the info on OWRS. Is CART around in 2004 and beyond?
Paul Tracy (2:02 PM)
Yes, and I will be there.
Brent in DC
From all your years of racing in CART who have been your all time top 3 toughest competitors....? Congrats on the championship !!
Paul Tracy (2:03 PM)
I would have to say drivers I feared the most that were the hardest to race against were Michael, Zanardi and Montoya.
Any comment on the loss of Players to the future Canadian driver development? Do you wish you still had Players on your firesuit in Australia?
Paul Tracy (2:05 PM)
Players has made a huge investment over the last forty years in motorsports, it's sad that the government won't allow them to continue. But now it's time for another company to step up and do what Players has done for Canadian motorsports and drivers.
Paul Tracy (2:05 PM)
Thanks for coming online. I'm looking forward to getting some time off and we'll see you on the track in 04.