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Tuesday, July 30
Updated: July 31, 11:16 PM ET
Tracy signing with Forsythe for 2003
By Robin Miller

Paul Tracy
Michael Andretti is all but packed to take his current CART team to the Indy Racing League in 2003 but one of his teammates is staying put. has learned that Paul Tracy is in the process of signing a contract to join Player's/Forsythe Racing in next year's FedEx Championship.

"It's not done yet but Player's made me a great offer," said Tracy, who runs with Dario Franchitti and Andretti in Barry Green's operation, which was sold to Andretti and two other partners last week. "I had a meeting with Michael, Kim and Kevin and they want me to stay with their team but they say they still don't know what they're doing next year.

"I'm prepared to give them more time but time is running out and I've to know where I'm going to be real soon. But I've said all along, I'll do whatever it takes to stay in CART."

The 33-year-old Toronto native is second among active drivers with 19 champ car wins (Andretti is the all-time leader with 42) and wants to remain loyal to a series that is down to 18 full-time cars this season and one engine manufacturer in 2003.

"I'm a road racer and I've made my living in CART for the past 12 years," he said. "I like the challenges of this series, the variety it offers and the demands it puts on a driver.

"CART is going through some hard times right now but I'm not going to jump off the bandwagon because the grass is greener, or supposedly greener, on the other side.

"I owe it to CART, its fans and myself to help push it forward and that's what I intend to do."

Coming off a provisional pole and leading the most laps before finishing second to teammate Dario Franchitti at Vancouver, Tracy was still euphoric about the second of CART's three Canadian races this season (Montreal is later this month).

"There have been a lot of negative people saying a lot of negative things about CART lately but last weekend was a good example of why it's the best open wheel series," he said. "We had great crowds all three days, tough competition and hard racing."

Player's, involved in motorsports for 41 years and responsible for developing Canada's racing talents, currently campaigns Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani but co-owner Gerry Forsythe has been trying to snag Tracy for the past several years. Neil Micklewright, vice president of operations, admitted his team had been talking with "The Thrill from West Hill."

"There have been discussions with Paul and both our current drivers," said Micklewright. "Hopefully, in the next week to 10 days we'll be able to announce our lineup for 2003."

With funding from Honda and possible sponsorship from KOOL, Andretti could run as many as three cars in the all-oval IRL in 2003. But the 39-year-old second-generation star is expected to only compete at Indy and possibly one or two other IRL races prior to May.

Asked by a journalist last weekend at Vancouver if it was his last appearance, Tracy replied: "I'll be back. I guarantee it."

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