Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Racing Chatter

Official: Paul Tracy to drive for Vision Racing in Edmonton
Six years after nearly winning the Indianapolis 500, Champ Car hero Paul Tracy will return to the IndyCar Series.
The Canadian star will have what’s currently a one-off ride with Vision Racing
at the Rexall Edmonton Indy on July 26 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Former IRL and Champ Car outfit Walker Racing will provide the manpower, according to The Indianapolis Star’s Curt Cavin.
Considered one of the biggest stars in open-wheel racing, Tracy last raced at April’s Grand Prix of Long Beach in another one-off with his old team, Forsythe Championship Racing.

Tracy to be sponsored by Subway Restaurants for Edmonton
With Subway icon Jared Fogle on hand to help with unveiling, Paul Tracy and Vision Racing team owner Tony George have just revealed what Tracy’s ride will look like at Edmonton later this month: a white, yellow and green paint scheme featuring sponsorship from the sub sandwich giant and the No. 22 on the rear wing.

Paul Tracy and Tony George talk about their past
Tracy: “I think the last time I set foot in the [Indianapolis Motor] Speedway was the day I was told I had no [2002] Indianapolis 500 trophy. That was actually the last time I’d been in the track. A lot of water has passed under the bridge…I was over it the next week, willing at Milwaukee. A lot of time has passed, I won a championship and did a lot of great things in my career. Now, the series is one. With the merger, there have been some people that have been left to the side, but I think it’s [Tony George’s] intention to have the best of both sides competing. I just had to wait for the opportunity to happen.”
George: “I think there’s little question that the last time Paul left here, it was with great disappointment. That was many years ago, it’s been many years since he was here, many years since he’s been back and we welcome him back. We’re happy he could be a part of — giving him the opportunity to participate this year. My sincere belief, this whole year has been about looking forward…Hopefully, this will create an opportunity for Derrick [Walker] and Paul to re-establish themselves in open-wheel racing, IndyCar racing.“For the future, I think as it’s been touched on, more than any time in recent memory, this sport is as competitive as it’s ever been. Paul’s credentials and accomplishments certainly speak for themselves, but i think he — while we try to temper our expectations, I think they’ll go out and give everyone a run for their money…More than anything, my hope is that it can lead to something else this year, and if not, next season.”

Sources: Subway, Kodak in running for IndyCar Series title sponsorship
Subway Restaurants may be in the IndyCar Series for much longer than their one-off run with Paul Tracy on July 26 at Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
In a press release that came over the Sporting News NASCAR wire service, but was apparently written by SportsBusiness Journal’s Michael Smith, the Indy Racing League and its marketing firm, Just Marketing International, have been talking with the sub sandwich giant about possibly becoming the title sponsor for the ICS. You can read the pertinent info by
clicking here and scrolling to the bottom half of the release.
Smith goes on to say that industry sources are also reporting Kodak, a current sponsor for all of Roger Penske’s operations — including the IndyCar Series’ Team Penske — to be a threat for the title sponsorship. Also, a third unknown entity is in the running.
It would appear that Subway has perhaps the “inside line” on this due to stepping up and sponsoring Tracy for his Canadian homecoming later this month, but that’d be reading too much into things at this point. Still, we finally have an idea of what we may be seeing in the future on this matter.
If JMI leader Zak Brown and the IRL’s Terry Angstadt and Greg Gruning can pull this job off, it’ll be a huge obstacle overcome for the IRL, who has not had a title sponsor for its major series since Northern Light left the league after the 2001 campaign. Up to that point, the IRL was known as the Indy Racing Northern Light Series.
We’ll see what happens. I bet a lot of fans will be crossing their fingers over this.

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