Sunday, August 3, 2008

You're still The Thrill

File this under better late then never ... if you didn't catch the Edmonton race last week, you missed a good one. Paul Tracy put on a clinic. In only his second race of the season, and in a car he has never driven before, started 15th and ended up 4th. Just proving the fact that the IRL sorely needs someone like Tracy to give this series the shot of excitement it needs. Check out this article from the Wheels section of yesterdays Star:

To: Paul Tracy
Las Vegas, Nev., U.S.A.
From: Norris McDonald
Toronto, Ont., Canada
Dear PT:
I am writing today to eat my words.
Words that I wrote in a Web-only column published on a couple of weeks ago in which I said this:
"There are reports that Paul Tracy will be in a car for the Indy race in Edmonton in two weeks, which some people will consider good news, but I don't.
"If he was going to drive for Penske or Ganassi or Andretti-Green, I'd say okay, maybe. But Tracy is an aging gladiator (he's 39) who'll likely be in an uncompetitive car (a third Dallara-Honda owned by Tony George and run by Derrick Walker) and I just don't see an upside here."
Paul, I was wrong. Boy, was I wrong.
Last Saturday in Edmonton, you showed the world that you are one of the great drivers of our time. You started 15th in the Rexall Edmonton Indy and you kept your head and you didn't drive over it. You were patient and made all the right moves at the right time and, in the end, you finished fourth.
Yes, I know: you didn't win. But it was a huge victory in my books.
I mean, you've only been in an open-wheel car twice this year – at Long Beach and at Edmonton. And you drove two different cars the two times you were out there: a Champ Car in California and a Crapwagon – oops! old joke, eh? – in Alberta.
The Champ Car drive in April wasn't one of your best, probably because you didn't get a good car. The situation in Edmonton was the opposite: Derrick Walker wants to get back into the bigs as badly as you do, and presented you with a ride that perhaps wasn't capable of winning but was close.
If it hadn't been for some bad luck, you might have qualified further up the grid.
The time you set in the second half of last Friday's qualifying session would have put you in 12th place – at the minimum; the IRL's qualifying procedure being somewhat complicated – but you set it after the checkered flag waved and it didn't count.
Too bad, but that's life and you handled that little setback like the pro you are.
I think the race you drove Saturday was among the three best of your career – the first two coming at Long Beach and at Road America when you were with Team Kool Green in the old CART series. Both times you sliced your way from the back of the pack to win.
They were brilliant drives, but Saturday's performance matched them both because the chips were down and the whole racing world was watching and you could easily have screwed things up – but you didn't.
I take my hat off to you, Paul. Your back was against the wall and you proved that, given the equipment, you can run with the best of them.
As you said, you are heading into the final phase of your career. Yes, at some point you will have to call it a day but by doing what you did last Saturday, you have laid the groundwork to eventually retire with dignity rather than with your tail between your legs.
Good on you. I will never question your judgment again.

No comments: