I heard an interview with Paul Tracy today, on radio here in Indy. Here is what I can remember (and these are as close to his actual quotes as I can recall) and some editorial comments from me...
-"I feel its beneath me to be at Indy, walking around the Garage Area, waiting for someone to crash". Beneath you? Are you kidding? Uhh, Paul, the race will go on (somehow) whether you are in it or not. It somehow survived the past 5 years without you and will again this year. Its about being visible and being available, if you are an Indy veteran driver. Most guys, that want to be in the race, are there at IMS, being visible and being available.
-"I don't think I should be at Indy, doing things for the sport, promoting it, things like that, when they haven't done much to help me out". Ahh, yes. Putting yourself above the sport. Selfish and solid reasoning. Maybe it was all those years of tearing down the series and the Indy 500, that a few folks may not be doing cartwheels to find you a car, now that you are desperate, huh?
-"I have more oval experience then 95% of the current Indy field". Really? OK. Evidently, that's not enough to get you a ride though.
-"I don't need to be at Indy, because the people that matter know how to get a hold of me". Yes, its just a stones throw from Las Vegas to Indianapolis. You could probably jump in your golf cart and be there in a few minutes.
Why would anyone (besides the PT fan club members) have any sympathy for this guy? He has done jack squat to get a ride this May. Guys like Jeff Simmons, Jaques Lazier, Alex Barron, John Andretti, Jimmy Kite and Roger Yasakawa have been at Indy basically all month, doing what unemployed drivers have been doing at IMS for decades. Some of them are going to get rides this May. Those guys are actually showing A REAL INTEREST in the event and being one of the 33 competitors for the Biggest Single Day Sporting Event in the World. John Andretti, gave up a couple weekends of his Cup ride, just to be at Indy (when he had no deal for Indy). Since PT flamed out of Busch Racing, he may not realize how special those Cup rides are and how lucrative they are, no matter how small the team is. But, John thought it was special enough, to be at Indy in May. And, amazingly, he is in a car now, trying to make the Indy 500.
I realize this guy has had a terrific racing career in CART/Champ Car. He has a very nice resume and has put up a nice collection of wins. But, in his situation right now, he has no bargaining power. He has no team, no sponsor, and evidently, not much interest. He hasn't been on ovals recently, is nearing 40 years old, has had some real tough years recently in CC, and hasn't been at Indy in 6 years. And, his response is to sit at home, stay as far away from IMS as possible, put forth ridiculous demands (from the level of team to what he should be paid) and then complain that IMS and TG weren't doing enough to find him employment? That is mind-tinglingly stoooopid.
Forsythe screwed him, no question. That happens sometimes in racing. Its happened to better drivers than him over the years. Its too bad Gerald took his billion dollar ball, and went home. And, its too bad PT hitched his wagon with that guy. But, thems the breaks. He got paid like a star, for a series that was losing money by the fist-fulls, so he probably got what he wanted from Gerald over the years.
It really all comes down to this..... If he really, truly wanted to be at Indy this year, he would have a ride. He said tonight that Walker was only about 200,000 short of putting a solid effort together. Hey PT, you got plenty of dough. Why not do, what so many other drivers (some that are better than you) have to do, and write that check and get yourself into a car? You got a nice little going away present from Gerald at Long Beach, didn't you? You can make that money back in no time, especially if you make the race. And, if you show you still have something, it might open the eyes of a car owner to help you keep your career from ending, and you might get a nice new contract with someone, that will pay you a nice salary. But, nope. That would be "beneath" him, again.