Paul Tracy as he sits in the KV Racing Technology Geico Racing sponsored Dallara. Image Credit: Andy Sallee
Paul Tracy Answers The One Question That Matters
At rookie orientation, a day usually reserved to first time drivers to turn laps at speed before seasoned professionals hit the bricks to show all how it is done, Paul Tracy lays down the quickest lap of the day.
Oh, to run in the 220's on first laps out makes the statement the 40 year old Paul Tracy and team owner friend, Jimmy Vasser were looking to make. Image Credit: Andy Sallee
At 223.069, Paul Tracy showed all who are paying attention that he was ready, and that if this type of performance can be maintained by the Jimmy Vasser led KV Racing Technology Dallara throughout the month of May, he has to be counted on the short list as a favorite to win this 100th edition of the INDY 500.
Question: Is Paul Tracy ready to make a "Crapwagon" perform? YES!!!!
Heck, he had the Geico Racing Dallara pacing at over 220 MPH on just his fourth lap out.
Nelson Phillipe, I Drive Green/HVM Racing drives the #00 Dallara to raise awareness of the need to reduce ones carbon footprint ... 00 stands for zero emissions. Image Credit: Andy Sallee
How the "Rookies" fared (** denotes Transition Player):
1. (15) Paul Tracy, Geico/KVRT Dallara-Honda, 223.089**
2. (16) Scott Sharp, Patron/Panther Racing Dallara-Honda, 221.878
3. (06) Robert Doornbos, NHLR Racing Dallara-Honda, 221.735**
4. (2) Raphael Matos, USAF/Luzco Dragon Racing Dallara-Honda, 218.613
5. (34) Alex Tagliani, King TUT/Conquest Racing Dallara-Honda, 218.333**
6. (24) Mike Conway, DAD'S Rootbeer/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara-Honda, 217.063
7. (00) Nelson Phillippe, I Drive Green/HVM Racing Dallara-Honda, 214.786**
8. (99) Alex Lloyd, Ganassi/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara-Honda, 213.032
9. (98) Stanton Barrett, CURB/Agajanian/Team 3G Dallara-Honda, 207.522
"PT" signing autographs at IMS after setting fastest lap for the day among 9 drivers. Image Credit: Andy Sallee
This excerpted and edited from Racer.com BETA - Paul Tracy’s Indy blog: Tuesday, May 5
Pretty good day’s work, huh?
The other thing I was born to do was compete at the front, and that’s what KV Racing Technologies has employed me to do, that’s why GEICO are on board, and why Monster, CEC Wheels, and so on are with me.
The No. 15 car today was everything that Kevin Kalkhoven, Jimmy Vasser and team manager Mark Johnson told me they’d give me.
Even when we ran race downforce, I was still able to turn a 220mph on my third hot lap. That put us quickest for a couple of hours.
We had a few electronics problems – couple of sensors weren’t working, there was a laser that wasn’t working and a strain gauge that wasn’t working properly, and it took a couple of hours to sort through that.
Then we put some more fuel in, a new set of tires, and ran a 223.1 and went to the top of the charts. Pretty sweet.
That was satisfying for the team: it really reflects their hard work and proves we’re solid as a unit. And of course, GEICO are gonna be pleased, because they didn’t make the show last year.
There’s a long way to go, of course. Track conditions today were about perfect: pretty sunny, light winds, 78 degrees ambient. It’s pretty close to how the weather is being forecast for Saturday qualifying. But still you can’t make a direct comparison or prediction with the weekend situation. There’s not a lot of rubber on the track yet, and this diamond-cut track surface is chomping through the tires pretty quick. You get 24 or 25 laps out of a set right now and as the tires start to wear, the rear-end gets a little bit nervous – the usual stuff. But I’m expecting as the lap count builds up, with more and more rubber going down, we’re going to get more grooves, more lines for us to take, so each session is going to be like an investigation to see how much grip is available and where.
But for today, I’m satisfied. Another thing I was grateful for was the reaction from the spectators. I’m not a race driver who people think needs a lot of loving outside of the team, but I’ve got to confess I was pleased to see so many well-wishers and quite a few excited fans. Also I caught up with Dario Franchitti and Justin Wilson and chatted with them a bit, and obviously Mario Moraes as a teammate is someone I’m gonna be dealing with a lot this month.
... notes from The EDJE