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Paul Tracy

Paul Tracy


Paul Tracy (born December 17, 1968 in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada) is a professional driver in auto racing. His nickname is "NutSack" because as he said on the Mitch Melnick Team 990 show "I got a big one" .

Tracy at Laguna Seca in 1993

Fascinated by cars since boyhood, at age 16 in 1985 Tracy became the youngest ever Canadian Formula Ford Champion. Tracy worked his way up through the racing ranks and in the United States he won the 1990 Indy Lights Championship, setting a record with nine wins. The following year, he competed in his first Champcar event at Long Beach, California and at mid-season became a test driver for Penske Racing. He was scheduled to start a select number of races for Penske in 1992 and ended up starting 11 races, many of his starts were as a substitute driver for the injured Rick Mears.

His first full year of Champ Car competition came in 1993 and he won five times with his first win coming at Long Beach and the others at Cleveland, Toronto, Road America and Laguna Seca. Paul led the series in most laps led and was voted most improved driver by his peers. The 1994 season started out slowly for Tracy as he scored just two points in the first four races. He rebounded from his poor start and finished on the podium in 8 of the final 12 races with victories at Detroit, Nazareth, and Laguna Seca. His third-place showing in the points gave Team Penske a sweep of the top-three slots with Al Unser Jr. winning the title and Emerson Fittipaldi second.

Despite three successful seasons at Penske racing, Paul switched to Newman/Haas Racing for the 1995 season. Although he won two races (Australia and Milwaukee) and finished 6th in the championship, Tracy returned to Penske racing for 1996. His return to Penske was a disappointment as he finished the season with no wins and 13th in the championship. A back injury also forced him to miss two races. 1997 was a roller coaster season for Tracy. He won consecutive events at Nazareth, Rio de Janeiro and Gateway, to take the points lead. The season went downhill soon after as he finished 26th or worse in each of the final five events to slip to fifth place in the championship.

Paul drove for Team KOOL Green from 1998-2002

Tracy left Penske racing again to race for Team KOOL Green for the 1998 season. The year was a struggle as he finished no better than fifth in any race and ended up a disappointing 13th in the championship. Several on and off track incidents during the year earned him the wrath of CART officials and he was excluded from the 1999 season opener. Although he missed the first race, Paul still had a very successful season as he recorded seven podium finishes and had victories at Milwaukee and Houston. He finished third in the championship. The 2000 season was also a success for Tracy as he won at Long Beach, Road America and Vancouver and finished fifth in the championship. Paul's fourth year with Green in 2001 was one of the worst of his career as he went winless and finished 14th in the championship. 2002 was another year of struggle for Paul. He did win a race at Milwaukee but failed to finish 10 of 19 races and was 11th in the championship. Tracy returned to the Indianapolis 500 for the first time since 1995 and crossed the finish line first but race officials penalized him, dropping him back to second place after a late-race caution flag that appeared at nearly the same time he passed Helio Castroneves for the race lead. That year, he was voted CART’s Most Popular Driver Award.

Paul Tracy at Denver in 2005

Paul Tracy made his off-season move to the Player’s/Forsythe team for the 2003 season and had one of the best ever seasons in champ car history. He became the first driver in 32 years to win the first three races of a season, scoring victories in St. Petersburg, Monterrey and Long Beach. His other victories came at Toronto, Vancouver, Mid-Ohio and Mexico City. He led 658 laps, earned six poles and ten podiums on the way to his first ever championship. Due to tobacco advertising laws, Players could not return as a sponsor for the following season. At the same time, CART went bankrupt and its assets were auctioned off in an Indiana court. The series was purchased by Kevin Kalkhoven, Paul Gentilozzi and Tracy's team owner Gerald Forsythe. The lack of sponsor money certainly did not help the team and Paul was unable to defend his championship in 2004. He finished fourth in the series and had wins at Long Beach and Vancouver.

The 2005 season started out strong for Paul. He led the points standings after 5 races, winning at Milwaukee and Cleveland. Bad luck and mistakes characterized the rest of his season. He was leading at Toronto when he ran out of fuel and crashed on his own while leading the race at Denver. A hard crash with Sebastien Bourdais at Las Vegas ended his championship hopes. Tracy finished the year 4th in the standings.

Tracy's successful career has him number one in victories amongst all active drivers in Champ Car.

Personal

As of 2005, Tracy currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has two children, Alysha and Conrad. He has a business interest in Spy Sunglasses.

Champcar career results

  • 1991 - Coyne Racing/Penske Racing - 6 points, 21st in championship, best finish: 7th
  • 1992 - Penske Racing - 59 points, 12th, best finish: 2nd
  • 1993 - Penske Racing - 5 wins, 157 points, 3rd
  • 1994 - Penske Racing - 3 wins, 152 points, 3rd
  • 1995 - Newman/Haas Racing - 2 wins, 115 points, 6th
  • 1996 - Penske Racing - 61 points, 13th, best finish: 3rd
  • 1997 - Penske Racing - 3 wins, 121 points, 5th
  • 1998 - Team KOOL Green - 61 points, 13th, best finish: 5th (x3)
  • 1999 - Team KOOL Green - 2 wins, 161 points, 3rd
  • 2000 - Team KOOL Green - 3 wins, 134 points, 5th
  • 2001 - Team KOOL Green - 73 points, 14th, best finish: 3rd (x2)
  • 2002 - Team KOOL Green - 1 win, 101 points, 11th
  • 2003 - Player's/Forysthe Racing - 7 wins, 226 points, 1st
  • 2004 - Forsythe Racing - 2 wins, 254 points, 4th (new points system)
  • 2005 - Forsythe Racing - 2 wins, 246 points, 4th

1 championship, 30 victories

Indianapolis 500 results

  • 1992 - 20th (engine)
  • 1993 - 30th (crash)
  • 1994 - 23rd (turbo)
  • 1995 - 24th (throttle)
  • 2002 - 2nd

See also

List of Champ Car drivers

External links