|Indianapolis 500 dream reunites Paul Tracy with Barry Green|
|Updated 5/20/2010 12:29 AM ET|
Tracy, who won the 2003 CART championship while former team owner Green was perfecting his sailing skills in semiretirement, is glad to have regained his guiding force, if only for the Indianapolis 500. Green wouldn't be shocked if their one-off effort ended with the Canadian driver drinking the winner's milk, given his competitive fire that stoked many victories — and disagreements.
"We've had a lot of good races together and a lot of arguments," said Green, who in 2002 sold Team Green to Michael Andretti and since has seen it remade as Andretti Autosport in the Izod IndyCar Series. "But I know that if you put Paul in a car, and a good car, you have to consider the possibility he's going to win in it."
That was KV Racing Technology's plan in bringing Green to manage race strategy for Tracy in the No. 15 Dallara/Honda. Ninth last May after a seven-year absence stemming from his controversial 2002 runner-up finish to Helio Castroneves, Tracy is eager to see where Green takes him in his seventh Indy 500 and their first together since that life-changing episode.
While both steadfastly maintain Tracy was leading Castroneves when the race ended under caution — leading to a sometimes-bitter appeal before the outcome was upheld — they have moved on. To hear them talk, it's as if they were never apart, though Tracy had to do more coaxing than he expected to get Green back to Indy.
"He was flattered but said he hadn't done it in awhile," Tracy said. "But the more we talked the more he wanted to race, because in '02 he felt like we got screwed.
"The transition is easy. I don't question his decisions, and I believe in what he can do. There's a camaraderie that comes with people pulling for the same thing. I'm not here just to get in the show or to make money. I'm here to win this race."
Their only beef has been about the weather, which has limited preparations for the race's 94th edition May 30. Tracy ran 11 practice laps on a cool, overcast Wednesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, clocking a best of 221.518 mph to rank 34th of 35 cars.
The team isn't alarmed, because the focus has been on race setup rather than Saturday's pole qualifying, which will comprise today's agenda with a better weather forecast. And as last year's 13th-place start proved, Tracy doesn't need much time to get up to speed.
The Las Vegas resident figures to be even faster now that he's 30 pounds lighter thanks to a training regimen heavy on biking and cardio. Rain has limited his bicycle time as well, but he did squeeze in a 30-mile ride Monday with fellow drivers Tony Kanaan and Vitor Meira.
Tracy aims to be ready in case more full-time work develops beyond Indy. He's close to finalizing sponsorship deals that would allow him to compete in street races in Toronto and Edmonton this summer, a quest that includes hosting a show on the Speed network to keep his name and face on the radar.
One downside to a full ride will be not having Green as the voice in his ear. As much as he's enjoying working with Tracy again, the Australian doesn't miss chasing down sponsorships and solving daily crises. In other words, Green is perfectly happy where he is, helping Tracy be where he wants to be. Unless, of course, Tracy makes another persuasive phone call.
|Posted 5/20/2010 12:12 AM ET|
|Updated 5/20/2010 12:29 AM ET|