CHAMPCAR/CART: Paul Tracy MIS NNCS test media interview

Below are quotes from Paul Tracy during his lunch session with the media on Tuesday August 9 at Michigan International Speedway on the second day of testing with Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Nextel Cup. (TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROGRESS SO ...

Below are quotes from Paul Tracy during his lunch session with the media on Tuesday August 9 at Michigan International Speedway on the second day of testing with Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Nextel Cup.

(TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROGRESS SO FAR?)

"We're going through a bunch of different changes for me to try. I'm getting a feel for things and what the different changes are like. The temperature is up now after lunch so we'll put the qualifying setup in. We'll run some qualifying runs this afternoon since that's when we'll qualify when we come back."

(WHAT'S THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STOCK CARS AND A CHAMP CAR?)

"It's really a lack of tires and lack of downforce that you have. A Champ Car here is stuck to the ground and you have to under wing and double the amount of tire. In these cars you feel like you are on top of the track sliding a lot. The huge difference is the size of the tire is that much smaller."

(HOW DO YOU PREPARE TO COME BACK HERE NEXT WEEKEND?)

"Try to stay out of trouble. For me to come back her in two weeks the goal for me is to try to finish the race and get some experience. Also get some knowledge for the team so they can work towards getting their car better for next year so that's what I'm here to do."

(WHAT THE BIGGEST THING YOU LEARNED FROM KEVIN HARVICK WHEN HE WORKED WITH YOU YESTERDAY AND SHOOK DOWN THE CAR?)

"He's got so much experience with the car that he can get in it and go fast. He kind of set a baseline for me and we are there now. It's all about feeling the limit of the tire. It's about keeping the tire just below the limit of the tire so you don't overcook it out there."

(HOW HAVE YOU BEEN RECEIVED DURING THE TEST BY THE OTHER DRIVERS?)

"I talked to Dale (Jarrett) yesterday and met him. I know Jeff (Gordon) a little bit. Jeff said he never thought he would see me drive one of these things. I'm having fun."

(WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE LARGE CANADIAN BASE OF FANS HERE WHEN YOU COME BACK HERE NEXT WEEKEND?)

"We'll see if we come back. Ultimately it's Richard's (Childress) decision and the team's decision whether we come back. I feel that I've done well so we'll see what he says. He's on vacation until tomorrow so I'll talk to him probably tomorrow and they'll make a decision."

(TELL US ABOUT YOUR FIRST RACE HERE IN 1991. WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER FROM THAT RACE?)

"I ended with a broken leg and a scar on my knee in my first race here at Michigan. Hopefully my first race in a Cup car will go a little bit better than that. I've had a good run here. I've done well here and finished second a few times. I also still hold the qualifying record here. Hopefully things will go well."

(WHY CUP AND WHY NOW?)

"I've done about all I can do and accomplished everything I wanted to in Champ Car. I have a lot of victories, 30 of them. I've won a Championship. When this opportunity comes around to get in with a good car, it's really what keeps you motivated. I need to try something different to keep my motivation high. It's my second day in the car. The next step is to see if we can come back here and have a good race. Then after that, I'll really sit down and really think about where I want to go with the rest of my career. Whether it's making a change, which is big in your whole lifestyle, or sticking with what I have now."

(TO EXPAND YOUR RACING CAREER YOU ARE SEEING A LOT OF THE NASCAR GUYS RUNNING IN THEIR FORTIES BUT NOT AS MANY IN OPEN-WHEEL?)

"I'm 36 years old now and the top end of the road is really 40. In anything, to get into any top car, whether it's a Formula 1 car, a Champ Car, or a Cup car, the window of opportunity is so small to succeed. It's a decision I'm going to have to make in the next month or so on what direction I go, but I'm not ready to make it today that's for sure."

(WHAT WOULD BE A GOOD WEEKEND FOR YOU'RE HERE?)

"Qualifying and finishing in the top-20 and on the lead lap would be like winning the race. I have no experience yet with anybody else that is going to be out on the track. That's going to be a whole different deal as well. I haven't even run around anyone here yet. There are 43 other cars out there, so it will be very different."

(WHAT ABOUT GETTING A CHANCE TO RUB NOW FENDERS WITH ROBBY GORDON AGAIN?)

"It will be exciting to run against Robby (Gordon) and some of the other guys I know."

(HOW DO YOU ADJUST FROM A STYLE OF RACING WHERE TOUCHING WHEELS WILL END YOUR DAY TO MORE OF A BUMPING AND GRINDING SERIES?)

"Touching here will ruin your day too. The cars are so sensitive here now so just touching your fender with someone else in the pits will ruin your day. The key is when you see guys win races you haven't seen them touch anyone all day. That's what it takes to keep you real competitive in this series. Another goal would be for me not to get into any situations with anyone."

(DO YOU WATCH MUCH OF THIS RACING ON TELEVISION?)

"I watch all the races. It's just interesting. I see now how sensitive the cars are and how aero sensitive they are. It's really tough to keep the setup on them. You hear that on TV and you think it can't be that tough, but it really is. To keep the thing right is a real handful. We're working with the car a lot today and making fairly big changes. If we do come back here I'll know what it's like to change the track bar a whole two rounds. I'm really just trying to understand what all the changes do. I'm just here to learn and hopefully have a good race"

"Video games give you the opportunity to learn about the track, but it's not the real thing."

(WHEN IS THE DECISION ON WHETHER YOU COME BACK GOING TO BE MADE?)

"I guess you have to ask Dylan, who's the team manager. It's really up to Richard and I guess he's talked to him today already. I'll be ready to go next week, if he (RC) wants to go we'll go.

-www.MISpeedway.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar , NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Paul Tracy
Teams Richard Childress Racing