Bit of a struggle, that one. We started okay, I made a couple of places, but I just didn’t have the straightaway speed. I think our gearing was a little bit out of whack, and I think we had the car a little bit too low, so it was bottoming out at the bottom of the hill and that was scrubbing more speed off.
So by the time I got to the Esses and through, guys were ready to go past me as soon as the track straightened out. I was pretty
good everywhere else but I couldn’t hold anyone off on the straights. It was frustrating for me, and everyone at KV Racing, and on the No. 15 GEICO car.
The way everything was playing out, I reckon we’d have ended up ninth or tenth. I had major understeer on the red soft tires, so when I came in for new tires – blacks – I added front wing and that made it oversteery on corner exits, but with still a little bit of understeer on turn-in. It wasn’t surprising that the rear tires went off then. Briscoe and Dixon went by me, so I thought, okay, let’s try and hang on to these guys. I had Viso breathing down my neck at the time, and I started to ask too much of the car and I just lost it.
Thankfully the damage wasn’t that bad: I just knocked the rear wing off and hurt a rear corner. There wasn’t any underwing damage or bodywork damage. No damage to me either – or at least not physically. Bruised the ego a fair bit, and it bugs me that we didn’t finish the race, but what can you do? Slow down and make sure you finish, or try and keep a good pace? I know I’m rusty on roadcourses, like I wrote the other day. I know I shouldn’t be trying to keep up with Penskes and Ganassis in those situations. But I guess instincts die hard.
I hung around to the end of the race, and I made sure I went to Victory Lane to say congratulations to Dale Coyne. He was the man who gave me my first break into CART – hell, that was 1991! – and down the years, he’s said a lot of good things about me, even the seasons when a lot of others were throwing down on me. I appreciate that, and I know he’s made a big effort this year to step up his team, and he’s got the fruits of that.
So I’m in Toronto now – took a road trip with my mom – and got here late last night. It’s only a 250-mile drive and getting near my original home, I started feeling pretty good. Obviously seeing places I know felt good again, but also knowing I'm heading to a track that I know so well means I feel I can give a better account of myself. Suddenly I've got a more positive vibe going; even my workout at the gym felt really good this morning, after getting up quite late by my standards, about 8am. Then I had some things to go over with Jimmy [Vasser] and Kevin Diamond, our PR guru, in terms of the media schedule for this week. I have plenty of media appearances, as you’d guess, and it all starts tomorrow, with Honda who of course are making these Canadian races happen for us, and dedicating it to WoundedWarriors.ca.
That's really about all I have to say. Hmmm, not sure RACER
is going to be happy with such a short blog, but my race sucked. Got nothing to add. What else? Well, I hear Rahal was shouting over his radio during the race that Doornbos should get out of his way. They’re teammates on different strategies, and I guess Rahal was quicker and felt like he was being held up. (I’m not taking sides: I couldn’t care less. I’m only telling you the gossip.) Anyway, I guess Rahal discovered it’s not so easy to pass at Watkins Glen – or not unless the other guy has no straightline speed…
I guess that’s it for today. I'll pad this out a bit more by picking today to say thanks to all of you who’ve been writing in response to these blogs. It’s good to know there are still some fans of mine out there. And thanks also whoever it is at pressdog.com who’s been sending readers over to these blogs. Malsher at RACER
tells me pressdog’s play-by-play notes after the Richmond race were funny but sad at the same time. I guess we all have a bunch of theories about how to fix the series, and media guys can only report on what’s happening – or not happening – out there on track. The decisions about how to improve the racing have to come from further up the line.
Well, although it was hard to pass at The Glen, I hear it was a pretty good race. Just wish I could have made more of a contribution than bringing out the yellows to bunch the field.
Right, I’ll get back to you maybe tomorrow but probably Wednesday and we’ll talk about this Toronto circuit.
Keep the faith.P.T.For Paul Tracy's blogs from July 3 and 4, and all previous P.T. blogs click here