Paul Tracy was confirmed today as the driver of a KV Racing entry in next month’s Indianapolis 500. Driving No. 15 and sponsored by GEICO insurance, the 2003 Champ Car title-winner will compete in the month of May at The Brickyard for the first time since he was controversially declared runner-up to Helio Castroneves in 2002.
The Canadian was bullish about his chances. He said: “Every year at Indy there are a load of drivers there who just want to make the show, there are a handful who just want to run well and they’ll be happy with a Top 10 finish.
“Well, that isn’t me. I’m in the handful that want to win this thing, and who will do everything in their power to do that, and I know KV Racing shares that same philosophy. We saw last year that KV was the best of the teams transitioning from Champ Car, and Jimmy [Vasser, team co-owner] and Mark Johnson [team manager] tell me that they have been working hard all winter on their superspeedway package.
“So we are hoping that is going to allow us to get up there and fight with Roger Penske’s and Chip Ganassi’s teams. I haven’t been back since the debacle in 2002, when I feel I was cheated out of the win. Is it any surprise that my single focus this year is to win?”
Referring to IndyCar Series sophomore Mario Moraes, KV Racing’s full-time driver, and therefore Tracy’s teammate at Indy, Tracy added: “Obviously Mario is still quite inexperienced, so KV felt its best shot at the Indy win was me, and I felt my best shot was KV. We’re going to fight.”
Vasser’s co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven said: “PT is one of those extraordinary and exciting drivers who still has a lot to give on track and off track. He should have won Indy once already, and we’re happy to give him another chance at it.
“Just because we’re expecting this to be fun – because that’s what working with Paul is like – I don’t want anyone to think we’re not serious about this. We want to win, we’ve worked so hard to win and learn so much about the Dallara over the winter, and so this entry is going to be serious.
Kalkhoven concluded: “We’ve employed one of the great drivers of the last 20 years. Why would we do that if we thought we couldn’t win?”