Paul Tracy will drive for KV Racing at this year’s Indianapolis 500. It will be the Canadian star’s first race at The Brickyard since 2002, when he lost victory to Penske’s Helio Castroneves in highly controversial circumstances.
The 2003 Champ Car title-winner has been out of a regular drive since the IndyCar Series/Champ Car merger in February last year when his team, Forsythe Pettit Racing, quit topline open-wheel racing. Their final race together was the 2008 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Since then, Tracy’s only IndyCar start was in Edmonton last year, when he raced a Walker Racing-run Vision entry to fourth place.
During the 2008/09 off-season, Tracy, whose last win, his 31st, came at the 2007 Champ Car race in Cleveland, was in talks with KV Racing, but team co-owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser made it clear that a second car, alongside Mario Moraes, would have to be fully-funded. When that didn’t happen, some team members were let go.
However, in a feature for RACER
magazine (May issue), Vasser said: “We’ve retained a lion’s share of the infrastructure to go to a second car immediately… Two cars for the full season looks to be an unlikely prospect, but at the very least, we should have a second car at Indy, and maybe we’ll finish the season with it too.”
It is understood that Tracy is also looking to compete at the Toronto and Edmonton races, at least, and he is regarded as near-essential for the former event to succeed in its comeback year. The Indy 500 deal will be announced on Friday at Long Beach.
Tracy – and most observers – feel he was robbed of victory at Indy in 2002, when IMS stewards judged that he had failed to pass Castroneves before the yellows came out for a Turn 2 accident.