Paul Tracy rolls out his new Indy 500 car for practice. (LAT photo)
Since I last blogged, just after Long Beach, life's been hectic. No, make that “completely chaotic.” I've sold my house in Vegas, had to find a new house, close on the house in Vegas, purchase the new house in Scottsdale, Ariz., pack up, close down everything service-wise at the old house like TV and internet and all those administrative things that you have to remember to do, get all those same things set up at the new house, move all the house things, move all the big boys' toys, and then unload everything at the other end. I drove the cars and motorcycles down in trailers, along with trophies, helmets and so on, because the moving company didn't want to do it in case they damaged them.
In between all this, I had to go to Edmonton last week, got home for two days and went back to Toronto three days ago. Got home Wednesday night and had about 12 hours at home, before heading here to Indy. Oh yeah, somewhere in that mix I went back to Vegas to do a two-day video shoot for a 2012 Dodge Charger commercial and I signed a new deal with Rockford Fosgate, a great car audio company that's been going since 1973. It's real top-end stuff. Check out their website and on Twitter.
With this strange schedule, it's pretty predictable that I haven't seen my wife Patty a whole lot, recently. The kids are still at school so she's been having to shuttle back and forth between Vegas and Scottsdale, so that's been a little bit of a strain; our schedules just haven't been meshing, and now I'm at Indy for two and a half weeks. So she's a little bit sore about the situation at the moment. If everything goes well over the next seven days, she'll come out for qualifying, go home, and then come back for the race.
Anyway, you'll kinda understand that getting my No. 23 WIX Filters car out on track, hanging with the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team, talking setups with my engineers and teammates – all of that is going to feel pretty relaxing in comparison with the past four weeks. I'll also be doing some good workouts, because obviously PT's workouts got a bit spotty with all the other crap I've been dealing with; I've really missed the routine of going riding in the morning and going to the gym in the afternoon. I'm pretty sure lifting heavy boxes doesn't substitute for gym work, even if it's pretty freakin' tiring, physically and mentally. But I've been sneaking in cycle rides whenever I can and, down by my new house, I've figured out a little 30-mile loop which has some pretty good climbs in it. My buddy Chuck drove my motor home up to Indy with one of my bikes, so I'm sure me and Tony Kanaan will be doing a lot of cycling over the next couple weeks if the weather's OK.
I'm pretty confident that we can represent WIX Filters and Motegi Racing wheels to a high standard on track as well as in the media. Dreyer & Reinbold has had some good runs at Indy, particularly last year where three of their cars hit the front at some point. I've talked to the team manager Larry Curry a couple of times and to Yves, my engineer, quite a lot over the past week, and they've been at the wind tunnel and a shaker rig down in North Carolina, trying different stuff on the car. They aren't going into this half-assed, or just throwing cars and crews together and relying on hope and luck. D&R is putting a lot of effort into their four cars and obviously the team owners Dennis Reinbold and Robbie Buhl have put a lot of faith in me, and I plan to respond with 110 percent.
So we have a test plan to work through the first couple days and we'll try to get into qualifying mode by mid-week, but the weather's not looking good. In fact, there's a lot of rain in the forecasts over the next seven days, so it's important to make every lap count, make smart decisions, not make any mistakes and hopefully put together a good qualifying car. It's going to be tough this year with 40 or 41 cars out there aiming for 33 places on the grid. By no means can we just show up, lay down four laps and get in; any errors will be critical. But everyone's in the same boat, so I have a lot of confidence that Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and I can make this WIX Filters car into a hot rod. Looks good, too.