Q. P.T., what is the status of your sponsorship deals going into Toronto and Edmonton? Will you run Watkins Glen before you come to Toronto?
PAUL TRACY: Well, obviously Toronto and Edmonton are the big events of the year really for me. Obviously, Indy is a huge event. But, you know, we're buttoning up the details with our Edmonton and Toronto program. We hope to have that announced here in the next couple weeks. Obviously, it's going to be exciting. I think, again, what we've put together for that is going to be exciting for the fans and a real good opportunity for what we're trying to do.
Q. You ran two strong programs in Edmonton and in Toronto last year. Any doubt in your mind that you will be just as strong coming in a year later?
PAUL TRACY: Well, I mean, obviously I would like to get a race in. It was really Jimmy's idea to go to Watkins Glen. It was my first time there. It was a bit of an uphill swim not knowing the track. It was a two‑day weekend. Very limited track time. It was really kind of a refresher for me to get used to the car, get my seat position right, what I had to do.
We showed up to Toronto and we were competitive all weekend. We would like to have that same opportunity again, but it's just really a matter of dollars and cents. We've got to find the budget to operate that car at the Glen. We're working on that.
Q. You're essentially the "winningest" active driver in IndyCar right now and can't get a full‑time ride. You're scrambling to get sponsorship together to run your home race. Mentally can you talk about what that does to a guy when you've got that fire in your belly but there's that obstacle there? What does that do to you in your head?
PAUL TRACY: Obviously, it's frustrating. That's for sure. You know, when you've been racing as long as I have, been doing it your whole life, it's tough to sit and watch the cars go around. It's especially tough to do it in person, having to go to Long Beach and stand around and watch the cars go.
But it's not for a lack of trying. Obviously I've got to do what I need to do to be ready for these races. Maybe a lot of people don't know this, but we have multiple people working on trying to find sponsorship for myself and KV to operate a car full time. We have a guy who works for Jimmy by the name of Brendon McMannis. He's a full‑time guy for Jimmy. We have Doug Barnett from Player Management who put this GEICO deal together for us and has done other deals for me in the past with NASCAR. We've done a deal with a firm in Canada, a marketing firm, to help us up there. You know, we're turning over every stone and looking around every corner, looking through every bush. But it's difficult.
Q. You look at kids like Robert Wickens, who is trying to raise money. He doesn't have the career or profile you have. What kind of advice can you give to these young kids trying to follow in your footsteps, seeing you kind of struggle just to make it to the racetrack?
PAUL TRACY: Yeah, I mean, it's just tough. The problem that you have now versus what you had in the '80s and '90s, you don't really have a lot of development programs for these young guys coming up like Barry was involved with with Player's and KOOL, where you have young driver development programs. Those type of sponsorships with the tobacco companies have all gone away.
It makes it difficult. A lot of the money has been funneled toward NASCAR. But if you look at NASCAR, there's not a lot of young guys breaking into the sport there, either. The Nationwide and the Truck teams, when a car comes available, they put one of the big stars in it. They don't even really give the opportunity to a young up‑and‑comer. So it's hard nowadays.
Q. Paul, how difficult is it for you to not race this year, then get in a car and drive it and be ready to go?
PAUL TRACY: Well, I feel this year I'm more prepared than I was last year. Obviously, last year the deal to run Indy happened kind of last minute, about a month before. At this point right now versus where I was last year, I'm about 35lbs lighter than I was last year. I've been training. I've had this whole winter to get ready for it. Really that's all I can do other than driving the car. I feel I'm ready to go. Obviously I'll have to use my experience and knowledge of being in the car, being on the tracks to my advantage. That's all I can really do.
Q. Does the Indy 500 track change much from year to year?
PAUL TRACY: I hadn't been there since 2002. Maybe Jimmy can back me up on this. When I got in the car, it came right back to me within a couple laps. We were running over 220 miles an hour within four or five laps. Once I get in the car, I've done this before and I know what to do and I know when a car feels right. If the car's right, I'm gonna get the most out of it.
Q. Barry, I know in the last couple years you came back and did one‑offs when it was still Andretti Green Racing. The car has been the same since '03 with the exception of a few little tweaks here and there. How much has that helped you get your own thought process back up to speed in calling race strategy at the speedway?
BARRY GREEN: No big difference – it helps a little bit. But I'm just sort of the team leader in the group, you know. It's the engineers who have to keep up with all that. I certainly don't get involved in the nuts and bolts. I listen to everything being discussed between the engineers. I'm in every meeting between the engineers and Paul and the team meetings. I might pick up on something that might help, a suggestion one way or the other. But the engineers are the guys who make the decisions, put the tweaks on, figure out how they can make him more comfortable.
I think probably more importantly is Paul, Paul and Barry Green's relationship. We've had some great times together, great laughs. We've been through some tough times together which made us better friends and stronger friends. To me that's the easy part. I think that would be difficult going back and jumping in with a driver I did not know.
I know John Dick very well. He worked for me. Terrific guy. Terrific friend. Jimmy, I've raced against. I think my comfort is with the people and I feel very comfortable about that.
Q. I know the first time you came back there after '02 you said there's times people have a tendency to put too much emphasis on it. You'd like to remember '95 when you helped Jacques Villeneuve come back and win the race...
BARRY GREEN: That was a great race, a great one to remember for me. I have to go back to that was a team effort. The amount of talk that went amongst the group in the pits to come up with a plan and to keep Jacques focused. That's my specialty, are the people.
I think the engineering side we'll leave up to the engineers, and Paul and I will try to mold together and work with the group and see what we can come up with.