Q. Paul, what are you doing training‑wise? 35lbs is a noticeable difference. What have you been doing in the off the season?
PAUL TRACY: Well, I really started, to be honest, about eight weeks ago. I've been pretty busy in the off‑season. I've been filming a TV show for SPEED Channel. It's a car driving show, a high‑end kind of super car show. That's kind of been keeping me busy.
They had sent me some raw footage to watch from one of the first episodes we filmed. I saw myself on TV and I said, "Damn, I got to lose some weight!" You know, I just started riding my bike, going to the gym. I hooked up with the trainer that I had in 2003 when I won the championship.
Really just been putting in about two, two and a half hours on the bike in the morning, training with a trainer in the afternoon for an hour and a half. Really just watching what I eat.
Q. That's 35lbs in eight weeks, or is that from last season?
PAUL TRACY: Eight weeks.
Q. What do you weigh now?
PAUL TRACY: I'm right at about 188lbs.
Q. What's your usual workout regimen?
PAUL TRACY: For me, the stuff I've been doing with the trainer, I ride on the bikes, I train with a couple different guys, train in the morning. They're all bike racers, doing it a long time. When I first started, I couldn't hardly keep up with them. You've got to push yourself every day.
Going to the gym in the afternoon, I really haven't been lifting any weights at all. That seems to put a lot of weight on me. It's really just been a lot of calisthenics. A lot of things you see on commercials on TV, the PX 90, sit‑ups, pull‑ups, not really lifting any weights or dumbbells or anything like that. It's all kind of calisthenics stuff.
Q. What kind of difference does that make in the car when you're 35lbs lighter?
PAUL TRACY: Maybe Jimmy can answer. He knows the difference between now with the weight center, the center of gravity on the car, those are the things that can make a big difference. Want to chime in, Jimmy?
JIMMY VASSER: It gives the race team and the engineers, as Barry was alluding to, another tool to tune the car with weight distribution, which has become very, very important.
There is an equivalency attempt by the IRL to even the weight out. It's really not as accurate as it could be. If you think of the difference between Danica Patrick, who weighs 100lbs, and P.T., who has admitted he was 240lbs‑ish last year when he told me he was 215, just the basic power‑to‑weight ratio is going to be a tremendous advantage.
Not to mention, don't discount all the hours he's putting in and the focus. He knows why he's doing it. He gets to think about why he's doing it. That's the goal of winning the Indy 500. I think that's kind of the intangible with all the hours he's putting in.
The actual science is factual. I can get the engineers to work out an actual lap time. I think Indianapolis, that kind of weight could be as much as a 10th and a half a lap. You just can't get that back.
Q. Paul, I read somewhere that you compared the situation in IRL right now to a bit of a brothel in that you have to show up with the money in order to get a ride. I was wondering, has that made the sport a bit more dangerous, especially on superspeedways when it comes down to cash and still in some cases?
PAUL TRACY: Well, I mean, it's just frustrating to sit back and watch. Obviously, you know, I know that my best years are probably behind me. Obviously, I'm not going to be racing forever. It's tough to see guys like Graham Rahal, [Ryan] Hunter‑Reay, the new generation of this sport. They're young, good‑looking guys. They can't sell the sponsorship in this country to get on the track. Especially with a guy like Rahal, you got a guy who has a father who is a legend in the sport of Indy car racing. He's a part‑timer. It's frustrating, I think, for everybody.
Q. Has it made the action on the track a little bit more dangerous or all the people getting into these cars, do you feel they're qualified?
PAUL TRACY: I haven't raced against the crop this year. Obviously, there's been quite a bit of action on the track. There's been some pretty wild accidents, especially in the first race down in Brazil. Whether that was the track or the condition or wet weather, whatever. But, you know, there's definitely a crop of guys who are experienced and have done this and have won races who are not racing and I feel they should be out there. But obviously it comes down to finding the money to do that.
Q. Paul, you've only experienced "push to pass" when you stood in at Mid‑Ohio last year. Will you be doing what a lot of the drivers are talking about doing, trying not to touch it till the final 20 laps in case there's a late restart?
PAUL TRACY: I think that's always the goal. I've had "push to pass" at various points of my career. Obviously. when you have something that has a time limit on it, you want to save it for when you need it the most. If you don't have to use it, don't use it.
How much difference it's gonna make on a superspeedway, it seemed to be, watching Kansas, a pretty good amount of help. Obviously, you didn't just pull out and blow by a guy, but it seemed to help enable a guy to just get that car just far enough ahead to where he was clear.
Q. Jimmy, when you raced against P.T., the "chrome horn," his personality, that's what we miss the most. Is it kind of ironic to think he's your team leader and the "voice of reason?" Really and truly, the last couple years, he's shown some amazing patience on the racetrack...
JIMMY VASSER: Patience? (laughter) At Toronto, I told him, "Moraes is your teammate at Edmonton, don't crash him out the first corner. He waited till the third (laughter). That's P.T.
PAUL TRACY: That's a big improvement, isn't it?
JIMMY VASSER: Barry knows what I'm talking about. I think Barry has been around the mountain with Paul. Here we are all still together committed and willing to go after it because P.T. is a guy who can win the race.
We don't need to talk too much more about it. He's exciting. He's got a lot of fans because of it. Maybe he's got some people who aren't fans because of it, too. But, hey, we're really excited about this. Yeah, maybe a little more patience, I don't know.
We had a great run in Indy. I think [Tony] Kanaan's ECU put a hole in the underwing. I don't think we had anything for Helio on the day. The car was up there. Paul definitely has the race craft. He knows what it takes.
We're really working hard, not only to put some more races together for this year, but Paul has expressed to me and others, too, that he really wants a couple of seasons or at least one good farewell season. We're working hard to try to achieve that.