Paul Tracy hasn’t ever been one to pull his punches.
The “Thrill from West Hill” was once famously interested in two dust-u.s.with fellow drivers Alex Tagliani and Sebastien Bourdais, going as far as to criticize them for leaving on their helmets all through the confrontations.
While kind of 12 years have handed, the 49-year-old from Toronto— who racked up 31 wins in IndyAutomotive all through his profession — has no regrets about how he treated the incidents. In reality, he believes the sequence’ present drivers are too “vanilla” and “corporate,” unwilling to lend a hand fire up the rivalries important to market the sport.
“I was OK with being the guy that wore the black hat in this series for a long time,” Tracy mentioned in a telephone interview previous this week.
“That’s kind of what the series is lacking, I think, in terms of trying to promote the series — everyone wants to be the good guy and no wants to be the bad guy.”
Tracy, who can be offering remark for NBC’s protection of this weekend’s Toronto Indy, mentioned a few clashes involving driving force Alexander Rossi, together with one with Canadian Robert Wickens, have not been correctly tapped for his or her leisure price.
“[Rossi has] made some aggressive moves, he’s pushed and shoved some guys around, but he doesn’t want to wear the black hat,” mentioned Tracy.
“He wants to be a good guy, but on the race track he’s pretty tough.”
Take the Don Cherry manner
Wickens was once main after 69 laps all through his IndyAutomotive debut on the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in March till Rossi’s strive overtake him despatched him spinning. The 29-year-old from Guelph, Ont, later downplayed the incident, pronouncing he will have to have foreseen the manoeuvre.
A 2d run-in with Rossi at Road America final month triggered a extra harsh reaction, with Wickens calling him “ruthless.” In Lap 1, the American driving force and Wickens crashed wheels, with the latter being despatched into the grass.
But Wickens maintained the 2, who’re buddies off the monitor, do not need to hate every different sufficient to have a contention.
“We’ve had on-track incidents. We’ve spoken our minds in the press, but we kind of get on with life and move on,” he mentioned Wednesday.
Tracy mentioned he spoke to Wickens final week and recommended that the IndyAutomotive rookie undertake a extra Don-Cherry-esque, or vigilante manner, to injustices at the monitor.
“I said, ‘Listen, if you’re tired of getting pushed around, you’ve got to push back,”‘ he mentioned.
“Doesn’t matter what sport you’re in — whether you’re playing football, basketball or hockey — if a guy is going to shove you around and you let them, they’re always going to shove you around.”
‘More than simply racing across the monitor’
Wickens admitted present drivers are compelled to be a “little more vanilla,” however mentioned Tracy was once lively when North American motorsports had upper budgets and he was once given extra rope to specific his fiery persona.
“If one sponsor doesn’t like what you do and they pull out, you don’t have a ride anymore,” mentioned Wickens.
“Back then he had all the tobacco money and they had like unlimited budgets, you could be different, you could be the person you want to be. And I’m not saying I’m not the person I want to be — I’m still being who I want to be — I’ve never fought anyone in my entire life. I think I’ve sparred a couple times at the gym with the helmets and stuff on, but I think that’s as far as I’ve ever gone,” he added with fun.
But Tracy insists a driving force’s efficiency by myself is not sufficient to generate enthusiasts.
“This is more than just racing around the track. A lot of these guys need to realize some of this is entertainment and you’ve got to play up on that to create interest,” he mentioned, mentioning the past due Dale Earnhardt Sr. and F1 legend Michael Schumacher as drivers who have been recognized for his or her sturdy personalities.
“And I think a lot of these guys just don’t want to do that.”