Future Cloudy For Tracy
April 21, 2008 | 8:05 A.M. EST
The merger between Champ Car and the IRL has left Tracy without a ride and his finish Sunday in Long Beach at this point is the final checkered flag of his season.
"I mean, obviously it was like a big cobweb, very mixed, and coming into this race, I was racing, I wasn't racing," Tracy said of the last minute deal to bring him to Long Beach for Forsythe Racing, even though there is a contract dispute going on between Tracy and team owner Gerry Forsythe.
"I didn't know if I was going to race," Tracy said. "It was in the hands of lawyers. And usually when it gets in the hands of lawyers, it gets even more messy. But Gerry's lawyer has been very good to work with, with my lawyer.
"We made an agreement to race through this race. From here out after this race, there will be no contract between Forsythe and myself, which is disappointing, because it was my intention this year to go racing with Forsythe, and I think everybody in both series would have liked to have seen that happen. But obviously that's his decision, his right to do that."
Forsythe's decision not to join the newly-unified IRL has left Tracy looking for the next step in his career.
"I guess it could be my last race here as an open-wheel driver," he said. "I want to go racing. This isn't really how I want my career to end. I feel that I kind of woke up -- I had the support and the well wishes of a lot of you guys in the room here. I've talked to a lot of you guys on the phone, and I really just woke up one day about two weeks before the season was to start for the (IndyCar Series) and I realized I'm not going to have a ride; I'm going to be sitting for the year."
Tracy blames the economy for the lack of available sponsorship which has hindered a ride becoming available.
"It's the same for everybody, whether it's NASCAR or -- the economy is bad," Tracy explained. "There's no money out there in Canada and even in the United States. The economy is bad, the stock market is bad. The industry across the board, everybody is hurting.
"I mean, it's not cheap to run an IndyCar or NASCAR. You're talking $6 to $8 million. And at this time of year, to go out and find that, I've had a bunch of go-arounds with a bunch of different companies about doing it and everybody is interested in doing it, but their budgets were set in September of last year. To find a company that can stroke a check for that kind of money, they're a big corporation, a public company, and they just don't write out $5 million checks willy-nilly and send it in the mail to you."
As for what avenues Tracy is considering for the next phase of his career, the Canadian is wide open, even considering NASCAR or Grand Am.
"Yeah, it's something I would give consideration to - it's not my first love," Tracy said. "Open-wheel racing, IndyCar, Champ Car style racing is my first love. It's what I've done since 1991. I would like to continue to do it. Obviously I know there's a shelf life; I'm not going to keep driving for another ten years or anything.
"But I guess for me I would like to do a couple more seasons and help the series establish itself. But like I said, I don't think I'm going to get the opportunity to do that. I'm looking at other things."