Tracy and Kendall become bus drivers Ever wonder what your favorite racecar driver does after recording a Top 10 in the Indianapolis 500? Maybe hop on a Lear 60 and go home to relax, or shoot down to the Caribbean for a few days to celebrate his success? In most cases, you would likely be correct, unless of course you are talking about Paul Tracy, who is certainly the most colorful, unpredictable racecar driver in the business.
If you were driving down the highway yesterday and looked over and thought you saw Paul Tracy driving a bus; you did.
Twenty-four hours removed from driving his GEICO/KV Racing Technology car to a 9th place finish in the biggest race in the world, he began yet another race, in a much bigger vehicle. PT would grab his close friend, racing legend Tommy Kendall, and somehow talk him into embarking on a trip that would cover 1,871-miles from Indianapolis Motor Speedway to Tracy’s front door in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tracy proposed that the two of them drive his bus back to Las Vegas themselves. The crazy thing is that Kendall agreed! Also, please keep in mind that Tracy actually has a motor home driver, who Kendall has affectionately nicknamed ‘Chuckles’.
Nicknamed the ‘GEICO/Thrilla Express’, the trip would begin with ‘Chuckles’ behind the wheel in what Kendall would refer to as a, “demon stint that got us 11 hours up the road.” Tracy, whose nickname is the ‘Thrill from West Hill’ had slightly modified his nickname over the course of the Indy 500 weekend to the ‘Thrilla from da Hilla’. Combining his newly modified nickname with his Indianapolis 500 sponsor GEICO, the trio hit the highway just after the Indy 500 banquet.
Tracy poses with cardboard stand-up
Things would roll smoothly until the 2003 Champ Car champion was behind the wheel of the 45’ motor home in the middle of Texas when the tag axle tire blew out early Tuesday morning. Exhibiting his superior driving ability, Tracy was able to keep control of the vehicle while at the same time negotiating his Milwaukee deal with A.J. Foyt. In what would seem to be a reality show type setting, two of racing’s best, Tracy and Kendall, would find themselves stranded in the middle of Texas. They soon wandered into a local tire dealership where Tracy posed with a life-size cardboard stand-up of Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon.
Faced with a four hour wait for the replacement tire, Tracy and Kendall unlatched Tracy’s Monster truck from the back of the bus and headed off on an adventure that found Tracy purchasing a 1964 Lincoln with suicide doors. The downtime also provided Tracy with the opportunity to complete his deal with A.J. Foyt, resulting in the bus being re-named the ‘ABC Roofing Supply/GEICO Thrilla Express’.
“It’s been fun since we left Indy after the banquet and Tommy (Kendall) has kept everyone updated on Facebook,” Tracy said. “I had my buddies here, so why not? I got the deal put together with A.J. (Foyt) to sub for Vitor Meira this week in Milwaukee and I also bought a ’64 Lincoln with suicide doors, so I would say it’s been a pretty productive trip.”
While the three-man crew would re-take to our nation’s highways four hours after sustaining the flat tire, their trip would take the checkered flag in Phoenix on Wednesday morning. With a new one-race IndyCar deal in place to run Milwaukee this weekend, it was necessary that Tracy abandon the trip and board a flight back to the Midwest.
Leave it to Paul Tracy to drive his own bus from Indianapolis to Las Vegas and along the way buy a 1964 Lincoln and find a job driving in the IndyCar series.
Tracy is nothing if not exciting and the IndyCar Series will surely benefit from his return this weekend at the Milwaukee Mile, where Tracy has recorded four wins.
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