Highlights of Paul Tracy AJ Foyt conference call
Q. I know the press release yesterday said it was only a one-race deal for Milwaukee. What about future races? Is there a timetable to fill your famous 14 for Texas and beyond?
A.J. FOYT: Well, I'm going to talk to Paul and see what he really wants to do. Sure, we'd like to have him for all the races. You know, since Vitor is laid up, he can't do nothing, he was our primary driver. But I've been hurt before and people had to drive for me. You know, racing goes on with or without you.
You hate to be that way, but that's the way racing is. I mean, it's a tough sport. When you hook that seat belt, you don't know if you're going to be the one to unhook it or not. It's nothing new in racing, you know, for somebody to step in. I'm just glad that he was available.
Q P.T., talk a little bit about driving for A.J. Foyt. I know in the press release yesterday, you mentioned he was a driver you kind of emulated coming up the ranks.
PAUL TRACY: For sure. We haven't really had a chance to talk about it a lot. I talked to his son Larry a little bit about it. He asked if I wanted to drive at Milwaukee, and I said sure. And then I was driving across country in my motorhome, made a detour and that went south towards Houston, basically because I found a car on the Internet I wanted to buy. It happened to just be in A.J.'s hometown.
A.J. and I talked early morning yesterday. I was on the phone with A.J., and I had a tire blow out on my motorhome. I was trying to listen to A.J., and I was hanging onto my motorhome, trying to keep out of the ditch (laughter). I had a lot of stuff going on all at once. I had to cut A.J. off, and I never really got a chance to talk to him again 'cause we got hung up on the side of the road for about five hours.
You know, I'm just grateful for the opportunity. And obviously I want to race as much as I can. I'm a race driver that wants to race and wants to win. And A.J. is the same. So we'll see how this weekend goes and then go from there.
Q. Paul, you've raced against A.J., I think it was back in '91. You've sort of tried to model your driving after him, somewhat idolized him. Can you expand on that? Was there a certain event or something that really sort of stuck in you're mind to say, This is the kind of driver I want to emulate?
PAUL TRACY: When I first started with Penske, I was young. I ran a couple times against A.J. at the (Indianapolis Motor) Speedway. I ran against Mario (Andretti), Emerson (Fittipaldi), Rick (Mears). A.J. was the kind of guy, you know, he kind of drives the same way I do. As I've gone through my career, the things that A.J. did in his career, I kind of wanted to do the same.
And I guess I'm kind of the same as Tony Stewart, too. I've gone out and tried different things and tried to be successful at different things, whether it be stock cars or endurance cars. I certainly haven't had the success that A.J. has had in the different formulas. He's been able to win in everything. I've really just kind of specialized in the IndyCars, kind of dabbled a little bit in stock cars and endurance cars.
But, you know, that was one of the reasons why I wanted to do that. I just want look up to A.J. as a driver who could drive anything, anywhere, and win.
Q. Paul, you've been the young guy coming up and racing with some of your idols, guys like A.J. Now you're one of the idols. Now that you've been away for a bit and you're coming back to a series where there's a whole bunch of young guys you've never driven with before, how is it being with all these young guys who are maybe looking up to you?
PAUL TRACY: I don't know if they look up to me or not. I think the attitudes of these drivers has changed. When I came up, when I first started, I mean, I didn't say nothing to anybody. I looked down. You know, I saw A.J., Rick, Mario, I'd look down at the ground like a scared dog.
So the drivers nowadays have big attitudes and they're highly confident in themselves, never think they're wrong about anything. I think if I did some of the stuff that goes on on the tracks today at the age of some of these young kids, running guys, you know, down into the grass and into the pit wall, I mean, if I did that when I was 21, 22 years old to a guy like A.J. or Mario, they'd come down and pull me behind the garage and kick the crap out of me.
You know, that's kind of what goes on on the track now. It's just everybody has gotten way aggressive. You know, guys, you know, they're fighting for, you know, 15th position like it's a win, like it's the last lap, but it's the beginning of the race.