Paul Tracy's tough fitness regiment
Paul Tracy, at age 41, knew he would have to be prepared for the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series. He would be racing against drivers nearly half his age.
So, one of North American open-wheel racing's winningest drivers was ready to bust his butt to get ready to drive the No. 15 Make A Wish/Honda Canada/KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone through the streets of Toronto (July 16-18) and Edmonton (July 23-25).
Tracy, with 31 IndyCar wins to his credit, nearly pulled off a spectacular drive in his hometown last year when he battled for the lead in the prestigious Honda Indy Toronto event before making contact with Helio Castroneves late in the race.
Tracy, his team and all of his fans knew the legendary "Bad Boy" could race with the best in the IndyCar Series. So P.T. planned out his 2010 return with a solid preparation process.
"Jimmy (Vasser, co-owner of KV Racing Technology) told me that I can race with kids," said Tracy. "But I needed to be shape and losing weight would help my speed with the car. So I began a strong fitness program right after the first of the year. I admit I was pretty much a couch potato through the holidays."
Tracy attacked a new physical fitness program just like he pursues a car right in front of him on the race track -- full bore.
Working with his personal trainer Jonathan Vose who designed a special diet menu, Tracy rode more than 30 miles per day on his special $8,000 Cervelo carbon-fiber road bicycle each morning and working with a variety of calisthenics including P90X, sit-ups, pull-ups and stretching.
"I work in the gym in the afternoon after my morning rides," explained Tracy, who has lost nearly 40 pounds since the first of the year. "I really haven't been lifting any weights. But now I work for about 90 minutes in the afternoon. I feel much better and ready to race. At Indy, I was able to ride right with TK (Tony Kanaan) and Vitor (Meira) in training."
Unfortunately for Tracy, the great fitness regimen didn't help him make the 33-driver Indy 500 lineup, as he was bumped from the field on the final day of qualifications. But Tracy returned to competition last weekend as he drove the Dreyer & Reinbold/Honda Canada machine to 14th at Watkins Glen. Tracy was impressive with a Top 12 qualifying spot too.
"It was a good experience for me at Watkins Glen," he said. "We had a huge understeer problem early in the race. But the car was good later and I wish the race was longer. I was happy with my own performance -- I wasn't fatigued, and the Glen is a tough racetrack because of all the long corners and it was pretty hot. But, compared to last year, when I was carrying a thermal jacket of fat, it was a night and day difference for me. I've been doing my training in and around Vegas, so I'm pretty used to the heat. It's been over 100 degrees (F) out there for a while."
Now, Tracy sets his sights for the tough wheel-to-wheel action on the streets of Toronto and Edmonton with his KVRT team and a new body. Last year at Toronto, Tracy drove from 15th to third with 20 laps remaining. At Edmonton, Tracy placed sixth in 2009.
"I'm in good shape and feel ready to challenge again this year. I believe we can be right in the thick of things at the end of the race at both events."