Tracy, Fernandez honored on Walk of Fame
Paul Tracy's induction into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame didn't sink in until the Canadian driver took a walk along the street course where he made many of his Indy car memories.
"My first race in an Indy car was (at Long Beach) in 1991 with Dale Coyne and my first win was here," Tracy said. "I was walking across the bridge and said to myself, 'Man, where did all the time go?' I still feel as young as ever. I want to thank all the great teams I've driven for, all the teammates, all the competitors that have spurred me on and the conflict that has spurred me on.
"I'm honored to be in this group in the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame."
Tracy, whose four Long Beach victories is tied with Mario Andretti for second to Al Unser Jr. (six), was joined by Adrian Fernandez in being inducted into the Walk of Fame during the eighth annual ceremony.
Tracy won the 1990 Indy Lights race on the temporary street circuit and recorded CART victories in 1993, 2000, 2003 and '04. The 2003 win was among the seven during the season on his way to the series title. He is tied with Sebastien Bourdais and Dario Franchitti for seventh on the all-time victory list with 31.
"You can't have a great race without having a great city to host it," Tracy said. "I want to thank Long Beach for everything that it does; it's one of the marquee races in the world and a place that I've been very lucky to have won here four times."
Fernandez, one of the most popular athletes ever from Mexico, made his open-wheel debut at Long Beach in 1993 and in 11 appearances had a career best-finish of second (2003). He posted 11 victories in Champ Car and the IZOD IndyCar Series, including the three in the 2004 season.
"I'm humbled to accept this special gift," said Fernandez, who has been a driver, team owner and manager/agent. "As a driver, you put forth all this effort for more than three decades and it's been a fantastic ride. Long Beach has always been a fantastic race and a 'home' track. I remember coming here and seeing so many Mexican fans.
"It's always been the jewel of Indy car street races."
Previous inductees include Jimmy Vasser, Scott Pruett, Galles Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti, Bobby Rahal, Mario Andretti, Al Unser Jr. Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, Brian Redman, New Haas Racing, Chris Pook, Parnelli Jones, and Gary Gabelich.