Tracy to KV Racing?
Paul Tracy inched a step closer to a triumphant return to IndyCar racing yesterday.
The 2003 Champ Car World Series champion is in serious talks with KV Racing Technology about taking over their Indy Racing League car from Will Power who yesterday signed a deal to move to the 14-time Indy 500 winning Penske Racing team for 2009.
He'll replace Helio Castroneves, who faces a criminal trial on charges he evaded taxes on income of $5.5 million US.
KVRT co-owner Jimmy Vasser told Sun Media yesterday he is actively negotiating with Tracy and is seeking American and Canadian corporate support to help make the deal happen.
"I definitely think that PT has a few good years left in him," Vasser said. "I know he has some sponsors that he is working on. I just thought it would be a good idea if we worked together."
Vasser, who is also a former CART series champion (1996), said that Tracy's fourth-place finish at the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton in 2008 showed the 40-year-old still has the will and talent to win at the top levels of open wheel racing.
It doesn't hurt either, Vasser said, that Tracy's personality -- love him or hate him -- would be a terrific draw not only in the races at Edmonton and Toronto but across the IRL calendar.
"I think the series needs him," he said.
Vasser said that even if he is only able to put together a partial sponsorship package for Tracy it might be enough to get the "Thrill from West Hill" back in the series.
"If we can get a certain percentage done for PT ourselves we could maybe take it to (the IRL) to see if they can help," he said.
The current economic climate is an obstacle to getting a deal good enough to lure Tracy away from pursuing other forms of racing, most notably the NASCAR Camping World Truck series.
Vasser said that KVRT is also trying to line up sponsors for Oriol Servia, who drove the second team entry -- partially funded out of Vasser and co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven's pockets -- in 2008.
As a result Vasser said that the team, unless both Tracy and Servia came up with enough sponsorship, will only field one car this season.
"We are not in a position to fund (both) efforts without some backing," he said. "Whichever I can get done first is the one I will go with."
Tracy's deal, however, appears to be further advanced than that of Servia.
Another thing in Tracy's favor is the return of the popular Honda Toronto Indy in July.
"We sure would welcome any inquiries from Canadian companies who would like to come on board," Vasser said. Toronto Sun