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Paul Tracy calls out American racing’s “inconsistencies,” lack of horsepower

Feb 17, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

Honda Indy Toronto - Day 2 Getty Images

Paul Tracy was always worth the price of admission to an American open-wheel race in his heyday. Sadly, the last few years of his career was mainly spent in part-time rides where he needed to outperform the machinery at his disposal, and he never reached the dizzying heights he achieved earlier on.

Still, Tracy was always a good sound bite at any point in his career. And in his first column for the U.K.’s MotorSport Magazine, Tracy’s famous no-holds-barred style shines through once more.

Two parts of American racing stuck out to “PT” in the column: officiating inconsistencies, and the relative lack of horsepower currently appearing for IndyCar.

The last lap of the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the GT Daytona class generated controversy for a call assessed to the Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari team for avoidable contact, later rescinded.

Of it, Tracy said the lack of a clear definition of what constitutes “blocking” led to the call.

“In the end, you just don’t know because there’s not a clear understanding, at least in my eyes, and I know in many other drivers’ minds where the line is drawn,” Tracy wrote.

He added some European drivers struggle to adapt because of that alleged lack of clarity.

“Sometimes guys race hard and there aren’t any penalties and you begin to think it’s fair game,” he explained. “Then somebody is given a penalty for doing the same thing everyone else has been doing. There’s no consistency. I complained through most of my career about inconsistent officiating. I barked up that tree a long time, wasting my energy and breath over many years and never got the resolution that I was searching for.”

Tracy also said the reason some drivers need to over-drive and constantly keep the power down is because there isn’t the same amount of power as there was in the 1990s into early 2000s.

“The CART cars from 15 years ago had 900hp and we were going down Lakeshore Boulevard in Toronto at more than 190mph,” he wrote. “But now the cars are so under-powered that the drivers don’t want to lift off the gas.”

It’s a tough balance for IndyCar and the American sports car championship that raced at Daytona. Officiating consistency is an easier measure to rectify than a power increase, as the power increase takes time to develop a lump that produces greater bhp.

Still, hard not to agree in part with what “The Thrill from West Hill” is saying. Because more power is always a good thing.

  1. manik56 - Feb 17, 2014 at 7:39 PM

    Who complains more? Paul Tracy or Jacque Villeneuve? Hinch, this is your future.

  2. Matthew - Feb 17, 2014 at 9:40 PM

    Reblogged this on Carolina Mountain Blue and commented:
    Say whatever you want about Paul Tracy but the man’s earned his right to speak about motor racing’s inconsistencies and it’s definitely well worth listening to.

  3. biggdaddy007 - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:28 AM

    he’s right indycar sucks compared to cart and f1 hell gp2 puts on a better show

    • indycar02 - Feb 18, 2014 at 5:17 PM

      and there’s dallara with a FAT car and REAR BUMPERS. whats next?.. front wheel guards.

  4. Jeff - Feb 18, 2014 at 5:19 AM

    I enjoy F1 and IndyCar, but the last two years of IndyCar were more exciting than the last two years of F1, and by a long shot too.

  5. biggdaddy007 - Feb 18, 2014 at 5:46 AM

    indycar better then f1 it must of hurt when you fell and hit your head

  6. Jeff - Feb 18, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    Meh, even Bernie said F1 has been boring.

    “The less-than-competitive nature of the final few rounds, culminating in the championship being decided ahead of the races in the USA and Brazil, events which often bring substantial audiences, had a predictable impact on reach,” wrote Ecclestone.–f1.html

  7. indycarseries500 - Feb 18, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    He puts up a few decent points but you can definitely tell he’s still sore IndyCar wouldn’t pay for him to have a retirement tour.

  8. brimab - Feb 18, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    he’s right.

  9. testover6370 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    I think it is definitely fair to say that officiating in American motorsports, be it open wheel, sports cars, touring cars, anything really, has been less consistent overall than officiating in Europe or European-based racing.

  10. testover6370 - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    However, it is fair to point out that in F1 we saw an official penalize a “taxi ride” back to the paddock after a race, when that very same official enjoyed a taxi ride himself back when he was a racer. That incident was a strong contender for 2013’s Officiating Absurdity of the Year.

  11. worknman24hours - Feb 18, 2014 at 7:48 PM

    Inconsistencies-the FIA be thy name.

  12. bigdcart - Feb 18, 2014 at 9:57 PM

    PT is obviously correct about IndyCar’s HP problem. The Lola and DP01 ChamCCars had so much more power than the current DW12 and certainly more the Crapwagons of the TGBB era. Horsepower is an issue that Walker needs to address.

    • indycarseries500 - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:16 AM

      Actually if we’re comparing the spec Cosworth to the current Chevys and Hondas (in road course trim), they have about the same 700-750ish.

  13. givemethehighgear - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:52 PM

    Paul Tracy…see also the teacher and any other grownup in a Charlie Brown tv special….wah wahwah wah wah

  14. colincopier123 - Jun 26, 2014 at 5:51 AM

    Paul Tracy is one of the best out there. Find some of the information highly irrelevant. Can be frustrating reading articles which portray a one sided view. I read an interesting article on racing drivers at <a href="; Optical Express Magazine

    • colincopier123 - Jun 26, 2014 at 5:52 AM

      Sorry please find correct URL here:

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