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

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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class generated controversy for a call assessed to the Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari team for avoidable contact, later rescinded.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.

Here’s what drivers said after Sunday’s INDYCAR race was postponed until Monday

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Here’s what several drenched drivers had to say after Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama was postponed until Monday morning (11:30 a.m. ET, LIVE on NBCSN):

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, 2017 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama winner, 2018 pole winner): “It’s tough because we have so many people that come out here to watch us. We want to put on a good race. We want to put on a show. So calling the race, running around behind the pace car not running, it’s tough, it’s tough to do that. But I think it was the right thing in the end. When we started the race, the conditions were OK. You could run at that level of rain. Then, it intensified right before that first caution. I think when the caution came out, it got to a point where it was just too much. There was too much puddling and pooling of water on every straightaway. Then the rivers started flowing, high-speed compressions in Turns 1 and 2, fast corner, 12 and 13, fast corner where the river starts to form. Just tough. I mean, look, we love racing in the rain. It’s got nothing to do with not wanting to run in the rain, not being able to do that. It’s that this type of track with this water level was too much to race today. We’ve run here in the rain before, but it intensified to the point where you’re starting to get in a situation where it’s going to take it out of the drivers’ hands. What happened with Will (Power), I don’t think is a driver error. I don’t know how anyone is going to drive hydroplaning on the front straightaway. I think you would have had that for the rest of the track, too. A tough situation. Thanks for the fans that came out and supported us. Hopefully we’ll get some people back tomorrow and we’ll get the show in and put on a great event.”

MATHEUS “MATT” LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet):
“Tough day so far. We had some problems with our radio and fuel alarm, but otherwise the car was alright. It was just too dangerous out there, we couldn’t see anything, so I think they made the right call. Hopefully we’ll have a good race tomorrow.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “It’s just a real shame for everyone on the Verizon Chevy team. The car was good and we were doing our best out there, but it was really hard to see anything in front of me. The conditions were just so bad. As soon as I got to the frontstraight, the car just came around, and I tried to keep it off the wall, but it was hydroplaning and there was nothing I could do. I feel bad for the team and for the fans in this weather. Just too bad. Hopefully our luck can turn around when we get to Indianapolis.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Very difficult day for us. In the race we were 13th at the time and we had some electrical issues, so that caused us to pit and we lost a lap. Not the ideal situation, but we don’t give up. There’s still a race tomorrow and we’re going to go for the most points. Anything can happen.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Mi-Jack Honda): “It was a tough beginning, but when we kind of got going it was OK and kind of fun to challenge for a while, but visibility was a major issue today, no doubt. I’m glad that the series postponed it. I would have like to get it in today, but that’s life. We will go racing tomorrow.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 Kerauno / MilitaryToMotorsports.com Honda, Verizon IndyCar Series points leader): “I think definitely the right decision was made to red flag the race. It’s a very difficult position for everyone to be in. It’s never the result that you want, but safety is obviously a priority. I think everyone did a good job considering the conditions of looking out for each other. Not being able to see is not doing anybody any good. It is hard for everyone, but glad that we’re all in one piece and try again later.

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda): “As you could see on TV, if you couldn’t see the car, it was probably three times worse in the cockpit on the main straight or any straight. You had to completely trust the guys that they were accelerating. Never the less, I made good progress on the short stint and I made up a few positions.  The car was working well, but also was aquaplaning a lot, too, so I have to respect INDYCAR’s decision for everyone’s safety. Now we really need to concentrate on having a good car for tomorrow. I’m sorry for the fans that sat in rain all day, but thank them for their support.”

RENE BINDER (No. 32 Binderholz tiptop timber Chevrolet): “It was a short day. In the beginning the conditions were not that good, but afterwards the conditions started to improve. The race was stopped, then restarted, and I think the conditions were not too bad at that point. Unfortunately, it was red flagged again and then cancelled for the day. It would have been nice to get halfway, but we will come back and try again tomorrow.”