Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Paul Tracy -- back at Indy -- was the Newsmaker guest on Wednesday night's The Race Reporters on Gordon Kirby joined me for that interview. We started with some strong roundtable talk, about the NASCAR All-Star race, with Mike Mulhern and Kenny Bruce.

I worked with Paul in 1995 at Newman/Haas Racing. In a series that truly needs them, Paul is a proven ticket seller, which makes his part-time status that much more unfortunate. We talked about that. In reply to a question from Gordon about some controversy he's been in during his career, Paul kindly answered as follows. I appreciate his words:

"I really learned it from Michael Knight. With I first started my career with (Roger) Penske, I was very buttoned-down. Everything was written down for me to say. I was allowed to say this; I wasn't allowed to say that. 'This is what you say. This is what you wear. These are the pants you wear.'

"When I went to drive for Carl (Haas), and Michael Knight was my PR guy, he let me be the person who I was. Michael has been akin to stirring up the pot a little bit. I came out of my shell and never went back into it. I was with Newman/Haas for one year, and then when I went back to Penske, I was who I was and wasn't going to change or bend to what they wanted me to do. I didn't fit into their box, or mold.

"This is one of the problems with motorsports now. It's so buttoned-down, so corporate, nobody wants to say anything. I've been saying this: In IndyCar, there's nobody wearing a black hat. In NASCAR, you have some good guys, and bad guys. Kyle Busch, he's one of the black-hat wearers. People love to hate him. You can't just have everybody vanilla and think the people are going to tune-in and watch."

Use this link to listen to the show:

Upcoming The Race Reporters guests:
(Show is live Wednesdays at 7 p.m. EDT, downloadable, and available on-demand at no cost. Click on TRR page logo in upper right-hand column.)

May 26 -- Newsmaker: Randy Bernard. Panelists: Mike Harris, John Oreovicz. Plus: Robin Miller.

June 2 -- Journalists Roundtable on Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600. Panelists: Holly Cain, Tim May, Al Pearce, Ron Lemasters Jr., Larry Henry.

June 9 -- One Year Anniversary Show featuring original Newsmaker John Force and first panelists Paul Page and Jon Asher. Plus: Special surprise guests from around the racing world.

[ more next Monday . . . ]