Races, tracks, drivers and all the drama that comes along with it
Sun May 29, 2011 3:01 am
IndyCar veteran Paul Tracy geared up for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 by launching a fierce attack at NASCAR and accusing America’s most popular form of racing as being a “boring” spectacle which dupes its fans into believing contrived rivalries.
Tracy, a controversial figure who won the Champ Car World Series in 2003 and finished second in the 2002 Indy 500 – a race he still contends he won – has spent his entire career in open-wheel racing and made no secret of his disdain for NASCAR in an interview with Yahoo! Sports on Thursday
“I can’t watch a NASCAR race on TV without taking a three-hour nap in the middle of it,” Tracy said. “I have been to races. It is too long and too loud. I don’t really like it. NASCAR is having some trouble with its ratings because it just goes on for such a long time. The exciting part is just the last 25 or 30 laps. In [IndyCar], it is a race from the start to the finish.
“It is a different scene and a different culture. I like IndyCar a lot more and I think it is a better sport. I like that you can get a 500-mile race but that it is over in 2 hours, 45 minutes.”
IndyCar has suffered from a decline in interest over the past decade, but things seem to be picking up this year, with the 100th anniversary of the first race at the famous old track coinciding with brisk ticket sales to visitors from across the nation.
While stars like Danica Patrick play a role in giving Indy some presence in the mainstream consciousness, Tracy feels it is the accessibility of the drivers which set them apart from their NASCAR counterparts.
“For me the special thing about what we have is how accessible it is, more so than any motorsport,” said Tracy, who qualified 25th for Sunday’s race in the No. 23 Dreyer & Reinbold car. “In Formula One, unless you know [president] Bernie Ecclestone or you are a star, you are never going to see a driver or a car close up. In NASCAR, to some extent it is the same thing.
“They like to portray it as fan-friendly but it is virtually impossible to get a garage pass and the access for the everyday, regular fan is not there.
“For us it is different, fans can see a car and a driver and shake a driver’s hand; the paddock is open. The fans can be three feet from the car and mingle with their favorite driver and that is what makes Indy cool. You can’t do that in NASCAR.”
Much of NASCAR’s popularity has stemmed from the tribal following of its fans who affiliate themselves with a driver like they would a professional sports team franchise.
Yet Tracy believes there is a contrived element to NASCAR’s publicity machine, building up disputes between drivers and perpetuating an ongoing sense of rivalry amongst the field. Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch were recently involved in a post-race fight that gained international attention.
“NASCAR knows how to pump things up for its fanbase,” Tracy said. “Drivers over here get in arguments and it gets handled more quietly and internally. In NASCAR, they play it up and make a huge deal out of it and have these rivalries that come up which are perhaps not as big and what they would like you to think.”
Sun May 29, 2011 11:36 am
Paul has raced in NASCAR so this is surprsing.
I am a fan of NASCAR and the IRL but the IRL can be a bore fest. The Indy 500 the last 2 years hasn't been excitring and the road races there are just follow the leader.
NASCAR you can race actually raced on the road courses. Some races are boring but not every race will be a barn burner.
Sun May 29, 2011 2:46 pm
His comments about Nascar drivers and cars not being accessible are just plain WRONG.
He sounds like a jealous crybaby to me !!
Sun May 29, 2011 3:52 pm
BlackFlag wrote:His comments about Nascar drivers and cars not being accessible are just plain WRONG.
He sounds like a jealous crybaby to me !!
he pretty much is, his mouth has taken out of some good drivers, and now he is all washed up, heck he could not even drive when he had a chance in the nationwide series, kept spinning out.
Sun May 29, 2011 4:32 pm
sounds like to me, he is saying he couldnt run a race that long. That is what seperates the men from the boys. That is what makes Cup what it is. Also why they shouldnt shorten all the races. Dale jr has often said (in the past) he has problems keeping his concentration for 500 miles.
Sun May 29, 2011 5:11 pm
In his defense he's kind of right. When these guys are at the track, they're busy. Not as accessable as some folks would have you believe, particularly since the hot passes had to come into place after the incident with Tony and the woman at Bristol in 2002. Things are much different in IndyCar and the NHRA so I see Paul's point.
I also see why he'd say it's too long. NASCAR is it's own kind of deal, you have to be a particular kind of fan to enjoy the long races. So I'm not gonna trash PT, he's just expressing his opinion.
Sun May 29, 2011 11:17 pm
its one thing to express your opinion, but has always dogged everything that didnt fit in his way of thinking, #### he trashed penske cuz he felt he was the #1 there and penske didnt treat him that way, so he shoots his mouth off has a sub par career, there is a reason why nascar is popular, i never gave it thought that the races were long, and i dont think many fans care, you can spend 4 hrs at a baseball and football game, i for one never cared to meet any drivers so i cant speak on that level, but i do know when they are at dover and pocono, there are countless driver signings around here, #### last year ryan was a mile from my house, but like i said that isnt my thing.
Mon May 30, 2011 10:09 pm
I'm a big fan of Paul Tracy and Open Wheel as well,will say the Indy500 was a #### of alot more exciting than the Coke 600.The ESPN Broadcast makes the Fox crew look like a bunch of dipsticks.Can't say as i agree with everything Paul says,but i myself would like to see the Cup races shortened because most of the races bore the #### out of me for that long.The rivalrys in Cup,little spats i call them and they lead to nowhere,nothing like years past,the media makes a bigger deal of it than the drivers or teams do.The National "Stock"Car Assocciation my ####,the modified soap opera awards is more like it! Majority of Nascar races i watch the last 30-50laps,then the highlights,everything in bettween is nothing what it use to be other than zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! Will say Paul is a little full of himself thou.
The IRL has had their share of problems over the years and just recent years is begining to get the popularity back.Nascar is working on it,but i don't feel as thou it'll ever be what it once was.
Last edited by wolfgang
on Tue May 31, 2011 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Tue May 31, 2011 12:22 am
Tue May 31, 2011 1:50 am
NHRA, buy a ticket to the race, and literally watch the teams break down the motors. hang out for a spell, get a TON of autographs if you wish, or not and watch the teams earn their money in between runs.
"pit pass" isn't necessary (they don't even print them)
Indycar, pretty much the same deal. Unlike NHRA though, they can close their garage door if they wish. Otherwise you get to see the teams and the cars pretty much close up, watch them work on it up front & center (no pit pass necessary there either)
Autograph sessions galore too, they always have the entire field do a mass autograph session.
Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:14 pm
thats my fav thing about the NHRA is being able to watch those guys tear the engine down and rebuild it, sometimes i get caught up in that instead of watch the races....