Paul Tracy has been teasing his fans all week, suggesting via Twitter that he’s on the verge of landing a full-season ride in the IZOD IndyCar Series.
On Tuesday, he Tweeted: "The emails were flying today, the fax was fired up and the pen moved across the paper."
(Some fans interpreted this to mean he’d signed the long-awaited contract.)
Thursday, he sent this out: "Ordered helmets today, really happy with how the call went. Going back to where it all started."
(Other fans interpreted this to mean he’ll be driving for Dale Coyne Racing this year, which was the team he drove for at Long Beach in 1991 where he attracted the attention of Roger Penske. We’ll see.)
Whatever it is, I hope it officially happens soon.
I can’t stand the suspense.
As a busy week of IndyCar signing announcements came to a close (Alex Tagliani of Montreal at Bryan Herta Autosport Monday, James Hinchcliffe of Oakville at Andretti Autosport Tuesday), Jay Penske’s Dragon Racing announced that Sebastien Bourdais and Katherine Legge will be the team’s pilots in 2012.
Meantime, two Canadians from Montreal are on the verge of becoming the first from this country to finish the Dakar Rally in the car division.
Not only can they finish fairly high up in the four-wheel division but, as of Thursday, they were 41st overall (more than 400 cars, trucks and motorcycles started the annual marathon event), which is a stunning performance.
David Bensadoun and navigator Patrick Beaule are representing our country.
The first Canadian to make it to the finish of the Dakar rally, Lawrence Hacking of Georgetown, did it on a motorcycle in 2001. Other Canadians who've been successful on two wheels since include Guy Giroux , Eric Dubeau, Bob Bergman, Patrick Trahan and Shawn Price.
The Dakar will wind up on Sunday in Lima, Peru. If you’re interested in finding out how Bensadoun and Beaule make out, check the Dakar website.
The annual Chili Bowl midget racing extravaganza has been going on all week in Tulsa, Okla., and the grand finale, a.k.a. the "A Main," a.k.a. the "featch," etc., will get the green flag around 9 o’clock Saturday night.
The only Canadian at the race (with sponsorship from the Rochester Americans AHL hockey team, by the way!) is Ohsweken Speedway owner Glenn Styres, but he’s in good company.
More than 250 midget and sprint car racers from all around the United States and from Australia and New Zeland enter each year, including Sammy Swindell, his son Kevin Swindell, USAC greats Tracy Hines and Dave Darland, and interlopers like DIRT modified great Tim McCreadie and NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart, who locked himself into the Saturday night headline race earlier this week by finishing third in a qualifying feature before jetting back to Daytona for Daytona 500 practice.
If you’re interested in how Styres and Stewart make out – remembering that Stewart won a World of Outlaws sprint car race at Styres’ speedway last summer – check out the Chili Bowl website.
Speaking of Daytona, the boys (and girl) are back in town and turning speeds of more than 200 miles an hour as Sprint Cup off-season testing gets under way at Daytona International Speedway.
More than 30 cars have been on track over the last two days and Danica Patrick was eighth fastest on Thursday. She was drafting in a pack of about a dozen cars on Friday, learning the ropes.
NASCAR banned in-race radio communication between drivers this week, in an effort to make it harder for teams and drivers to arrange to piggy-back around Daytona. You’ll remember that last year, the cars looked like Siamese Twins joined at the bumpers as they tag-teamed around the place, frequently as a result of one driver asking another to hook up.
Now they can’t do that - at least not directly. Spotters can still make deals.
NASCAR also is playing around with the size of the Daytona restrictor plates and the size of the grilles in the cars an effort to keep speeds from getting too out-of-control (they’re really not fussy about anything much above 200 mph) and to force drivers to pull out of the two-car drafts before their cars start to overheat.
The end result, of course, is "pack racing" and we all know what happens when racing cars run in packs . . .
I'm supplying links to websites this weekend, as I'm taking a few days off to go to New York to see a concert by Christopher Cross, the singer-songwriter who was big in the 1980s and '90s. He still writes nice stuff and he puts on a good show.
Another reason I like him is because he's a former racer (Danny Sullivan was his coach) who still has a great interest in the sport. The release of his third album, Every Turn of the World, in the mid-1980s was delayed because he suffered pretty serious injuries in a Formula Vee wreck.