He won the Long Beach Indy Lights race in 1990 driving for Brian Stewart, made his first Indy car start in Long Beach in 1991 for Dale Coyne and earned his first Indy car victory on the temporary street circuit in 1993 for Team Penske.
He also won the Long Beach Indy car races in 2000, 2003 and 2004.
Toronto Star Wheels' special correspondent Sylvia Proudfoot is in Long Beach and filed notes and quotes after the ceremony.
"You can’t have a great race without having a great city to host it," an emotional Tracy said during the ceremony.
"I want to thank Long Beach for everything that they do putting on this race. It's one of the marquee races in the world in terms of motorsports. If you've won a race here, you put your name on a list of some of the greatest drivers that have ever walked the face of the earth, guys like Parnelli [Jones, who attended the ceremony], Bryan Redman, Danny Sullivan, Michael Andretti – the list goes on and on.
"I drove in last night and I got to the hotel like I would every year for almost 25 years of my life. I went for a walk and the sun was setting to the west and I was walking across the bridge over to the marina. I took a look down the front straightaway and I said to myself, 'Man, where did all the time go?' I was looking at the sun setting and I was thinking the sun has set on my career now. But I feel as young as ever!
"I've got to thank all the teams I drove for and all the great competitors that spurred me on. Winning here at Long Beach has been one of the highlights of my career, so I'm very very honoured to be in this group and I really cherish it."Tracy, whose four Long Beach victories tie him for second with Mario Andretti (Al Unser Jr. has won the most: six), was joined by Adrian Fernandez in being inducted into the Walk of Fame during the eighth annual ceremony.
Previous inductees include Jimmy Vasser, Scott Pruett, Galles Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Sullivan, Michael Andretti, Bobby Rahal, Mario Andretti, Unser Jr. Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, Brian Redman, Newman Haas Racing, Chris Pook, Parnelli Jones and Gary Gabelich.After the ceremony, Tracy told Proudfoot that, "I'm thrilled to be selected to be part of this list of great drivers. They're legends. I never thought in my wildest dreams when I started racing, when I started my Indy car career here in 1991, that I would ever be mentioned with those guys' names, so it's a tremendous honour.
"Toronto, as my hometown (where he's won two races), was always my favourite race, but this race here was one that I've always excelled at. I've had a lot of success here, been incredibly lucky here. To win races, you've got to be good and you've got to be lucky. For whatever reason, I was always pretty lucky here and things kinda went the way that I wanted them to go.
"I won here in Indy Lights and four times in an Indy car, so Long Beach has been a great city to me."
Tracy's CART victory at Long Beach in 2003 was one of seven he scored during the season on his way to the series championship. He is tied with Sebastien Bourdais and Dario Franchitti for seventh on the all-time victory list with 31.
Proudfoot also caught up with Oakville IndyCar star James Hinchcliffe, in town for Sunday's Grand Prix of Long Beach, and reviewed his season to date: a victory in St. Petersburg and no points at the second race at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.
"It just highlights the sport," he said. "It really is the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and in the first two races we experienced pretty much all of that.
"It's hopefully going to be pretty straightforward from here on out. This (Long Beach) is a track that's historically treated me pretty well. We've had some good results here and the team's been strong here in the past. It's certainly promising coming into it, but these races are so unpredictable. You never know."
The other day, somebody asked Stirling Moss — Sir Stirling, to you — whether a woman could ever win a Formula One race and he said he didn’t think so.
There was outrage around the world.
How dare that man say such a thing!
Give me a break.
Can’t somebody say something these days, or do something, without there being outrage because whatever was said or done didn’t fit people’s preconceived notion of the answer or the deed?
Do people in the world walk around in a perpetual state of almost-outrage, just waiting for someone to say or do something so they can react? Get the juices flowing, as it were?
Moss stated an opinion. Maybe he’s right, maybe he’s wrong but doesn’t he have the right to answer a question without half the world jumping all over him?
Poor Justin Bieber, who’s a kid from Stratford, writes something in a book and the world is outraged. Or so the media say.
Justin Trudeau and Stephen Harper get up in the morning and they both say something and half of Canada is outraged about what one said and the other half is similarly outraged about what the other said.
I think the word outrage is now the world’s most overused word.
I’m outraged that so many people are outraged.
I don’t want to live in a world where nobody can have an opinion, which is what is happening here.
Mathew Di Leo of IInnisfil will join another Canadian, Mikael Grenier of Stoneham, Que., in the Indy Lights race at Long Beach this weekend. In fact, the two Canadians will make up 20 per cent of the field as only 10 cars are entered.
This is an appalling state of affairs. Indy Lights is supposed to be the final proving/training ground on the Road to Indy ladder system that IndyCar likes to crow about and there are no cars.
The Atlantic Series was in a mess like this back in 2005 when it was on the undercard at Champ Car races. About a dozen cars would show up for each race and only four drivers entered every race (26 in total scored points).
Kevin Kalkhoven, one of the owners of the Champ Car World Series, was appalled at what he saw and over the winter took control of the series. He put the arm on all of the owners in Champ Car as well as around the shoulders of many of his well-heeled friends and insisted they all get involved.
The entry list for Atlantics in 2006 went up to an astonishing 29 cars and 44 drivers in total scored points.
This is what IndyCar has got to do. Right now, in the Lights championship, IRL owner Sam Schmidt has three entries and Andretti Autosport has two. Where are entries from Chip Ganassi Racing, Team Penske, KV Racing (Kevin Kalkhoven did it once; he should do it again), Rahal-Letterman and on-and-on?
All the teams in the NHL have top minor-league affiliates, as do the teams in Major League Baseball. So should the teams in big-league, open-wheel auto racing.
The people who run IndyCar, Mark Miles and the rest, have got to put it to those team owners in IndyCar, as Kalkhoven did in Champ Car, and tell them to get with the program.
Otherwise, quit pretending the series is something it isn’t and shut it down.
Will the Grand Prix of Bahrain this weekend be the tire strategy race we’ve come to expect from Formula One this season?
And, in qualifying, will anybody go out in Q3? Or stand pat where they are after Q2 and save their tires? Or perhaps slap on a set of softs (or intermediates, or whatever) and run a lap or two to make it legal and then sit out the session in the garage.
Smart strategy but F1, as usual, is forgetting the fans, who are being cheated.
Why can’t F1 roll back the clock to the last century and let the teams have qualifying tires? That way, nobody has to worry about saving tires and they can strategize all they want in the race but qualifying would be what it’s supposed to be: a balls-to-the-wall, one-lap, banzai run for pole position and all the marbles that go with it.
All eyes will be on two drivers in the NASCAR races this weekend at Kansas Speedway. (An aside: the last time I was at Kansas Speedway, the tornado sirens kept going off. It was 4 o'clock in the afternoon and it was pitch black. That is a scary deal, let me tell you.)
Kyle Busch will be in his Camping World Truck Series truck as well as his Sprint Cup car. He has a habit of winning both races whenever he enters two of them on the same weekend.
Also, he’s on a tear. After finishing 23rd at Phoenix early in the season, he’s been fourth, second, first, fifth and first since — up to and including last weekend’s stop at Texas.
Busch didn’t make the Chase last season. It looks like he’s not taking any chances this year.
And, of course, the other driver people will be watching is defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski.
Yes, Joey Logano and his Penske Racing team were also nailed by NASCAR this week for illegal activity surrounding the suspension on their race car but the heat will be on the Keselowski side of the Penske garage because of his outburst following the Texas race when he suggested NASCAR was out to “get” them.
Both Penske teams have appealed the suspensions, fines, etc., that were levied but NASCAR is the law and the law will eventually win.
I hope Keselowski hasn’t done himself too much damage. His holier-than-thou statements last weekend were a little much and NASCAR fans can be fickle.
In short: a hero can become a villain just like that.
- NORRIS McDONALD