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Q&A: Paul Tracy.

I did that. I came back. We had gotten some information and some help from some different teams and some ideas, really just changed the setup and changed a few things that we had on the car that weren't right. Then both Dario and myself and Michael [Andretti], we were all quick. Second weekend, I think I qualified at like 228mph on the second weekend. Then the car was good. But I was starting on the last row. It doesn't take very much to be wrong. That's how sensitive the cars are.

Q:
To go in there this year, even though Jimmy's team has a year of IndyCar experience now, it seems the teams that came over last year have picked up the pace dramatically. How much better suited do you feel you are going into this year's race to what you were back then?

PT:
Well, Jimmy's guaranteed me a fast car, so I'm taking his word on it. He said they worked and worked and worked all winter on a lot of the fundamentals of the car, little tiny things that make big differences in terms of speed. It's not just changing a spring, changing a roll bar that makes the car fast. There's a hundred little things that make these cars fast on the superspeedways. A lot of it is body fit and aerodynamics, wheel bearings, oil. It's all the little tiny tricks that make the difference, like in a stock car. When they go to qualify at Daytona, Talladega, there's like 50 little things that make the difference. When you don't have those, it really shows.

From that standpoint, they qualified sixth at Kansas, which is a big, fast speedway, flat out, with all that preparation is where it shows. I don't think they had the race that they wanted, but the speed is in the car. With that, they've told me they've got a good car that they feel can win at Indianapolis.

Q:
I noticed you were quoted recently about that 2002 race saying 'I feel I kind of got swindled'. Are you haunted by what happened in 2002?

PT:
I'm not haunted by it. It's one of those things where I've seen the data and I've seen the television footage and I've seen where our cars were positioned on the track. They can measure these cars. I said to somebody at Long Beach, I watched a show on VERSUS a couple weeks ago, the closest finish in IndyCar Series history, they can measure these things by millimetres, the differences of thousandths of a second. The video of my car 16 feet ahead of Helio [Castroneves] with the green light on.

From that standpoint, I'm not haunted by it. I guess I don't have the material things that show that I won the race. I don't have the trophy. I didn't get the money that comes along with it. But from the other side of it, I have that feeling that you long for when you're a kid in your driveway playing hockey and you're counting down five seconds left and you score the winning goal, when you're a kid. We were coming down to the closing stages of the race and I made an outside pass for the win. That's what every kid dreams about, whether you're shooting baskets and there's one second left on the clock and you make the basket when you're a kid dreaming about stuff like that. That's in my soul now. So I have that feeling of winning there, which I think is more important than having a piece of - you know, a trophy on your shelf. After a while, you never look at it anymore and it just gets tarnished.

Q:
You have the feeling. Maybe you'll get the actual hardware shortly.

PT:
Yeah, we'll see. I'm excited about it. Get an opportunity to go back and try to do it.

Q:
Probably the one great irony of the reunification last year was the fact that you lost your job. How have you been able to deal with that, watching everybody else move on to the new series where you're left on the sideline and your time clock is clicking away on your career?

PT:
Obviously, it's been frustrating. But as the merger -- the only way I can really say where I'm at today is because while the merger wheels were in process, I was being told a different story by [Gerry] Forsythe, that there wasn't going to be a merger, that I was going to continue to drive for them. That all didn't go the way it was told to me. So I was under contract to Forsythe. It took me a long time legally to be in a position where I was comfortable from a legal standpoint to go and drive for another team. So by the time I was able to do that, the season was already going and there was really no opportunity to get in another car.

Like I said before, with the result in Edmonton, I thought the door would be open. Nothing really happened. Nothing happened over this winter until the last three weeks. So, it has been a little bit frustrating. But I guess it's a lot of different factors that happen, whether it be economy, sponsorship and things like that.

Q:
Has it basically in your mind been the economy? Is that the biggest stumbling block right now?

PT:

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