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Tracy unhappy with pit call that led to Helio shunt.


Paul Tracy cut an unusually sanguine figure when being interviewed about the accident that had taken him out of the Honda Indy Toronto, and remained even after he had had the chance to watch replays of the clash on tape.

The Canadian had been on top form in front of his hometown fans, ignoring a 15th-place start to run in the leading pack from mid-race, and with genuine designs on winning for KV Racing Technology. Along with other potential upset winners, however, he wasn't destined to be in the mix at the end.

Chasing eventual winner Dario Franchitti for the lead as the race entered its final 20 laps, the' Thrill from West Hill' knew that he needed to follow the Scot - a former team-mate from the CART days - past Helio Castroneves as quickly as possible, but his move into turn three was to end in disaster as the two cars tangled, with Tracy's out on the spot after a meeting with the concrete retaining wall.

While most expected the veteran to be spitting feathers when he returned to pit-lane, Tracy proved otherwise, accepting that the clash - with the man seen as something of a nemesis following the disagreement over victory in the 2002 Indianapolis 500 - had been little more than a racing incident.

"Helio was so slow, I think trying to save fuel, or maybe he had grip problems, I don't know," PT wrote in his regular blog for racer.com, So, when Dario slid by him, he checked out two seconds in one lap - and I thought 'sh*t! I need to get by Helio as well or Dario's gone for the day'.

"Helio was decent. He was coasting toward the end of the straightaway, and I outbraked him. He turned in, but left me a bit of room. I was there already, and we bumped together a little bit, but it seemed like we'd just rub tyres and stuff. No big deal. But then...

"I didn't see the footage until after I did my TV interview, and I still don't think he intentionally took me out, but he jogged to the right as I was fully alongside, so we got hooked together and it shoved both of us into the wall. I guess he was on the marbles so, when he hit the gas, his car got all squirrelly on him and it pointed his nose to the right and took me with him.

"I definitely think it was a legitimate place for me to pass – I was fully alongside him – and then he just made a mistake. Like he said in his interviews, he wouldn't have done that to me deliberately, and not in Canada, so I just have to regard it as a racing incident. People are going to try to make a big deal out of the PT vs Helio thing again but, to be honest, I'm okay with looking on it as a driver making a mistake - it was just funny coincidence that it was him. Weird experience for him, too, getting jeered by every man, woman and child in the place!"

What infuriated Tracy more, however, was a contentious call from race control that left him chasing Franchitti in the first place.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Indy Racing League.10-12 July 2009. Honda Indy Toronto. Toronto, Ontarios, Canada. Paul Tracy.
Helio Castroneves (Team Penske) celebrates pole at Long Beach   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
Helio Castroneves - Team Penske    [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Helio Castroneves - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
Helio Castroneves - Team Penske [credit: IndyCar / Chris Owens]
Helio Castroneves - Team Penske [credit: IndyCar / Chris Owens]
Multi-car incident during the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg on March 13 2016 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The #12 Chevrolet of Will Power against the backstretch wall following contact during practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves - Hitachi/Team Penske Chevrolet   [pic credit: Chris Jones/IndyCar Media]
Helio Castroneves - #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet   [pic credit: Chris Owens/IndyCar Media]
Scott Dixon is congratulated by Dario Franchitti after winning the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves goes off-course as the field streams by during the opening lap of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Shell V-Power Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates capturing the pole during qualifying Saturday, August 22, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Shell V-Power Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, qualifies fastest Saturday, August 22, 2015, capturing the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Shell V-Power Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, qualifies fastest Saturday, August 22, 2015, capturing the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Shell V-Power Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, qualifies fastest Saturday, August 22, 2015, capturing the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Penske`s Helio Castroneves celebrates winning pole position for the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Penske`s Helio Castroneves celebrates winning pole position for the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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Mark _

July 15, 2009 12:10 AM

I think when their tires touched the contact was at the rear side of Helio's tire and it caused Helio to steer into Paul. It definetely looked suspicous at first but the more I watched it the more it looked like a racing incident.



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