After winning his first ever Champ Car Championship in 2003, Paul Tracy came close to having no Championship to defend. The rival Indy Racing League tried to fool everyone into believing it wanted to unite the two warring factions in North American open-wheel racing, but Tracy knows it's not just the IRL that Champ Cars are up against.

"We're not fighting against just the IRL in terms of sponsorship dollars," Tracy said during a news conference in Vancouver recently, "The series needs to look at this as a whole.

"We're in the entertainment business. We're fighting for sponsorship dollars; we're fighting for ratings against football, basketball and hockey. Extreme sports have become very popular. We just can't become narrow-minded and look at motorsports. We're out there to compete for the same dollars and the same ratings as everything that is on television."

Tracy likes the direction the new ownership is taking.

"These races in Canada, Mexico and a few key races in the United States are what hold CART together," he said, "I think it's a new start. The people have spoken. They want CART to survive and prosper. That's what the future is."

After last month's ruling, when an Indianapolis bankruptcy court judge rejected a bid by the IRL to buy the series' assets, Tracy said he can finally look forward to defending his title.

"I have experience on my side," he noted, "I feel there are still areas I can improve on as a driver. There are some mistakes I made last year and mistakes we made as a team in terms of car set up at some venues. If we can improve on these areas, then we can do a better job."

For the Canadian, this could be his last season in a Champ Car after his contract expires at the end of the year.

"I don't know how long my open-wheel career will last," he admitted, "I haven't put a number figure on that. There will be a time that it's time to stop.

"There are other things I would like to do - I would like to try NASCAR, I would like to drive in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

"I would see myself continuing to race into my 40s, but I don't know how long I would continue to compete at this level."