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Uncensored CART Commentary
by Ed Donath

The Thrill Ain’t Gone

ATHENS, NY—Sadly, the previous missive launched to these very cyberspacial coordinates dealt with the Shakespearian ethic “To thine own self be true.” The Andretti family legacy of a combined CART relationship totaling well over a half century of affiliation will be desecrated the moment Mikey officially announces, after extensive political posturing, that he has become a full-time competitor in f-inheritor. Whether Boss Hog Andretti actually navigates middle-American ovals with the Juniors and Brazillionaires or merely remains on the sidelines with the Captain and his dad’s old nemesis who “knows where his tools come from” is not germane to the essence of the self-truthfulness issue.

Fortunately, however, like the much-needed respite provided by a refreshing breeze on a hazy, hot, humid mid-summer’s afternoon, the very man whom Michael Andretti would manipulate into sacrificing principle for principal, this week, has boldly proclaimed his own intentions…without hedging and forcing the fans of our beloved speed sport to waste months wondering and speculating about what he will be doing in 2003.

"I'm a road racer and I've made my living in CART for the past 12 years," Paul Tracy waxed defiant. "I like the challenges of this series, the variety it offers and the demands it puts on a driver. CART is going through some hard times right now, but I'm not going to jump off the bandwagon because the grass is greener — or supposedly greener — on the other side. I owe it to CART, its fans and myself to help push it forward, and that's what I intend to do."

Was Tracy’s reference to “greener” grass actually a calculated double entendre meant to convey both the idea that he, like Michael, have been offered plenty of money to forsake CART and that, while Andretti will have top billing, it will remain Team Green after all? Or was Paul’s little play on words merely Freudian? Well, for any of you who have ever dialed up to PT’s raceday radio frequency it should be pretty obvious that Paul’s verbal streams of consciousness would be considered “uninhibited”, to say the least, by any psychoanalyst worth his couch.

Another defiant individual, albeit not nearly as outspoken as Paul Tracy, is Gerald Forsythe. While it can be cynically debated that Gerry’s continued acquisition of CART’s falling-like-a-rock stock will ultimately serve as a king-sized tax write-off for the multi-millionaire CART team owner and conglomerated industrialist/investor, it must be duly noted that the Forsythe-Player’s operator who launched such Canadian mega-talents as Jacques Villeneuve and Greg Moore over four decades in the support series and the FedEx Championship Series itself, has devoted most of his life to the preservation and betterment of open-wheel racing.

Forsythe, the largest shareholder of CART (MPH-NYSE) stock is, unarguably, the richest, most powerful anti-IRL force on the planet. Currently, his Player's team campaigns Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani, both of which are French-Canadians who hail from Quebec Province. But it is common knowledge that Gerry Forsythe has been trying to sign Ontario’s native son Paul Tracy for several years. Neil Micklewright, Forsythe’s Vice President of Operations, recently admitted that the team had recently been talking with "The Thrill from West Hill."

"There have been discussions with Paul and both our current drivers," said Micklewright. "Hopefully, in the next week to 10 days, we'll be able to announce our lineup for 2003. It's very unlikely that Player's will field three cars, but whether Gerry is going to run a car himself, who knows?"

Forsythe, to date, has declined to comment about his own plans for 2003, but he has indicated to CART insiders that he would like to revive his old one-car team if possible. Hey, if he did so to fulfill his promise of keeping Bryan Herta in a full-season CART seat a while back — at his own Indeck’s expense — you’ve gotta believe he’d do the same for Paul Tracy, who would be sure to attract at least some sponsorship.

Finally, and certainly in keeping with the aforementioned Shakespearian ethic exemplified by stalwarts like Gerry Forsythe and Paul Tracy, I would be remiss in my own CART dedication if I did not issue this annual admonition regarding the upcoming SMASHCAR and ForMoola-1 events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

Purchasing a ticket and/or licensed merchandise at or for either or both of these events is tantamount to doing likewise for the Indy 500 because in either case, the coffers of the Speedway’s inheritor are being filled by such contributions. Therefore, the best way that we as fans can show our solidarity with the supporters of CART and our derision for the double-dealers amongst us is to continue to boycott all manner of things related to the Speedway.

Copyright © 2002 by Ed Donath and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

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