Tracy angry over team's pit strategy

Paul Tracy is very unhappy that his team boss Barry Green has elected to split apart the pit stalls for the trio of Team Green entries at this weekend's Champ Car round at Toronto - leaving the Canadian cut off from his team mates

Tracy angry over team's pit strategy

The Toronto-born star feels he has been slighted by Green's decision to pit him apart from the other two Team Green entries driven by Dario Franchitti and Michael Andretti.

Champ Car teams choose their pit box location based on their qualifying performance at the last event. Tracy qualified last at Cleveland after being held in the pits as the team waited for rain to stop.

"I'm not pleased about it," Tracy told the Toronto Sun. "I'm here in my home town and it makes me look like I'm not part of the team. That's the way I feel about it."

Tracy started the season well, with a pair of podium finishes. But he has suffered five consecutive DNFs and dropped from the top of the championship standings to 11th place.

Tracy believes his pit position, near the entrance to the curved Toronto pit lane, is a disadvantage compared to his team mates' stalls near the mid-point of the pits. He's also unhappy about being pitted between the Penske and Patrick teams.

"Normally I'm pitted in between Dario and Michael, so one of their guys will pull his tyre in a little bit so I can get into my box," Tracy remarked. "And the guy in the pit in front of me will move his equipment so I can get out of my box. That's how a team works together.

"Now I'm in between two pits that aren't going to give me any help. They are going to lay out their air hose as far as they can and if I run over it I am going to get a penalty. Those are the tactics of the pit lane. That's how you beat guys in pit lane."

Tracy signed a long-term deal with Green prior to the 2001 season after being linked to the Canadian-backed Player's/Forsythe team. But the Canadian star was reportedly angry when Green expanded to a three-car operation when he signed Andretti with Motorola backing.

The latest episode has renewed paddock talk that Player's will buy out Tracy's contract at the end of the season.

"I don't feel like I've done a bad job this year," Tracy told the newspaper. "I outpaced Dario all weekend at Cleveland, I've had good results in the races I've finished, and I have been competitive in every race. I should have won three or four races by now but it just hasn't happened.

"It's Barry's decision, it's his team, but what I want to know is if I out-qualify Dario and Michael here, for the next race can I pit by myself to get a better pit selection, or do I get dragged down by their average?" Tracy added.

Green tried to play down Tracy's anger in the Canadian media, saying: "I don't think it's a problem. Paul has had things turn out badly the past few races, but I have never seen the guy with a better attitude. He has taken everything in his stride.

"I hope our fans can understand the reason we've split them," Green added. "It's not because we've turned our backs on Paul, it's because we felt we were going to be separated anyway. If we had averaged the three cars, only one team would have picked (pit positions) behind us and we calculated that we wouldn't have three or even two pits together anyway - unless we picked as three single-car teams."

Tracy went so far as to send his manager to Indianapolis from California to state his case to Green. Tracy and Green haven't discussed the matter since John Anderson, Tracy's race strategist, relayed Green's decision after the Cleveland race.

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