Monday, February 09, 2004

Don't Worry, Paul, You're Not Missing Much

Back in 1973, some bright promoter came up with the International Race of Champions (IROC), a four-race series that matched drivers from across the globe in identical cars to see who came out on top. Initially the cars were production based, the series raced on ovals and road courses, and the driving talent was top notch. Winston Cup champs took to road racing while lifetime road racers learned to bump draft at Talladega (remember "Billy Bob" Brundle, anybody?). Over the years, the cars have become tube-frame replicars with pushrod V-8s, the races all run on ovals, and the field is anything but an international collection of champions. Sound familiar? That's right, IROC is basically a support date for NASCAR events now.

I write all that simply to say something to Paul Tracy. The 2003 ChampCar champion is a bit pissed at being left off the invite list for the 2004 edition of IROC. While I love Paul's angered outbursts ("Hell, I've won more races than all three of those IRL guys combined."), I'm afraid Paul is missing something here. Paul - IROC is no longer international and no longer a race of champions. It is a NASCAR wanna be and not worthy of your talent, much less your outrage. So cool off. Have a Molson. And get ready to defend your title in a real racing series.

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