INDIANAPOLIS – Paul Tracy finally swigged milk at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and another Unser found his way to Victory Circle in Saturday’s Indy Legends Charity Vintage Pro-Am Race.
The irony of Tracy winning where the Canadian is convinced he won the controversial 2002 Indianapolis 500 wasn’t far from his mind after he and teammate Gary Moore prevailed in the “B” class of the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association’s Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational main event.
“It’s about time,” Tracy said, holding an empty milk bottle. “Long overdue. It was good to taste that milk finally.”
For the record, it was a little warm, he said. Not that he was complaining.
Tracy is connected to complaints being filed after the 2002 Indy 500. He thought he had passed Helio Castroneves to take the lead before the yellow flag came out on Lap 199 of 200. It was determined, however, that Castroneves was still in front and the Brazilian celebrated his second straight win at the Brickyard.
“Finally,” Tracy said, when walking into the interview room. He later added, “I want to thank Gary (Moore) and SVRA for the opportunity and to get my second win at Indy.”
Robby Unser has seen or heard about many in his family tasting victory at this prestigious venue, so it was particularly rewarding for him to celebrate after finishing first overall and in the “A” class with German teammate Andre Ahrle.
Robby’s father, Bobby, won the Indianapolis 500 three times, Uncle Al triumphed four times and first cousin Al Jr. prevailed twice.
“I always thought I could get up here around the oval, but didn’t work out for whatever reason,” said Robby Unser, 48, whose two Indy 500 runs resulted in a fifth place in 1998 and an eighth in 1999. “I’m happy with where I am in life. I couldn’t be happier with how everything has gone and I really couldn’t be happier today in being up there at least in this way.
“Honestly, it’s just as special in my heart as it would be the other way.”
Unser and Ahrle, 54, drove a 1965 Cobra CompR. Although Ahrle has been in SVRA since 2009, he’s one of the more accomplished drivers — he raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 1996 to 2002.
“I’ve won a few races,” Ahrle said. “With SVRA, this is the top one, No. 1.”
Tracy and Moore drove a 1965 Ford Mustang GT350. As the race was winding down, Tracy was trailing Max Papis and Robby Unser, but Papis was being shown a black flag.
“I was kind of like, ‘I’ve relived this thing once before,’” Tracy said of Papis, who was punished for cutting inside a chicane on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course.
Moore, 56, is a fellow Canadian from Nova Scotia and has been competing in the SVRA for nine years. He met Tracy two weeks ago.
“Paul Tracy is responsible for getting Paul Tracy to Victory Circle,” Moore said. “I was lucky enough to get paired with him.
“This is the Indianapolis 500 of vintage racing. It was so much fun. I couldn’t be happier.”