Tracy: NASCAR too impatient with open-wheelers

May, 27, 2009

Many NASCAR fans believe Sprint Cup drivers are better than Indy-car drivers because most of the open-wheelers who have switched to NASCAR haven't fared well lately.

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Dario Franchitti, Kyle Busch
AP Photo/Steve HelberDario Franchitti didn't last long in Kyle Busch's series. Was Franchitti given a fair shake?

But Indy-car racing veteran Paul Tracy, who competed in a few NASCAR events, said it isn't that simple. Tracy said he believes most open-wheelers haven't been given a fair shot.

"It's hard to get in the best stuff over there," Tracy said of NASCAR at the Indy 500 last week. "It's very difficult to get a decent ride."

Tracy said he sees a double standard.

"They seem to give the own guys a grace period to get good," Tracy said of NASCAR team owners. "But when you come from open wheel, if you don't get good at it in half a season, they write you off."

Tracy points to two open-wheel drivers who have improved this season after struggling when they started in NASCAR.

"The guys that have stuck it out are doing OK," Tracy said. "A.J. [Allmendinger] is running competitively now, but he's still not in great equipment. Sam Hornish has pretty good equipment and he's started to run well."

Tracy also said none of the former open-wheelers, including Tony Stewart, would have made the move to NASCAR if Indy car had remained one league in the mid 1990s.

"Before the split, open wheel was bigger than NASCAR," Tracy said. "To get back to that won't happen for a long, long time. NASCAR has taken advantage of that split and made stars of their drivers."

Terry Blount

ESPN Staff Writer



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