Saturday, April 20, 2024

SRX suspends Paul Tracy after Pulaski wreck

Guess Ken Schrader is sticking around in the Superstar Racing Experience after all.

After Schrader was collected in a wreck with Paul Tracy during Thursday’s race at Pulaski County Motorsports Park, adding to a string of incidents between the two, the former threatened to not return to the series unless Tracy was no longer in the field. Such a call was especially uncharacteristic for Schrader, who has long been regarded as one of the most affable drivers during his NASCAR and dirt career.

SRX responded to the crash by announcing Friday that Tracy has been suspended effective immediately.

“We take issues regarding driver safety extremely seriously at SRX. This is not a decision we take lightly,” said SRX CEO Don Hawk. “It is our responsibility to ensure that we foster a competitive, and most importantly, a safe racing environment. I have been in contact with Paul directly and we appreciate his cooperation on this matter.”

The accident occurred on lap 89 of the main when Tracy tried to clear Josef Newgarden before coming up to block him. However, Tracy was not clear and turned in front of him, with Schrader and Hailie Deegan being caught in the eventual stack-up. Tracy explained it was “just hard racing” as there were ten laps remaining, though it was evidently not enough to avoid discipline.

Tracy has long been regarded as the “bad boy” of open-wheel racing when he competed in IndyCar for his driving style and attitude. However, his heel image also meant he was frequently embroiled in clashes and spins since his series début with the inaugural season in 2021. Although SRX does not have teams as cars are prepared by the series, the cautions and damage exasperated fans who expressed pity for car builder FURY Race Cars in having to constantly make repairs.

He and Schrader initially tangled in the 2023 season opener at Stafford when Tracy spun him in Heat #2. The following week, also at Stafford, saw Schrader and Tracy crash together.

While the series did not announce the suspension length, there are still three races remaining in the season. The next round on 3 August is at Berlin Raceway.

Prior to his suspension, Tracy was sixth in points of eight drivers. He finished fourth at the first Stafford race followed by eleventh and tenth at Stafford #2 and Pulaski. Tracy placed seventh and sixth in the 2021 and 2022 standings, respectively, with a best finish of third at Stafford last year.