The former auto racing champion loves performance boating.
It has been a decade since former champion auto racer Paul Tracy last stepped out of an Indy car but he hasn’t stopped going fast. When Tracy craves a dose of velocity he seeks it at the wheel of a powerboat. Tracy finds a 6 a.m., 166-mph blast over Lake Havasu in a bright blueSkater 40SSpowered by a pair ofMercury Racing 1350sterndrives more stimulating than a cup of coffee. Talk about a Wide Open breakfast.
Tracy raced at the pinnacle of American open-wheel racing from 1991 to 2011, most notably for Team Penske, Team Green and Forsythe Racing, winning the 2003 Champ Car World Series title with Forsythe and placing second in the 2002 Indianapolis 500. Now living in Scottsdale, Ariz., the 53-year-old Canadian/American has been most visible as a color commentator for NBC broadcasts of the IndyCar series, and in 2022 will be competing in theSuperstar Racing Experience(SRX), an all-star series founded by Nascar veterans Tony Stewart and Ray Evernham featuring active and retired drivers competing in equally prepared stock cars on half-mile tracks. We ran into Tracy at the 2022 Discover Boating Miami International Boat Show, where he was one of the hosts of a new Fox Sports program that took viewers on a walk-through experience of the show. Tracy, of course, was assigned to present a couple of very fast performance boats – an interview with DCB Performance Boats owner Tony Chiaramonte aboard the new carbon fiberDCB M37Rpowered by a pair ofMercury Racing 450Routboards, and another with Randy Scism, owner of Marine Technologies Inc. aboard theMTI V-50center console powered by fiveMercury Racing 450Rmotors.
Ask Tracy about his relationship with powerboats, and he can recite a detailed list of his life on the water.
“My passion for performance on the water really started when I was a young racer in Canada, and a local dealer gave me a Sea Doo watercraft to use for the season,” recalls Tracy. “When I started racing in the United States I had a place on the Colorado River near Parker, Ariz., and my first performance boat was a 1995 Magic 34 deep-vee. Next up was an Eliminator 33 with a pair of 1,000hp engines, and then in about 1998 I got a Skater 40 Classic with a pair of 1,100hp engines. Later I moved to the Miami area and worked with John Tomlinson at Mercury Racing dealer TNT Custom Marine in North Miami on a 46 Skater canopy boat that could run 175 mph. When I moved to Las Vegas the canopy boat was just too hot and I sold it and got a 32 DCB that I owned and enjoyed for about 10 years. Now I’ve got a condo on the beach in Havasu, where I keep the Skater 40SS and a boat I just picked up, a 1998 Fountain 38 Fever with a pair of Mercury Racing HP500 engines. That’s really my day boat. The Skater is a beautifully made boat but the Fountain is really more practical for just cruising around the lake or running for lunch. The boat is in great shape and the engines were just refreshed.”
“We are actually getting out a lot more on the boats right now,” said Tracy. “When I was racing, or going to all the races for NBC, I didn’t have much time available. I’m not doing the NBC job any more, and we are really enjoying being on the water.
“I have always liked fast boats, really more than cars,” adds Tracy. “I’ve owned plenty of street cars, performance Porsche models, but you really can’t enjoy that level of performance on the street. On the water you can go as fast as you want. I love to go out early in the cool morning when nobody is on the water and take the Skater to the limit.”
Paul Tracy is proof of our Wide Open attitude – going fast never gets old.