IndyCar: Paul Tracy faces backlash over alleged social media posts
By Marshall Pruett | RACER magazine and RACER.com IndyCar correspondent
Former Champ Car champion and current NBCSN IndyCar analyst Paul Tracy finds himself embroiled in another social media controversy.
According to the Indianapolis Star, the firebrand Canadian, whose bullish online persona has been toned down at the request of his employer, is accused by Facebook user Chris Cunningham of engaging in a vitriolic exchange regarding immigration.
From a screen capture provided by Cunningham, his comment of, “Paul is on the side of the party that’s ripping kids from their parents just because their parents are here trying to get asylum, which isn’t the same as entering illegally,” was met with Tracy’s response of, “No, I have invited them all to a party at your house to listen to you play a mini guitar, then they are going to rape your wife then you.”
Per Cunningham, he informed Tracy the exchange would be made public, and brought the matter to the attention of his hometown newspaper, The Star.
Tracy alleges his Facebook account was hacked, claiming he was not responsible for writing the response in question. Soon after the purported exchange, Tracy posted evidence of multiple fake accounts. Tracy did not explain if or how the creation of fake accounts bearing his name, which would not require hacking, and the unsanctioned manipulation of his personal Facebook account, which would require hacking, were related in any way.
Cunningham, in response to Tracy’s assertion, says he was blocked by the same Tracy account on Facebook and his wife, who alerted NBC and IndyCar to the post, was blocked by Tracy’s verified Twitter account.
“If it was a fake Facebook post, why would the verified Paul Tracy block my wife?” Cunningham added.
NBC Sports says it is looking into the matter and will provide an update if Tracy’s employment status is set to change.
Tracy drew the ire of IndyCar and the family of Robert Wickens in August when he posted the first in-depth news regarding the injuries suffered by the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver at the Pocono oval race. Tracy’s comments, some of which were later revealed to be factually inaccurate, came before the series, team, or driver had volunteered detailed information on Wickens’ status.
Although they were not directly named, Tracy, along with his source at SPM, were heavily chided by the family in a subsequent press release.
Prior to the social media edict from NBC Sports, Tracy had been criticized for making hard-edged posts on politics and race that drew significant backlash from those who deemed the rhetoric impolite or unbefitting of a person representing the series and its primary broadcaster.
Since the softening instructions were delivered by NBC Sports, and with exception to the Cunningham’s allegations, most of Tracy’s social media offerings have been more measured.
A call to Tracy by RACER was not immediately returned.
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ABOUT MARSHALL PRUETT
The 2018 season marks Marshall Pruett's 32nd year working in the sport. In his role today for RACER, Pruett covers open-wheel and sports car racing as a writer, reporter, photographer, and filmmaker. In his previous career, he served as a mechanic, engineer, and team manager in a variety of series, including IndyCar, IMSA, and World Challenge.