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After First Suspension in SRX History, Paul Tracy Won't Be Finishing 2023 Season

After being suspended following the Camping World SRX Series event at Pulaski County Motorsports Park, Paul Tracy won't be coming back to the series in any of the three remaining races.


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After being handed the first suspension in the history of the Camping World SRX Series, Paul Tracy won't be getting the green light to return to the series anytime soon, and definitely not this season, according to CEO Don Hawk.

Tracy was suspended for his role in triggering a five-car accident in the series' most recent event at Pulaski County Motorsports Park, an incident which came on the same night as an instruction to be less destructive on track from series co-owner, Tony Stewart.

"We don't really want to be the police, right? We want to have fun. We want to have good, hard racing," said Don Hawk. "But, at a certain point, you have to just say stop. Enough is enough. We reached that point last week."

“I didn’t just decide it in a whim," continued Hawk. "I looked at video. I looked at in-car camera footage. I looked at everything ESPN could possibly give me, every angle possible, trying to get every reason to not do what we did. Everything that I looked at supported the decision that we made. It’s not something we would do quite often, and it’s just something that needed to be done.”

As far as a timeline for Tracy's return, Hawk made it simple: there won't be a return, at least not this year.

"It won't be this year," Hawk explained. "Later today, I’ll be making some decisions as far as who gets in that car for Eldora and who gets in there for Lucas Oil Speedway. Paul will not be returning the balance of the year.”

Despite the over-aggressive and hot-head nature that Tracy has put forward in his three seasons competing in the Camping World SRX Series, Hawk says there is no bad blood, as far as the decision is concerned.

“Paul and I have talked. We’ve called, and we’ve texted back and forth. There’s no feud, there’s no war. There’s just the decision that’s been made, and we have to just move on from that.”

For Thursday's event at Berlin Raceway, Johnny Benson, Jr. has been tapped to replace Tracy in the fourth event of the year. Benson, a champion of the Xfinity and Truck Series, is taking on more of a local legend persona, something that hasn't been as common in the series recently.

“To get Johnny Benson in was a cool thing for me," Hawk explained. "While this whole thing is unfolding after the incident at the track, I didn’t contact any driver to fill the seat yet until my head was clear, this was a decision, and I had the support of the ownership group and that kind of thing. Collectively, I hadn’t even given one ounce of thought towards who would be in the car because I wanted everything to be in line.”

“Johnny Benson and Berlin, they go together. I had 12 or 13 names on a list. As soon as the announcement went, people started calling. But kind of like Kyle, the guy knows his way around this place," Hawk added.

While Kyle Busch will be looking to go back-to-back in the Camping World SRX Series, Benson will be looking to do something that has already been done on two occasions this season, win on debut in SRX.

They'll start alongside each other on the front row for Thursday's first heat race.

Image Credit: Wayne Riegle, SRX

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