It sounds that
being on the right track are related not only by meaning but also by common roots. Is the track that we see in
distracting related etymologically to the track in the word
track (n.) Look up track at Dictionary.com late 15c., "footprint, mark left by anything," from Old French trac "track of horses, trace" (mid-15c.), possibly from a Germanic source (compare Middle Low German treck, Dutch trek "drawing, pulling;" see trek). Meaning "lines of rails for drawing trains" is from 1805. Meaning "branch of athletics involving a running track" is recorded from 1905. Meaning "single recorded item" is from 1904, originally in reference to phonograph records. Meaning "mark on skin from repeated drug injection" is first attested 1964.
distract (v.) Look up distract at Dictionary.com mid-14c., "to draw asunder or apart, to turn aside" (literal and figurative), from Latin distractus, past participle of distrahere "draw in different directions," from dis- "away" (see dis-) + trahere "to draw" (see tract (n.1)).
tract (n.1) Look up tract at Dictionary.com "area," mid-15c., "period or lapse of time," from Latin tractus "track, course, space, duration," lit, "a drawing out or pulling," from stem of trahere "to pull, draw," from PIE root *tragh- "to draw, drag, move" (cognates: Slovenian trag "trace, track," Middle Irish tragud "ebb;" perhaps with a variant form *dhragh-; see drag (v.)). The meaning "stretch of land or water" is first recorded 1550s. Specific U.S. sense of "plot of land for development" is recorded from 1912; tract housing attested from 1953.
I see no clear connection in the sources. The dictionary says that
tract originated from
track in 15c whereas
track was derived from
trek only in 19c. This does not make sense at all!