PPI ATLANTIC DRIVERS ANTHONY LAZZARO (2ND) AND JEFF SHAFER (6TH) FINISH IN THE TOP SIX AT TROIS-RIVIERES LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 7, 1998) - MCI Racing Team/Precision Preparation, Inc. (PPI) driver Anthony Lazzaro is racing this weekend after...
PPI ATLANTIC DRIVERS ANTHONY LAZZARO (2ND) AND JEFF SHAFER (6TH) FINISH IN THE TOP SIX AT TROIS-RIVIERES LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 7, 1998) - MCI Racing Team/Precision Preparation, Inc. (PPI) driver Anthony Lazzaro is racing this weekend after a great finish at Trois-Rivieres last weekend. Lazzaro drove the MCI-Swift to a second place finish in the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship in Quebec. He is positive and looking forward to racing on the 2.25 mile road course, where he finished eighth last year in Atlantic competition.
"I want to win!" said Lazzaro. "The MCI/PPI team is primed; they've all been working hard. We've been close and we want to win. Last year the team was on the pole at Mid-Ohio; I'm looking to duplicate that success but I also want to improve. We know we're capable of winning. It's nice to be on the podium but we're looking for a victory. It will be good to be racing in America again and I know we'll have a lot of support from MCI this weekend."
"At Three Rivers during the first practice we had a little bit of an accident," said Lazzaro. "I was run into the wall when another driver didn't see me on the exit of a corner. It was a tough situation and the MCI crew worked very hard to get the car ready for qualifying. We were second during the first qualifying session but dropped to third, the times were so close. We were quick all weekend from the time we took the car out of the transporter. When the race started I immediately moved into second, and Tagliani [Alex] and I just walked away from everybody. I was literally stuck to the back of his gearbox, just following him. I made a couple of attempts to pass but I couldn't pull them off. But running behind him, the MCI car started to run hot. Then on the 22nd lap there was a caution. The pace car speed was so slow that the car was really running hot, and water was overflowing into the catch bottle near the radiator. Once we took off I caught right up to him and then the car slipped and I lost the rear end. I lost a second to him in one lap, and it was about a two lap period that he pulled a two second lead. When the car cooled off and stabilized I was able to catch him again, finishing just 1.2 seconds back. After the race we found out that water from the catch bottle was actually spilling onto my rear tires."
Lazzaro's teammate, Masaoki Nagashima will make his first Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Atlantic start driving the Panasonic Duskin/PPI prepared entry. Jeff Shafer of North Hollywood, Calif., made his second KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship start and finished sixth last weekend in the the Derek Daley Academy sponsored entry.
"We worked on the car's set-up throughout the weekend," said Shafer. "The car was probably a fourth-place car but I just wasn't quite there. I had a blast. I learned a lot and it was a big confidence builder knowing that I can run with those guys. I've got confidence in the crew and we are really improving."
Shafer will return to action with the PPI Atlantic team Saturday, August 15, 1998 at Elkhart Lake, Wis.
"We've tested at Elkhart Lake, so that's finally a track we're running on where I have experience," said Shafer. "I like the track and it's a difficult track to learn, but hopefully we'll be a step ahead [because of testing]."
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