California: Rand Racing Thursday practice notes

Anthony Lazzaro will not compete in the Rolex Sports Car Series race at California Speedway on Saturday. He suffered a slight compression fracture of the fifth thoracic vertebrae in an Indy Racing League crash last week, and will not be cleared...

Anthony Lazzaro will not compete in the Rolex Sports Car Series race at California Speedway on Saturday. He suffered a slight compression fracture of the fifth thoracic vertebrae in an Indy Racing League crash last week, and will not be cleared to race for three weeks. Bill Rand and Ralf Kelleners will join Terry Borcheller in the No. 8 Rand Racing Nissan Lola.

"This was going to be a very big weekend. We had a good winning streak going in the Rand car," he said, referring to the team's three wins in as many races. "That will come to an end for me personally, but I hope it will continue for the team. Bill Rand has been there for me and he and his family have been extremely helpful this week.

"On the IRL side, we were 11th in points and first in rookie points. We had a very good test here - we were sixth quick in the Test in the West and we were looking for a good weekend to turn the program around. Sam Schmidt has been very understanding about all this; he just wants me to get home and get healthy again."

Ralf Kelleners posted the fastest lap in the SRPII class, third-fastest overall, during opening-day practice on the new 2.81-mile California Speedway road course. He credited the team with a very competitive car setup.

"We're very happy with the car," he said. "Every step we took made the car better. If the race was tomorrow, we could race the car because we are quite happy with it. I'm sure we can still find another half-second by just fine-tuning it, but the basic setup we came here with is very close to what we need."

He noted the team's attitude contributes to its strong performance.

"We always prepare the best car possible and do the best race," he said. "We work on ourselves. When you do something for yourself and you want to just give the best, that's our aim here, that's why we're all here - every mechanic, the team owner, the drivers, everybody just wants to do a perfect job."

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Series GRANDAM