Indy 500: Hemelgarn Johnson Motorsports final qualifying preview

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BUDDY LAZIER ...

BUDDY LAZIER #91 HEMELGARN JOHNSON MOTORSPORTS HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE

Buddy Lazier is coming off a memorable qualifying run that captivated the fans on Bump Day in 2008. Due to rain, the No. 91 Hemelgarn Johnson Motorsports entry was limited to just a few hours of practice. Lazier made a qualifying attempt but was bumped on May 17. On Sunday May 18, he made another attempt at 5:30pm but only turned a top lap of 217.272 mph and the team waved off the attempt. Just seventeen minuites later, Buddy Lazier qualified 32nd by posting a lap speed of 219.015. During the 2008 Indianapolis 500, Lazier gained fifteen positions during the race, the most by any driver.

DRIVER BUDDY LAZIER ON QUALIFYING FOR THE INDIANAPOLIS 500:

"I would sure not like to be there on Sunday at the last minute trying to get into the race. I am hoping we can lay down four fast enough laps Saturday to be in the race then on Sunday we could do a little race setup. I don't know what the weekend will bring but I will be ready for trying to take the absolute maximum out of the race car as I can. Obviously I am looking to do what I do which is get in this race."

"It is always difficult being a second weekend effort with a single car team. As difficult as it is to have such limited amount of time to work through it all I am fortunate to have a bunch of good guys around me."

TEAM STRATEGIST LEE KUNZMAN ON QUALIFYING FOR THE INDIANAPOLIS 500:

"It is going to be very interresting. I think it is going to be fairly fast. I think you are looking at twenty one and a half to qualify."

"The weather will have an effect on what we do. Saturday looks like rain and Sunday looks pretty good. You are going to Sunday real crowed and a busy situation. As the day goes on, those that don't have it will be looking for it heavily. Those with it will be in line immediately to go out there and get qualified so there is going to be a lot of action."

On pressure of qualifying:

"No matter what, when you are in Indianapolis, you have pressure and everybody does. This is the only race in my opinion that really counts."

CAR OWNER RON HEMELGARN ON QUALIFYING FOR THE INDIANAPOLIS 500:

"We will see what the day brings. If it is not raining we will go out and run in the morning. Try to get the car set up for qualifying. Our plans are to qualify it on the first day. Hopefully it will be quick enough. If not then come back on Sunday and go again. We have eleven spots and thirteen car combinations to do it so hopefully we are one of those eleven."

CAR OWNER ROGER JOHNSON ON QUALIFYING FOR THE INDIANAPOLIS 500:

"We came in here knowing what exactly we were going to face and the guys have done a great job preparing the car. The competition is tough so we are going to have to be on our toes this weekend."

AUGIE'S QUEST

This month, the Hemelgarn Johnson Motorsports entry is sporting the Augie's Quest logo on the car. Augie's quest came about through a relationship between team co-owner Ron Hemelgarn and Augie Nieto.

"Four years ago I made a commitment to Augie to help him raise funds to find a cure for ALS," said Hemelgarn. "So over the past four years we have been fortunate to raise over eighteen million dollars which has gone towards research for ALS. They have made some very good headway and still haven't found a cure but have identified the genes."

May is ALS month and the Hemelgarn Johnson Motorsports team hopes a little awareness to the race fans might help the researchers find a cure.

-credit: hjm

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Series INDYCAR