IRL: B. Lazier leads first day of practice at Kentucky

SPARTA, Ky., Friday, Aug. 25, 2000 -- Indy Racing Northern Light Series points leader Buddy Lazier topped the speed chart, barely holding off 19-year-old rookie Sarah Fisher, during the first day of practice Friday for The Belterra Resort...

SPARTA, Ky., Friday, Aug. 25, 2000 -- Indy Racing Northern Light Series points leader Buddy Lazier topped the speed chart, barely holding off 19-year-old rookie Sarah Fisher, during the first day of practice Friday for The Belterra Resort Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway. Lazier also had to keep the throttle to the floor during the afternoon session to beat out his younger brother, Jaques. 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier turned a lap on the 1 ½-mile oval at 218.774 mph in his Delta Faucet/Coors Light/Tae-Bo/Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. This edged Fisher, who clocked a speed of 218.420 in her Walker Racing Cummins Special Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. “The day went really well,” said Lazier, who could add another three points to his 208-185 lead over second-place Eddie Cheever Jr. in the Northern Light Cup point standings by winning the MBNA Pole during qualifying Saturday afternoon. “We came here to test, and it rained all three days. We came back and only got in a half-day. We were really concerned. But the changes Oldsmobile made in the engine made the difference. “The day was incredible. The track is very slippery, very tricky, so it was a good afternoon for me.” Jaques Lazier lost his ride after the race at Pikes Peak International Raceway in June when car owner Joe Truscelli suspended his operation. Lazier came to an arrangement with Mid America Motorsports last week to drive a Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone car and made the most of it Friday, checking in third fastest overall at 217.602. Rounding out the fast five who will lead the way into qualifying were Buzz Calkins at 217.365 and Scott Goodyear at 217.190. If Lazier should capture the pole, it would be his second top start of the season. He started from the No. 1 spot at Texas Motor Speedway, but that grid was determined by points after qualifying was rained out. A fifth starting spot at Walt Disney World Speedway in January was his only other start in the top 10, but he won his only race in 2000 after starting 26th and last at Phoenix. For Fisher, it was a continuation of the fine showing she has made thus far at the Kentucky track. During the Northern Light Series Open Test on July 1-2, she turned a fast lap of 218.517 mph to lead all drivers. That was just slightly faster than her speed Friday. “Going for the pole is a little bit greedy right now,” said Fisher, who will start her final race Sunday as a teen-ager. She turns 20 on Oct. 4. “I just want to qualify in the top five. Certainly the pole would be great and would give us huge boost of confidence. The most important thing we want to get out of this weekend is a good finish. We’ve got to get points, and we’ve got to finish.” Fisher grew up in the small community of Commercial Point, Ohio. She now lives in Indianapolis, where Walker Racing is based, and has started taking classes at Butler University. Jaques Lazier is three years and three months younger than his brother Buddy. Jaques was a series rookie last season, and this is the first time the two brothers have been among the three fastest in a practice. Their father, Bob, who drove in the 1981 Indianapolis 500, was on hand to witness the history. “I think it was a pretty successful day for us,” Jaques said. Two-time Indianapolis winner Al Unser Jr. headed the second five with a speed of 216.885. He was followed by Donnie Beechler, 216.554; Scott Sharp, 216.520; Jimmy Kite, 216.320; and defending series champion Greg Ray, 216.043. Roberto Guerrero, returning to Indy Racing competition after a long absence, made only a brief shakedown run of 152.780. He twice placed second at Indianapolis and was co-rookie of the year with Michael Andretti in 1984.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Buzz Calkins , Sarah Fisher , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Al Unser Jr. , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Scott Goodyear , Michael Andretti , Roberto Guerrero , Jimmy Kite , Donnie Beechler , Jaques Lazier