INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday May 27, 2001 - Bradley Motorsports' driver Buzz Calkins drove the ...
INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday May 27, 2001 - Bradley Motorsports' driver Buzz Calkins drove the #12 Bradley Food Marts/ Sav-O-Mat Dallara to a 12th place finish by gaining 12 spots in today's 85th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Following a 24th place start the Denver native gained three spots on the field before the first turn. That push through the field was stopped when pole-sitter Scott Sharp found the first-turn wall on the opening lap. That would be just the first time that the Bradley effort would be thwarted by bad timing. Yellow flags or other similar scenarios hurting the overall effort deleted a number of strong pit stops by the Todd Tapply-led crew.
"This wasn't up to our expectations," said the University of Colorado graduate. "We didn't get the breaks we needed in the pits and the whole day it seems things just didn't go our way. In the second half [of the race] I struggled with the setup. The car was actually pretty good right at the green flag but had a bit of an understeer after half-way."
While not meeting the team's standards, the final results did favor the Brad Calkins-owned team in the Northern Light Series points standings. The team entered the Indy 500 eighth in series points with 71 markers in the first three races (including third-place points from Atlanta Motor Speedway) and leaves "The Brickyard" with 89 points, good for fifth in the chase for the Northern Light Cup.
Brad Calkins looked on the day with an even eye. "I thought it was a pretty good run, one of the best we've had here. We just got caught out by some bad pit stop luck but that happens. This is actually a really good run for us as it relates to the points. We moved into the top-five and we are really happy with that."
Team manager/ engineer David Cripps also was satisfied, if not pleased, with the race. "Anytime you finish the Indy 500 you have to be happy. Ultimately, we play to win but to finish 12th and have all the wheels on it is good. We have positioned ourselves well in the points up till now and we have some racetracks coming up that are very good for us."
The day was not without challenges for the red Bradley Food Marts/ Sav-O-Mat Dallara. Multiple yellows at the start, an extensive yellow flag session waiting on a light rain to clear, a red flag as a result of a much more stronger storm and several close calls made the day longer than usual for the team.
"The deal with Hornish [a spin by Sam Hornish Jr. coming out of turn-four that resulted in Al Unser Jr. crashing his entry and sent several cars, including Calkins, searching for a clear path] was not as big of a deal as it might have looked," said the younger Calkins. "I came a lot closer to finding trouble when I went to the outside of Billy Boat going into turn-one and, obviously, he didn't see me. He started to come up on me. I guess nobody told him I was there. I don't know how we made it through that."
The Bradley Food Mart/ Sav-O-Mat entry now turns its sights on Texas Motor Speedway (June 9), one of the team's strongest tracks and then back home in Colorado at Pikes Peak International Raceway (June 17).