IRL: Motegi: Team Menard race report

Lazier looking at ninth place before accident at Japan. MOTEGI, Japan (April 13, 2003) - Team Menard driver Jaques Lazier was knocking on the door of a ninth-place finish at the Indy Japan 300 before being forced into the wall when another...

Lazier looking at ninth place before accident at Japan.

MOTEGI, Japan (April 13, 2003) - Team Menard driver Jaques Lazier was knocking on the door of a ninth-place finish at the Indy Japan 300 before being forced into the wall when another driver spun in front of him with only six laps remaining in the 200-lap race.

"The race was going well," Lazier said. "We had a pretty strong run there with the Johns Manville/Team Menard Chevy. We were running with little Al (Unser Jr.) the whole time. At the end, on the restart, (Shinji) Nakano spun in front of me and I had no where to go. I am disappointed because we were running ninth at the time. We had a real good run going."

Lazier was examined by the IRL medical team at the infield care center and released after being treated for a right-knee abrasion.

"I feel pretty good," Lazier said. "I have a little bit of a headache, but I think that is to be expected. We will be ready for the Indy 500 and testing."

Lazier and the Team Menard/Johns Manville crew placed 12th in the final race standings of the IRL IndyCar Series' debut at Twin Ring Motegi.

"Without a doubt the Japanese fans were great," Lazier said. "It started yesterday with the autograph session. It was raining but it didn't seem to bother the fans at all. I felt bad because we had to leave and there were still people waiting for autographs. The stands today were incredibly full. Almost all around the track. The fans have welcomed us to their home. It is a beautiful home, and a beautiful facility. It's something we look forward to coming back to many more times."

On returning home from Japan, Team Menard has several test days scheduled at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Nashville Superspeedway. Opening day for the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500 is May 4th, with the race scheduled for May 25th.

One of the founding teams of the IRL IndyCar Series, Team Menard has two championships, 10 wins and an all-time record of 24 pole positions to its credit. Owned by John Menard, the Indianapolis-based team is supported by Menards, Johns Manville, Chevrolet, Menard Engine Group, Dallara, Firestone and Menard Cheever Technologies. For more information visit www.teammenard.com.

-tm-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jaques Lazier