HOST: TAMMY BREWINGTON and PAT SULLIVAN GUEST: JAQUES LAZIER Tammy Brewington: We have Jaques Lazier here, who finished third here in the Harrah's 200, and we would like to open up questions to the media for Jaques, please. Jaques, what ...
HOST: TAMMY BREWINGTON and PAT SULLIVAN
GUEST: JAQUES LAZIER
Tammy Brewington: We have Jaques Lazier here, who finished third here in the Harrah's 200, and we would like to open up questions to the media for Jaques, please.
Jaques, what happened after the race?
Jaques Lazier: You know, I honestly don't know. We had something in the last lap when I went into Turn 1 and, you know, just something let go and suddenly the car swapped ends on us. I mean, it actually really caught me by surprise, but, you know, I hate to see the weekend end that way, obviously a podium finish, my first one, and, you know, the first podium finish for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. We had a tremendous run. It was good to have BG up there and, you know, I feel bad that it ended that way, but at the same time it was a -- you know, I'm not totally sure what happened and just something mechanical in the rear broke and we ended up in the wall, but, you know, it still looks good to be up there on the podium.
How do you feel, lucky since it happened right after you crossed the finish line, I assume?
Lazier: Well, you know, obviously I'm happy. It was right after I finished, you know, or came across the start-finish line so we could hold our position of third, and I'm also obviously very happy that it didn't happen right in front of my brother and take out the leader, but, obviously I'm very, very proud of the team and very proud for my brother, who won the race, and Billy Boat had a very strong run as well. You know, I think that we had some problems a little bit in traffic but other than that, I think we all had just a tremendous run, and I'm just extremely proud of the team.
Otherwise, are you OK?
Lazier: I feel great. You know, I mean obviously it was a pretty big hit, so the elbow is banged a little bit, and the knee is banged a little bit. Other than that, I feel fine.
When you were getting down to those few laps and you saw Buddy sitting up there ahead of you, at any point were you thinking about some old conversations that you and Buddy had had up in the mountains and saying, 'OK, if I'm in this position, I'm going to do that and maybe you can outfox them?'
Lazier: You know, actually I really wasn't very concerned about Buddy behind me. I knew that, more importantly, I was just trying to keep Robby McGehee from coming up and taking third place from us. You know, I mean Buddy was running extremely strong and towards the end there we were just kind of hanging on for a third-place finish, and obviously it's an extremely strong finish for us. You know, I mean the momentum on the team is just consistently getting stronger and stronger, and, I mean, obviously I hate to end it up in the wall, but at the same time it was a tremendous run for the team, and we're just going to continue this momentum.
Jaques, had Buddy already cleared you at that point when you crashed or was he still behind you?
Lazier: No, Buddy was still behind me, and I think I was about five car lengths ahead of him, and he took the start -- or he took the checkered flag and, you know, I still had one more lap and came in right between Turns 1 and 2, and it just swapped ends on me.
What about a couple of laps before, Buddy looked like he was going to come underneath you in 1, and he really had to get out of it. Would you have given him the spot at that point or you probably couldn't have given him the spot.
Lazier: Well, obviously, my first podium I wanted to finish on the lead lap, so, you know, I wasn't going to exactly give it to him. If he got up next to me, obviously you have to give it to him. I mean, you know, it's tough racing out there, but at the same time when somebody earns the position, you have got to give it to them. I did see him coming up there, but I also knew that he had a large enough lead that if he had to get out of it, he was still going to be OK. So, I mean, obviously we wanted to finish the race on the lead lap, and we gave it all we could.
How big a finish is this for you and the team, especially coming after you did so well at Richmond and had trouble there and to come back and be so strong here today? How big is that for Curb?
Lazier: Well, I mean this is obviously huge for Sam Schmidt Motorsports and also for myself. You know, this is the fruits of our labor and, obviously, they have had some tough times this year, but they have always, you know, just about been there. They just needed a little break to get up there and have the finish that we had tonight. And, you know, obviously we had a strong run at Richmond, you know, qualifying on the pole, we had a good run going in Kansas and, you know, the momentum is just building, as we're getting a snowball effect I think over at Sam Schmidt Motorsports and I mean this is -- this is huge for me. I mean this is definitely a career maker, and at the same time I'm so proud of the team.
What was it about your coming together with Sam Schmidt Motorsports? Why all of a sudden did your climbing into the seat make this thing work, because it seemed like it was almost a totally different team, yet you're the only new fixture. You know, are you --
Lazier: You know, I think the biggest thing is communications. You know, I worked with my engineer, Tim Neff, last year for one race at TeamXtreme, so we already had a basis to build our communication, and I think it's synergy in the team, I think, is the key and, you know, the whole team is extremely motivated. They have big hearts. They just want to go racing. They want to do well, you know, and that's why this finish is exactly what the team needed. You know, they work incredibly hard. I have never seen a team that comes to a racetrack with such high morals and is so excited just to be here and, you know, they just kind of -- we kind of corralled around each other and said hey, 'We're going to do this. We're going to make it work, and we're definitely paying off.' You know, we did a few changes this weekend and everything has just been going extremely well.
I know your dad has been involved in both you and your brother's career from the start.
Lazier: Sometimes more than we really want, but ...
All right. What did he tell you when you told him you had this opportunity? What did he say to you?
Lazier: I think the last time he and I talked about it, he said that it's just a natural fit. I mean he just truly believes that, you know, the team has come together, they believe in what we're doing, they believe in the program and, you know, obviously I think he's -- I mean I see a smile over there on his face, so obviously he's happy about the whole thing. You know, it's great to have the Lazier family one and three.
Pat Sullivan: We certainly want to slide Sam in if we can. We're so delighted by the run for this team. And it's a team that's been marked by resolve starting with the owner to a gentleman who is back in Indianapolis continuing his rehabilitation process to this gentleman to my right. I think it's important to know, Jaques, I'm operating from the top of my head now and I'm going to apologize if I'm wrong, but I believe this is your 21st series start and in that time you have had nine top 10 and coming off your best career finish ever and you have done that with multiple teams, and you have really been a survivor in your own right. And, Sam, I would to think that's one of the things that gives you great satisfaction, is this is a guy sitting next to us here that has demonstrated that he has the right stuff to be a winner in this series and the opportunity in coming together with you has to make you feel wonderful.
Sam Schmidt: Well, absolutely, when you talk about Jaques, I mean there was three or four guys on my list, you know, back in February and, frankly, I didn't know that they were going to make the announcement that he was going to run for TeamXtreme, you know, with the same Test in the West that we made our announcement for. So I kind of took him off the list, but I was at -- at that time we were just making the team announcement, but he was definitely up on the list. I mean, I have raced side by side with him and know there is a lot of talent there. And he's right, the chemistry made a lot of difference. The core of this team is just a great group of guys that work as hard as anybody out here. I think a lot of the times that's underestimated how well some of these big teams do, but they have got a lot of people, you know, and we have had to repair a lot of cars this year and do some things that just a small group of guys have done and, believe me, tonight they're happy to repair this one. I mean you never want to repair a car, but these guys will be happy to repair this one.
sullivan: Sam, I know that there is nothing, in talking to drivers, there is nothing that replaces the satisfaction of going fast in a race car. It's an experience that few experience and when many people do, they're really hooked on it for life, but there has to be some satisfaction in putting this team together and seeing the result. I can look around at some of your people, and they are absolutely thrilled at the opportunity to be able to celebrate a great win.
<B>Schmidt</B>: Well, absolutely. I mean we got a late start so we had to thrash to get to Phoenix, and it doesn't seem like they have really stopped since that time. I'm out in Vegas, but I'm working hard trying to find sponsors, and those guys I know are working 16-18-hour days, six, seven days a week to get this thing done because there just isn't a whole lot of them. And this is really, I think what this team is capable of doing on a regular basis. We have ran, you know, in the top 10 several times and just haven't been able to finish a race, so this is just a fantastic finish. I have got to thank my dad because he's kind of behind the scenes on this whole deal, but he has been there every step of the way and, you know, just a great group of guys. I have got to say hi to Davey, too, just because I mean he laid a lot of this groundwork. He did some testing for us and obviously, you know, he's back there watching, too, so this goes out to him as well.
Sullivan.: Any questions, further questions, for either Sam or Jaques?
Lazier: May I say one more thing?
SULLIVAN: Yeah, hold on, Jaques. I'm hung up here.
Lazier: You know, one of the questions was how exactly -- you know, I was talking about the synergy, and obviously having a team owner like Sam who has been out there and obviously we have raced side by side really well before, it just brings one more key element into it and, you know, being able to come out of the car after a practice session and being able to sit down and talk to Sam about stuff obviously helps a tremendous amount as well, and that's helped create the whole synergy in the team as well.