Phoenix, Arizona - 20th March 2000 â€¦Riley & Scott, the renowned USA race car constructor, celebrated an historic first win in Indy Racing competition for the marque's R&S MK VII IRL car at Phoenix this weekend with Buddy Lazier driving for Team...
Phoenix, Arizona - 20th March 2000 …Riley & Scott, the renowned USA race car constructor, celebrated an historic first win in Indy Racing competition for the marque's R&S MK VII IRL car at Phoenix this weekend with Buddy Lazier driving for Team Hemelgarn, taking victory at Phoenix International Raceway in the second round of the 2000 Indy Racing Northern Light Series. Lazier also entered the record books as the first driver to win a Series event starting from last position. Lazier climbed from 26th and last on the grid to win on the 1-mile oval track, beating Scott Goodyear to the chequered flag by 4.191 seconds and taking his first Indy Racing victory since July 1997. A late decision by the Hemelgarn team to race with their back up car after a disappointing qualifying session, proved to be a winning call.
"We couldn't do anything with the primary car," Lazier said. "I have to tell you I was frightened in the car, and I don't normally frighten easily. My guys did a great job. Ron (Hemelgarn, team owner) made the decision to roll out the backup car, and the guys worked through the night. We started last. I can't believe we can come through the field like that from last to first."
Lazier took the lead for the first time on Lap 151 of the 200-lap race but made his final pit stop on Lap 155, surrendering the lead to Robbie Buhl. Lazier regained the lead for good on Lap 161 when Buhl pitted. The final caution period of the event started on Lap 162, and Lazier gradually pulled away from Goodyear after the restart on Lap 167, navigating lapped traffic for the improbable victory despite suffering from a stomach virus.
Bruce Ashmore, Reynard North America Technical Director and Technical Advisor to Riley & Scott's IRL chassis programme, commented, "Buddy (Lazier) did a fantastic job at Phoenix this weekend and everyone at Riley & Scott is delighted with this win - especially with such stiff competition. Hemelgarn Racing proved the potential of this year's car and I am sure they will continue to be strong contenders and battling for further wins. The team struggled with the primary car at the beginning of the weekend, but they had faith in the chassis and took all the right steps. The crew did a great job to make sure the back up was ready for the race and all their efforts were rewarded. "
The Mk VII chassis has been designed and produced for the new Series regulations in collaboration with Reynard Motorsport, which owns Riley & Scott. Extensive research at Reynard's US wind tunnel facility at the Auto Research Center in Indianapolis has been used to develop the aerodynamics of the car in addition to the technical resources of Reynard's specialist research divisions including Computational Fluid Dynamics and Finite Elemental Analysis.