IRL: Series notes prior to Joliet

SERIES NOTES -- Sam Hornish Jr. needs to finish fifth or better in the last two Indy Racing Northern Light Series events of the season to clinch the Northern Light Cup as series champion. Hornish has a 45-point lead over second-place Buddy...

SERIES NOTES

-- Sam Hornish Jr. needs to finish fifth or better in the last two Indy Racing Northern Light Series events of the season to clinch the Northern Light Cup as series champion. Hornish has a 45-point lead over second-place Buddy Lazier and needs a 53-point lead after this event to clinch the championship.

-- At 21, Sam Hornish Jr. became the youngest driver to win an Indy Racing League event with his victory at the season opener March 18 in Phoenix. He followed that with a win April 8 at Homestead, Fla., and is one of five drivers in Indy Racing history to win consecutive races.

-- Sam Hornish Jr.'s consecutive victories at Phoenix and Homestead-Miami, coupled with Buddy Lazier's back-to-back wins at Pikes Peak and Richmond, Va., marked the first time in Indy Racing history that two drivers have won consecutive races in the same season.

-- Buddy Lazier's back-to-back victories at Pikes Peak and Richmond, Va., coupled with consecutive victories at Nashville, Tenn., and Sparta, Ky., mark the first time in Indy Racing history that a driver has won four events in one season.

-- Buddy Lazier's victory Aug. 12 at Kentucky was his eighth career Indy Racing League victory, the most of any driver in league history. It was also his fourth victory in five races. Lazier is the only driver to win consecutive races twice in his Indy Racing League career.

-- The Indy Racing Northern Light Series consists of a record 13 races this year between mid-March and late September. In addition to Chicago, five new markets are playing host to Indy Racing events in 2001: Miami, St. Louis, Kansas City, Mo., Nashville, Tenn., and Richmond, Va.

-- The 2002 Indy Racing Northern Light Series schedule will have the largest number of events in Indy Racing history, with 14 races between March and mid-September. Michigan International Speedway and Nazareth Speedway have been added as new venues, and the June race at Fort Worth, Texas, and events at Richmond, Va., and Nashville, Tenn., will be at night.

-- The Indy Racing League is not awarding qualifying points this year in an effort to discourage teams from building fragile but fast qualifying engines that provide an advantage over those teams lacking the budget to build the costly extra engines.

-- Sarah Fisher's second-place finish on April 8 at Homestead-Miami was her career best and the best by a woman in the history of Indy-style racing. Fisher also started second at the SunTrust Indy Challenge on June 30 at Richmond, Va., a career best and the best by a woman in the history of Indy-style racing.

-- Rookie Felipe Giaffone has clinched the series Rookie of the Year point standings. Giaffone has 275 points and is fifth in Northern Light Series points. The next-highest rookie in the standings, Didier Andre, has 156 points and is 19th overall.

-- Buddy Lazier set an Indy Racing record Aug. 12 at Kentucky by finishing in the top five for the sixth consecutive time. He has 23 career top-five and 32 career top-10 finishes, the most in each category by any driver in Indy Racing history.

-- Twice this year a driver has led the first lap of an Indy Racing event after starting in the second row. On June 30 at Richmond, Va., Buddy Lazier took the lead on Lap 1 after starting fourth. Eliseo Salazar led the first lap July 8 at Kansas City, Kan., after starting third. Prior to the Richmond race, no driver ever had led the opening lap without starting in the front row.

-- Buzz Calkins' streak of running at the finish in 12 consecutive races came to an end at St. Louis. He had been running at the finish of every race dating back to August 2000 at Kentucky Speedway. His best finish in that span was third on April 28 at Atlanta. He holds the Indy Racing record of running at the finish in 13 consecutive races from September 1998 at Texas to January 2000 at Orlando, Fla. His best finish in that span was fifth at Atlanta and Las Vegas. He has been running at the finish in 16 of the last 18 Indy Racing events.

-- Sam Hornish Jr. is the only driver to be running at the finish of all 11 Indy Racing events this season. He leads the Indy Racing League with 10 top-10 finishes and nine top-five finishes. He has also led in nine of the 11 races this season, more than any other driver.

-- Eddie Cheever Jr. and Buddy Lazier have started in 52 consecutive Indy Racing Northern Light Series events, a league record. Davey Hamilton started 48 consecutive races from the inaugural Indy Racing event in 1996 until the Casino Magic 500 on June 9 at Texas Motor Speedway, where he suffered serious leg and foot injuries. Cheever and Lazier also share the record for competing in the most Indy Racing events with 53.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buzz Calkins , Sarah Fisher , Felipe Giaffone , Eddie Cheever , Buddy Lazier , Didier André , Sam Hornish Jr.