Mid Ohio MCI/PPI Race Report

LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 9, 1998) - MCI Racing Team/Precision Preparation, Inc. (PPI) driver Anthony Lazzaro drove the MCI/PPI-Swift to a ninth place finish in today's KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. ...

LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 9, 1998) - MCI Racing Team/Precision Preparation, Inc. (PPI) driver Anthony Lazzaro drove the MCI/PPI-Swift to a ninth place finish in today's KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. His teammate, Masaoki Nagashima, driving the Panasonic Duskin/PPI-prepared entry finished eighth. Lazzaro started third for the ninth race of the 1998 Atlantic season and Nagashima started 13th. Nagashima raced in the top-ten on the 2.25 mile road course. Lazzaro was hindered at the start with mechanical problems that put him in the back of the field but raced to the front in the MCI Swift to finish in the top-ten as well. Lazzaro clocked the fastest lap of the race in the 27-Toyota Atlantic field.

 "The car was awesome today," said Lazzaro.  "I love my MCI car and crew.
I know I've said that before.  The clutch malfunctioned on the start and I
wasn't able to get off the line.  Someone hit me from the rear and it
punctured my tire and we had to make a pit stop.  We rebounded from the
back to finish in the top-ten.  My crew did a great stop and got me back
on the track.  Lord bless this team and let us win a race."

"I had to slow down when I came upon a slower car," said Nagashima. "It feels good to get another top-ten finish and I want to thank my Panasonic crew." "The one mistake I made during qualifying was that I didn't leave enough distance between my car and the one in front of me, to get a quick lap, said Nagashima after Saturday's qualifying. "The new tires had better grip and I was able to run some good laps, but the session was over."

"Unfortunately, the black flag made us put the tires on earlier than we wanted to during qualifying," said Lazzaro "We were in pretty good shape up until then but we had to make the change and put the tires on. When we went back out I had literally one shot at it. There was extreme traffic and it was one of the most difficult qualifying sessions I ever had in trying to find a clean lap.

Ultimately, you're qualifying one lap here, but you need two good laps and you're second one will be your fastest; I never got that opportunity. Everytime I posted a time it was with just one lap. At the very end I was trying so hard to find a hole to run in that my car just cooled too much and my tires cooled too much. So that last lap put me in third; I needed another consecutive lap after that. The MCI team has done such a good job with the car and it's not the first time we've had a car capable of winning the pole. It just shows the consistency of this great team and I'm very happy to be part of it." Today's race will air on ESPN2 on Sunday, August 16, 1998 at 6:00 p.m. E.T. and will re-air on Monday, August 17, 1998 at 4:00 a.m. E.T. and Thursday, August 20, 1998 at 5:00 a.m. E.T. There is also an additional repeat show on Sunday, August 23, 1998 at 3:00 a.m. E.T. Please check local listings.

The next race for the PPI Atlantic team will be at Road America in Elkhart Lake,Wis., on Saturday, August 15, 1998. The race will air on ESPN2 on Saturday, August 22, 1998 at 2:30 p.m. E.T. and will re-air on Wednesday, August 26, 1998 at 4:30 p.m. E.T. and Saturday, August 29, 1998 at 5:30 a.m. E.T. There will also be an additional repeat show on Tuesday, September 1, 1998 at 3:30 a.m. Please check your local listings.

Jeff Shafer of North Hollywood, Calif. returns to Toyota Atlantic action at Road America, where he will pilot the #24 Derek Daly Performance Driving Academy/Swift.

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Anthony Lazzaro , Masaoki Nagashima , Derek Daly , Jeff Shafer