VANCOUVER (September 5, 1998) - MCI Racing Team/Precision Preparation, Inc. (PPI) driver Anthony Lazzaro drove the MCI/PPI-Swift to an 18th place finish in today's KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship race at Concord Pacific Place in British ...
VANCOUVER (September 5, 1998) - MCI Racing Team/Precision Preparation, Inc. (PPI) driver Anthony Lazzaro drove the MCI/PPI-Swift to an 18th place finish in today's KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship race at Concord Pacific Place in British Columbia, Canada. His teammate, Jeff Shafer, driving the Derek Daley Academy/PPI-prepared entry finished 17th. Lazzaro started third for the 11th race of the 1998 Atlantic season and Shafer won his first Toyota/Atlantic pole in only four career starts. However, both drivers along with many other competitors were collected in a multi-car crash on lap seven. The newly paved Vancouver street circuit had oil in Turn One from the result of a previous accident. Shafer was running in first place and Lazzaro second when they spun in the oil along with four other cars. Both of the PPI prepared entries were unable to finish.
"It's really a shame what happened," said Lazzaro. "Jeff and I were working together one-two trying to pull away. I had a good run on him on the back straightaway but there was a yellow each time, so I couldn't pull off the passing opportunity or take advantage of the passing opportunity. There was a debris flag out in Turn One, but nobody was really jumping up and down with it or waving it. When there is that much oil on the track, they need to be really out there showing the drivers that there is a dangerous situation. We backed off a bit because of the flag but at that point you're just a passenger, it was too late to slow down and there was nothing we could do. It is really disappointing. The MCI/PPI team did a great job. We had two very good race cars this weekend. I just really feel bad for MCI and our team because they've really been working hard."
"We were leading the race," said Shafer. "I entered a corner and at the last second I saw them put up a debris flag. They just kind of held the flag out, so I thought there was just a piece of debris on the track. When I entered the corner I didn't lift (off the throttle) a whole lot. I slowed down a little to be cautious, but when I got into the corner I saw a big line of oil. I was already in it and I ended up in the tires, and everybody followed me there. It was running great up until then. Tagliani (Alexandre) and I had a good race going through the first two turns. I saw him on the inside of me on both corners, so he obviously crossed over on me, but I kept the door closed and I ended up leading the first couple of laps."
"The guys on the MCI team did a great job again today in qualifying," said Lazzaro. "There was a lot of traffic and I had a tough time getting a clean lap. After one of the black flags I was able to really run, improving my lap time and I was P1 (position one)."
"I could not have started on the pole without this team," said Shafer. "We had some problems but we made some changes last night after comparing notes with Anthony (Lazzaro) and the MCI team. The changes really made the difference. The track was also better today. It's tough for me not running every race and being in and out of the car. But this team consistently prepares the best cars, makes the right decisions and has the right setups." Today's race will air tape delay on ESPN2. Please check your local listings for exact air time and date.
The next race for the PPI Atlantic team will be at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif., on Saturday, September 12, 1998. The race will air tape delay on ESPN2. Please check your local listings for exact air time and date.
Masaoki Nagashima returns to Toyota Atlantic action at Laguna Seca Raceway, where he will pilot the #24 Panasonic Duskin/Swift.