Lazzaro ready for another doubleheader weekend in Fontana FONTANA, Calif. (March 14, 2002) -- Two weeks ago Anthony Lazzaro was the busiest man in motorsports. While at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he not only raced in the Indy Racing League Grand...
Lazzaro ready for another doubleheader weekend in Fontana
FONTANA, Calif. (March 14, 2002) -- Two weeks ago Anthony Lazzaro was the busiest man in motorsports. While at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he not only raced in the Indy Racing League Grand Prix of Miami, but also slid behind the wheel of a SportsRacing Prototype II to run in the Rolex Sports Car Series Nextel 250. Switching from open-wheel oval racing to sports car road racing was quite a transition for the 38-year-old, but its one he's ready to do yet again at California Speedway next weekend.
Lazzaro will race in yet another doubleheader weekend with the Rolex Sports Car Series and Indy Racing League, but this time he will get a break between the two races. Unlike the event in Miami where he jumped from one car to the other on the same day, Lazzaro will race in the Rolex Series Grand American 400 on Saturday, March 23, and then get a chance to rest before he races in the Indy Racing League 400 on Sunday, March 24.
In his first double duty weekend, Lazzaro piloted the #99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special to ninth-place in the Indy Racing League event and finished first in the Rolex Series SRPII class, with co-driver Terry Borcheller, in the #8 Rand Racing/Risi Competizione Nissan Lola. Although those were impressive finishes in both series, Lazzaro is still looking for more. "The ninth place in the IRL was pretty good, but not as good as I would have hoped. I think we could have had a better day there," he remarked.
So Lazzaro will take to the track twice in the same weekend yet again in hopes of finding his way to Victory Lane in both races. With the Indy Racing League 400 being only the third race of his rookie season in the series, his road to the top could be a tough one. But Lazzaro and teammate Borcheller have already established themselves as a fixture atop the podium in the Rolex Sports Car Series. In three races together, the duo has scored SRPII victories at every one. And in the last two races, they have posted impressive overall podium finishes as well.
Because of this, Lazzaro admits that his Indy Racing League car will draw most of his attention during the doubleheader weekend in California. "The IRL car will be my top priority during the weekend, because I have Terry to set up the car for the Rolex Series race. Although I set up the Rand car at the first two races, Terry did a great job getting it ready for the Miami race despite our accident that cost a lot of practice time. Fortunately we both like the same kind of car, as far as set up is concerned."
Even though Lazzaro will have a night of rest between the two races, he must still deal with the physical and mental strain of competing in the two different racing disciplines. "The physical part of the super speedway in the IRL is not that bad, but the oval is more mentally challenging. In sports cars, its more taxing on your body to maneuver both the left and right turns," commented the Hickory, N.C. resident.
Lazzaro will get his first shot at California Speedway's new road course on Thursday, March 21, when the Rolex Series cars take to the track for practice sessions. His juggling act between his Indy Racing League and Rolex Sports Car Series teams will begin on Friday, March 22, when both series will hold practice sessions at the Speedway. The Rolex Series will qualify on Friday, however Borcheller is expected to qualify the Rand Racing Lola. Lazzaro will qualify his Sam Schmidt IRL car on Saturday, March 23, just prior to the start of the Grand American 400 at 12:30 p.m. As the qualifying driver, Borcheller will run the opening stint in the #8 Lola, but Lazzaro anticipates being behind the wheel for at least half of the 400-mile race.
The Indy Racing League will hold its final practice session late Saturday afternoon following the conclusion of the Grand American 400. Lazzaro has not said if he plans to participate in the session. The Indy Racing League 400 will begin at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 24, following the Grand-Am Cup Street Stock Series 250-mile race.
Tickets are currently available online at www.californiaspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at 800-944-RACE (7223). Additional information about the Rolex Sports Car Series is available online at www.grand-am.com.