IRL: Bradley Motorsports buzz bits - Pennzoil Copper World Indy 200

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#12 Bradley Food Marts/ Sav-O-Mat Dallara-Oldsmobile Driver: Buzz Calkins

* Buzz Calkins is second on the all-time starts list with 40 (out of a possible 43) Indy Racing Northern Light Series green flags to his credit.

* Of the 40 events that Calkins and the Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat #12 have started, Buzz has taken the checkered flag in 29. That is a completion percentage of 72.5! He has finished in the top-10 in 55% of those events.

* Buzz has completed over 74% of the laps that have been run in the Northern Light Series since winning the Walt Disney World Indy 200 in 1996.

* Coming into last year's Pennzoil Copper World Indy 200 Buzz had finished 13 consecutive races, a Northern Light Series record. An accident at Phoenix ended that streak. However, the Bradley #12 took the checkered flag at six of the nine races in 2000.

* Buzz has three championship titles to his credit since starting in the sport in 1986. He was the 1987 Colorado IKAC 100cc Junior Class kart champion, the 1990 SCCA Formula Ford Midwest Division champion and the 1996 Indy Racing Northern Light Series co-champion (with Scott Sharp).

* Buzz's familiar red, blue, white and yellow helmet paint scheme goes back to his early days of Indy Lights driving. The design is a salute to several different designs and drivers that Buzz remembers. Though it has been altered since those days in Indy Lights, the colors have remained the same and have become directly associated with Calkins.

* Like Buzz's helmet, the Bradley Motorsports team has other traditions that go back to its earliest days. The #12 has appeared on every Indy Racing car since the team took its first League lap in 1996. In large part that is due to the victory the number brought at that first event. The all-red paint scheme has also been run at all but two races since the inaugural race. A black and white paint scheme was run during the 2000 Indianapolis 500 and a dark blue car was run at Disney World in 1997.

* Buzz sits on the board of directors for Natural Ties. The charity, based in Evanston, Ill., was designed to help college-aged individuals with disabilities to assimilate into mainstream society. Most government programs used to help end at 18-years-old forcing many to withdraw from society. Natural Ties uses college-age kids to help associate their peers with many of their interests on college campuses. Buzz has been a part of Natural Ties for a number of years doing fundraisers and bringing those young-adults with an interest in auto racing to the track.

* Buzz Calkins is the only Northern Light Series driver with an M.B.A., a degree earned at the prestigious Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University in 2000.

* Buzz appears as a weekly guest on Denver's only all-sports radio station, 950 'The Fan.' During the "Sinclair Gearhead Hour" Buzz updates the greater-Denver area with the latest in Indy Racing and with Bradley Motorsports. The show, now in its fourth year, can be heard 10-11am, mountain time, on Saturday mornings.

* An avid outdoorsman, Buzz enjoys golfing and running during the warmer months and cross-country skiing and snow shoeing in the winter-months.

* Buzz has finished three marathons. His best time is 3 hours, 41 minutes and 11 seconds at the 2000 LaSalle Banks Chicago Marathon, which he also ran in 1999. His first marathon was the grueling New York City Marathon in 1998. He says that the marathon running came as a result of training for auto racing, "I was doing so much running to stay in shape for racing that the marathons just seemed to be a natural progression. The marathons do a great job of keeping you in shape for the race car and that is the main thing."

* 2001 marks the second year that Buzz has worked with engineer David Cripps. In 2001, Cripps also becomes team manager of Bradley Motorsports.

* In 2001, Bradley Motorsports has made the move from its traditional home base in Denver to Indianapolis. The move was made to bring the team closer to the center of motorsports but Bradley remains very much a Colorado team with Buzz, car-owner Brad Calkins and sponsors Bradley Food Marts and Sav-O-Mat firmly-footed in the Rocky Mountains.

* In 2000, Calkins started 15th at Phoenix International Raceway with a qualifying speed of 169.292 mph. He completed 43 laps before an accident ended his day with a 23rd-place finish. The team won $32,800 at the event.

* TV broadcast time for the Pennzoil Copper World Indy 200 is Sunday, March 18 at 4 pm (EST) on ABC. Indy Racing 2Day, the pre-race show, can be seen live on ESPN2 at 11:30 am (EST). A tape-delayed broadcast of qualifying can be seen at 4:30 pm (EST) March 17 also on ESPN2. The radio broadcast can be found throughout the country on the IMS Radio Network with the pre-race show starting at 3:30 pm (EST), and race coverage taking the green at 4 pm (EST). Live timing and scoring of practices, qualifying and the event can be found at www.IndyRacing.com .

Buzz Calkins Interview:

About starting strong at Phoenix:
"I think that each individual race isn't as important as last year because there are more to make up for one bad race. But I feel like this one race is very important. This race gets all your momentum going for the year. If you had a bad first race, you used to be able to regroup after Disney but not anymore. You have to start off strong."

About the importance of qualifying at Phoenix with the large entry list:
"Qualifying is always more important at the one-mile ovals than it is on the longer, one-and-a-halves. The one milers are tighter and it is harder to work traffic so starting up-front helps. However, Buddy Lazier started last in 2000 and worked his way all the way up to win so it shows that with good pit stops, good strategy and if the car is working well, it can be done."

About team's history at Phoenix:
"We've had very good races and very bad races here. We've made a lot of changes this off-season, including moving the shop to Indy. A lot of times you come into the first race and don't really know where you are with the team. You feel a little uneasy. We feel like we've had adequate testing this year with the Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat #12, and we are firing on all cylinders. We feel really good going into this Indy Racing Northern Light Series season."

About being part of the Copper World weekend:
"This is going to be a great weekend of racing. With all these races -- the supermodifieds, midgets, Silver Crown cars- I don't think people are going to want to leave the track at night. This gives fans an opportunity to see some great racing and may introduce them to different forms of racing that they haven't been exposed to before. It is exciting to have the Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat car as part of such a historic event."

About his expectations for 2001:
"My expectations are the highest yet. I think we have put together the best team since we started in 1996 so I think this is our best opportunity ever to win races. The longer season will make each race not as important from a points perspective but consistency will still be key."

About the importance of winter testing with the tighter and longer schedule:
"The schedule definitely puts more weight on winter testing. Once the season gets started it will be difficult to test as often as in the past. It will be important to be at the top of your game the first time out because you may never regain your momentum. All of this is for the better, especially if you are prepared."

About preseason testing at Phoenix:
"Phoenix is definitely unique to the other places we go. You use to be able to use it (testing information) at Walt Disney World, but now what you are testing here is for this race. It doesn't really translate to anywhere else ... possibly Richmond, but I haven't been there yet."

About the 2001 Dallara:
"Dallara made a lot of head-way during the off-season, particularly in the aerodynamics. In testing we learned that the car handled pretty much the same way but it was faster everywhere we took it. They made some big changes in 2001 and they definitely improved the car. I think it is the car to have in 2001."

-Bradley Motorsports

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buzz Calkins , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp