IRL: Buddy Lazier leads the way at Kentucky

By David Reininger - Sparta, KY (August 25, 2000) - Current Indy Racing Northern Light Series points leader Buddy Lazier turned the fastest lap ever recorded at the brand new Kentucky Speedway with a lap at 218.774 mph. The ...

By David Reininger -

Sparta, KY (August 25, 2000) - Current Indy Racing Northern Light Series points leader Buddy Lazier turned the fastest lap ever recorded at the brand new Kentucky Speedway with a lap at 218.774 mph. The 1.5-mile super speedway, located 35 miles south of Cincinnati, Ohio in Northern Kentucky, opened in June with a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race.

"The day went really well," said Lazier, who was fastest in both practice sessions today. "We came here and tested for three days and it rained for the whole three days. We came back a week later for a half day test and things went really well for us. Some of the changes that Oldsmobile has made, really made some gains horsepower wise"

"It was cooler this morning, so the engines ran better," said Lazier, who ran 217.768 in the morning session. "I was amazed that we were still able to run so quick, and run quicker this afternoon, with as hot as it was. It was a very slippery race track, very tricky. The motor doesn't make as much horsepower when it's hot, so it was a good effort."

Sarah Fisher, who recorded a lap of 218.517 mph in recent testing at the Kentucky Speedway, was the only other driver to tour the speedway over 218 mph.

Fisher has shown speed, starting fifth in Atlanta, but the 19-year old rookie has yet to score a top-ten finish. "Thinking about going for the pole, I think that's a bit greedy right now. We wanted to have top-five position, we got that at Atlanta, and we want to be able to continue that here at Kentucky. Certainly the pole would be great and that would be a huge boost of confidence for my team. But the most important thing we can get out of this weekend is a good finish in the race."

Jaques Lazier experienced several problems in the Mid America Oldsmobile-powered Dallara, turning only 10 laps in the morning session. After recording 38 laps in the afternoon session, Lazier found himself third on the day's speed charts.

"I think it was an extremely successful day for everyone at Mid America. The fact that we were put together last week and are up here with Buddy (Lazier) and Sarah (Fisher) is the biggest success we could have dreamed of," said the soft spoken younger brother of 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier.

"Honestly, it's a two fold situation," said Jaques. "I'm extremely honored to be up here with Buddy, the fact that he's leading the points championship, and I'm up here third quick today, is a tremendous honor for myself, and also a tremendous honor for my family. At the same time, I have to view him as just another competitor. I have to beat him one way or another. That's why Mid America signed me up, to go out there and win races."

Scott Goodyear and Buzz Calkins rounded out the top-five today. MBNA Pole Qualifying for the Belterra Casino Resort Indy 300 is scheduled from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

Notes: Jimmy Kite's Blueprint Oldsmobile G Force will sport a new black and gold paint scheme with Aramis as the team's new sponsor. Aramis is a division of Estee Lauder Companies of New York, is widely recognized as the leader in men's colognes and fragrances.

Indy Racing League senior vice president of sales and marketing, Bob Reif and Eddie Cheever announced today sponsorship of the season ending race at Texas Motor Speedway. The October 15th season finale will be known as the Excite 500. Excite@Home is the primary sponsor on Cheever's Infinti-powered Dallara.

Just last week Billy Boat didn't think he would have a ride at the Kentucky Speedway for the Belterra Casino Resort Indy 300. In a last minute deal, Boat is back in the 2000 Oldsmobile Dallara entered by Team Pelfrey. Sam Hornish Jr. is racing for PDM Racing this weekend. Both Boat and Hornish auditioned for the 2001 season in a recent test with Panther Racing.

Roberto Guerrero, who attempted to qualify for this year's Indianapolis 500, is back in Indy Racing competition this weekend. Guerrero will pilot the Team Coulson Racing Zali entry.

The garages at the Kentucky Speedway are arranged in a unique fashion. When viewed from the grandstand, he two garage buildings form a huge inverted U-shape, stretching from turn four to turn one, affording fans an opportunity to peer into each of the garages from their seats. Fans wishing to visit the garage area at the Kentucky Speedway enter the tunnel opening under the grandstand where they are greeted by the first of three escalators, which drop you nine stories down to the tunnel leading to the infield. At the infield side of the 650-foot tunnel, one more escalators takes you to the center of the U-shaped garage area.

Newly built tracks like the Kentucky Speedway offer excellent sight lines with nary a bad seat in the house from the front row to the top row, causing some to complain about sight lines at tracks like Indianapolis. How quickly they forget the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was built nearly 100 years ago as a test facility.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buzz Calkins , Sarah Fisher , Eddie Cheever , Buddy Lazier , Billy Boat , Scott Goodyear , Jaques Lazier  , Roberto Guerrero , Jimmy Kite , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Panther Racing