IRL: Buzz Calkins at Altanta

Buzz Calkins currently sits tenth in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series championship with 36 points towards the 2001 Northern Light Cup. In the opener at Phoenix International Raceway, Bradley Motorsports grabbed a ninth-place finish. The ...

Buzz Calkins currently sits tenth in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series championship with 36 points towards the 2001 Northern Light Cup. In the opener at Phoenix International Raceway, Bradley Motorsports grabbed a ninth-place finish. The #12 Bradley Food Marts/ Sav-O-Mat Dallara followed with a 16th in the Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Bradley has collected $78,900 and completed 390 (of a possible 400) laps in 2001.

and the winner is.

The Bradley Motorsports crew did an outstanding job in pit strategy and performance at the Grand Prix of Miami winning the Coors Light "Pit Performance" Award. The Todd Tapply-led crew, working together for only their second event in the Bradley colors, won the award which goes to the team accumulating the least amount of time in the pit lane (entrance to exit) during an event. By taking the Miami round of the Coors Light "Pit Performance" Award, the Bradley Food Marts/ Sav-O-Mat team took home $10,000 and qualified for the annual Coors Light Pit Stop Contest on Carburetion Day, Thursday, May 24, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

field trip

Following the open test at Richmond International Raceway late last week, Buzz Calkins spent some extra time in the area to visit the Science Museum of Virginia. While there he met with children, signed autographs and introduced the IMAX film, "SuperSpeedway" to the members of the Museum. Following the movie he spent time answering questions on Indy Racing.

high hopes

Brad Calkins, Bradley Motorsports team owner, and son Buzz attended "Hats Off for High Hopes" in Nashville, Tennessee on April 22. The special charity event, in conjunction with Firestone, helped raise funds for High Hopes, an organization dedicated to offering physical therapy to children with developmental disorders in the Nashville area. Joining the Calkins were Mario Andretti and Anthony Edwards. Edwards, star of "ER", partnered with Bradley Motorsports at the 2000 Indianapolis 500 where they combined to run the "Cure Autism Now" (C.A.N.) entry. Bradley continues to carry the C.A.N. message in 2001. The #12 Bradley Food Marts/ Sav-O-Mat Dallara show car was also on display at the charity auction.

test me

Bradley Motorsports has been spending much of the time between the second round of the Northern Light Series and the third testing at upcoming Northern Light venues. Test sessions at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (April 11 and 23) and Richmond International Raceway (April 20) helped the team prepare for those races. A test in March at Atlanta Motor Speedway readied the team for this weekend's Atlanta 500 Classic.

the routine

Driving a race car at 220 miles per hour requires skill, strength and stamina. To keep his edge, Buzz has a rigorous workout routine that keeps him fit for the physical punishment and mentally sharp to concentrate for two or more hours without one lapse while in the car. Due to the constant heart and breathing rate increases, the daily workout focuses on cardiovascular fitness. A runner, Buzz spends hours on the street putting in mile after mile to build his heart and lungs for physical endurance. To compliment the cardio aspect of the regime, the University of Colorado graduate does high repetition of light weights in the gym. This encourages lean muscle growth without 'bulking-up' muscle mass which would hinder movement in the car. The workout requires serious commitment from Calkins, who is up everyday by 6:30 am, for his first run of the day. The afternoon schedule includes the strength conditioning and more cardiovascular workout, such as riding a stationary bike. The training has led to excellent physical condition in the #12 Bradley Food Marts/ Sav-O-Mat Dallara and to three marathon appearances- two LaSalle Banks Chicago Marathons (1999, 2000) and the 1998 New York City Marathon. His best marathon time is 3 hours, 41 minutes and 11 seconds at the 2000 Chicago event.

the streak

Calkins and Bradley Motorsports hold the Northern Light Series record for races still running at the checkered flag. Between the season-finale event at Texas Motor Speedway in September of 1998 through the season-opening event of 2000 in January at Walt Disney World the team finished all 13 events. Overall, Calkins is tied with Davey Hamilton with 31 events running at the finish.

Buzz Calkins, driver (about the importance of Atlanta as a lead-in to Indy): "Atlanta is probably the most important lead-in to Indy. You will get all of your momentum from Atlanta, either positive or negative momentum. If it is negative then that will affect you the first few days at Indianapolis... at least. If it is positive, you can carry that all month long!"

(about running under the lights): "Atlanta is one of the most challenging places to run under the lights because the race usually begins at dusk and the setting sun is in your face going into turn one. If you start out with a tinted visor that will hurt you once the sun goes down. Yet, if you start with a clear visor, you get blinded going into turn one. In the past I have worn a clear visor and sunglasses until the first pit stop and then I take off the sunglasses for the rest of the evening."

(about the refocusing on racing after so much testing): "I think the testing the Bradley Food Mart/ Sav-O-Mat team has been doing should make things better. Hopefully we learned things in testing that will help make the car smoother and better in the race. The testing also keeps you in the car and helps you stay in the groove between races. Testing can also help you build momentum into the races if it is going well."

(about his ability to concentrate on the Atlanta event knowing the "Month of May" is only a week away):

"It is definitely an issue because a lot of people have already turned their focus onto Indy. If you feel like you are on good footing going into the 'Month of May', like I feel the Bradley Motorsports team is, then you should be able to concentrate entirely on the Atlanta race. But, I can see, if you are on a team that isn't so confident, that your focus may be on Indy. If you can stay focused on Atlanta I think it can give you a little advantage. If your focus is on this weekend rather than next week it will put you in-front of those guys who don't have their heads in Georgia."

David Cripps, team manager and engineer (about the engineer's challenges of the Atlanta high banks): "Any of the 1.5 mile, banked tracks that we run on with the set rear wing angle are quite challenging really. You have to think out of the box because you are doing the opposite of what you are usually doing with a race car. Here we are working to free the car up, whereas you are usually trying to balance downforce, speed and driver comfort. The balance is usually not a question here. Tracks like this, you are just looking for raw speed."

(about how he feels about the team's prospects at Atlanta Motor Speedway): "We're looking forward to it (the Atlanta 500 Classic). We've been a little pre-occupied with testing but we are prepared for Atlanta. I think we will start to hit our stride here. I can promise we'll be fast. Atlanta is where our offseason effort will start to show itself. Bring it on."


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buzz Calkins , Davey Hamilton , Mario Andretti