IRL: Buzz Calkins Texas II preview

In memory of the events of September 11, 2001, Buzz Calkins asked Bell, the manufacturer of his racing helmet, to create a special paint scheme for this weekend's Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS). The new paint job, which replaces his ...

In memory of the events of September 11, 2001, Buzz Calkins asked Bell, the manufacturer of his racing helmet, to create a special paint scheme for this weekend's Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS). The new paint job, which replaces his long-held design that carries the colors of his native Colorado, with the red, white and blue of the American flag. The design reflects Calkins' deep patriotic beliefs and his heart-felt emotions surrounding the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Buzz Calkins opened the 2001 Indy Racing Northern Light Series season with a ninth at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR). He followed that up with a third at Atlanta two races later. In the most recent event, the Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway, he raced to ninth. Throughout the first 12 races of the 13-race schedule, Calkins has remained in the series' top-ten of driver points. He currently is tenth in points with 222 markers. He is in a tight race with as many as six other drivers for one of the top-eight positions in the final driver points standings going into this weekend's season finale at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS).

Buzz Calkins is the Northern Light Series' most consistent performer. In his career to date, since the IRL began in 1996 when he won the inaugural event at Walt Disney World Speedway, the Denver native has finished 40 of the 52 races he has started (76.92%); 40.38% of the time in the top-ten. In 2001, Calkins has taken the checkered flag in 11 of the first 12 races (91.66%) with one top-five and five top-tens. Of the 2,450 laps that could be run in 2001, Calkins has completed 2,226 (90.85%).

The #12 Bradley Food Marts/ Sav-O-Mat Dallara has raced eight times at TMS since the Indy Racing League came to the Fort Worth track in 1997. He has started as high as 10th (June 1997, and both races in 1998). He has finished fourth in the June race in 2000 competing for the win in what is considered by many as the IRL's most competitive race. He qualified 16th at TMS earlier this year and raced up through the field until finishing 15th. He won $37,400 for the effort. stay in school

Buzz Calkins is the only active IRL driver to hold a Masters of Business Administration (MBA), a degree completed last year while competing in the Northern Light Series fulltime. Many ask why a successful race driver, already holding an undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado in economics and history, would return to school to pursue a degree that, if all goes well, he will never need. The main reason for returning for his MBA, at one of the country's premier schools, the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, was for something to fall back on. However, he has no plans of utilizing it soon.

Buzz Calkins has been using the Head And Neck Support (HANS) system in the Bradley Food Marts/ Sav-O-Mat car since May of this year. Following some minor adjustments to the car's headrest to accommodate the safety feature designed to prevent basal skull injuries in auto racing accidents, Buzz has worn the piece of equipment everyday since. The HANS device attaches to the helmet via two straps and a collar that fits over the driver's shoulders and is kept in place by the safety harness' shoulder straps. Calkins has had no difficulty in adapting to the system and wears it without problem.

Buzz Calkins, driver
about the choice to postpone the Chevy 500 "I am certainly disappointed we won't be racing but, in the big sense of the things I would be more disappointed if we had. With all that has happened it is simply not the right thing to do. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those lost in New York and Washington D.C., those who are still missing and with those heroes who are helping in the rescue process. That is where our focus should be, not on racing. We'll come back and race when the time is right. This was not the right time."

about the Chevy 500's impact on his points position "This has always been a good track for Bradley Motorsports so we hope that we can end the year on a good note and end up solidly in the top ten in points."

about the impact that the recent re-paving of Texas Motor Speedway will have on the Indy Racing Northern Light Series event "It is difficult to say what the pavement changes will do to the speeds at TMS. If it is more abrasive as new pavement often is, I would anticipate the speeds to go up because the car won't slide as much and will accelerate better. However if the pavement isn't as abrasive then the speeds will probably be about the same."

about why the Texas Motor Speedway is so conducive to wheel-to-wheel competition "The extra banking holds the car better allowing for it to go through the corners more comfortably at higher speeds. Also, the extra downforce that is required at the mile-and-a-half tracks makes the cars more comfortable and gives us the ability to run multiple lines."

about the momentum generated from the Delphi Indy 300 "I think we figured out some handling issues with the Bradley Food Marts/ Sav-O-Mat Dallara at Chicago. These changes should carry over to Texas and hopefully allow us to be very competitive for the season closer."

about the off-season changes and how they have worked throughout the 2001 season "It is kind of frustrating because we made a lot of positive changes during the off season that have allowed us to finish more races this year because of better reliability. However, we haven't been as competitive as we were last year due to handling issues. If we can get both of these things working at the same time, we should be in good shape."

about the changes the team anticipates making going into the 2002 season "The key for us to be more competitive next year is to get the handling of the car better and more consistent. We have made headway over the last couple races so hopefully we can continue this through the off season."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Buzz Calkins