IRL: Caukins heads to Texas

The 12th place finish at Indianapolis for Buzz Calkins and Bradley Motorsports turned out to be a huge leap forward in Indy Racing Northern Light Series points. Calkins moved from eighth in the standings coming off a third-place run at Atlanta...

The 12th place finish at Indianapolis for Buzz Calkins and Bradley Motorsports turned out to be a huge leap forward in Indy Racing Northern Light Series points. Calkins moved from eighth in the standings coming off a third-place run at Atlanta Motor Speedway to fifth overall after Indy. The #12 Bradley Food Marts/ Sav-O-Mat entry now holds 89 markers toward winning the Northern Light Cup at the season-finale event at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) on September 16th. The Denver-native is only eight points out of fourth place, 11 out of third and 63 out of first place. The team also made a jump in entrant points moving to fourth in the owner's listing, eight points behind Kelley Racing.

Calkins continued his streak of finishing events at Indianapolis. Currently, the 1996 IRL co-champion has taken the checkered flag in six straight races, going back to Kentucky of last season. Calkins currently holds the record for races running at the finish with 13-straight, accomplished between 1998 and 2000. The addition of the checkered flag at 'the Brickyard' brings the 30-year-old driver's record to 33 races out of a possible 44 he has run, raising his finishing percentage to 76.74 %. Beyond that, the Bradley Food Marts/ Sav-O-Mat entry has completed 788 laps in 2001 out of a possible 800. That is good for third on the laps finished list for the season to date. the best of times and the worst of times

According to Buzz the best part of his job is the interesting people he gets to meet and interact with. The worst? Hitting concrete walls.

Bradley Calkins Jr. is a fine name for an Indy Racing driver but the driver of the #12 Bradley Food Marts/ Sav-O-Mat Dallara but Buzz works even better. Like a lot of families with a junior, the Calkins looked for a way to call the younger Brad to the dinner table without confusing he and his father. The search for a nickname went no further than the 'buzz cut' that the 1996 Northern Light Series co-champion had for a haircut. Even after moving away from friends who had locked onto the nickname wasn't enough to break the trend. A family-friend called the driver of the #12 by his old nickname at his new house and the cat was out of the bag. From then on, he would be Buzz to his friends, family, fans and the world of professional sports. "With a name like Buzz, you don't get confused for many other people," joked Buzz.

The week between Indianapolis and Texas were busy for Bradley Motorsports. The #12 tested at Pikes Peak International Raceway (PPIR) on Friday, June 1 and made a special visit to Colorado National Raceway on June 2. The Bradley Food Marts/ Sav-O-Mat Dallara made a handful of laps around the half-mile paved oval in Erie, Col. The demonstration laps were greeted with great enthusiasm by the track's Saturday night crowd. The team then returned to the Indianapolis shop to prepare for the back-to-back races here at TMS and then next weekend at PPIR.

(about returning to the track of his best run in 2000, Texas Motor Speedway): "We have consistently run well in Texas and feel that it is one of our strongest tracks. I think we have figured out things through testing and the races down there that may give us a little advantage."

(about refocusing on the Northern Light Series following the Indy 500): "Fortunately or unfortunately the Indy 500 is done and we need to focus on the championship. We are going to focus on one race at a time starting with Texas and try to do the best we can possibly do and see where we end up."

(about the top five points position): "We are in a good position in the points battle. It is not only important for us to finish races here on out, but also to improve our finishing positions and hopefully get a win or two in as well. If we can do this, we should be right in the hunt for the championship at the end of the season."

(about the race strategy): "I think we have figured out a good strategy for the mile and half tracks that may be unique to Bradley Motorsports. If we can stick to that strategy, we should have another good race at Texas."

(about the result of winning in the IRL): "I think winning would take the monkey off our back big time. And I think that was the goal going into this year to win a race and hopefully be able to finish in the top-five in points. That was kind of like the minimum goal I wanted to set and I won't be happy unless we actually attain that."

-Bradley Racing

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Buzz Calkins