IRL: Chicagoland: Buddy Lazier race report

Lazier takes third in hair-raising finish. Joliet, Ill. Buddy Lazier earned his second podium of the season as Sam Hornish edged Al Unser Jr. by .0024 of a second in the thrilling Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. The nail biter race not...

Lazier takes third in hair-raising finish.

Joliet, Ill. Buddy Lazier earned his second podium of the season as Sam Hornish edged Al Unser Jr. by .0024 of a second in the thrilling Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. The nail biter race not only produced the closest finish in the history of the Indy Racing League but the top 10 cars were separated by just .9287 seconds.

"There at the end, it was just super close," an exhausted Lazier said. "It was one of those hair-raising events. You didn't dare let your mind wander for a tenth of a second or you would be in trouble. You really got to trust everyone you race with."

Lazier qualified a disappointing 22nd but speedy pit stops by the Coors Light/Hemelgarn team coupled with his aggressive driving style pushed the 2000 Indy Racing League champion toward the front of the field. He had moved into the top 10 by Lap 58 and fought to stay in the lead pack. Near the end of the race, it was imperative that Lazier be patient and bide his time due to a fuel concern.

"We wound up going out of sequence on fuel, which made that last stint really critical. We were running long, so I had to conserve fuel and pick my way through the field. It looked like it was going to burn us all day, but it all worked out."

Struggling throughout much of the 2002 season, the 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner was pleased with his second podium in three races.

"It was a great finish for us. My guys did a super job, giving lightning-fast pit stops. We've not had the season we were looking for, but this is a good way to start bringing it back to where we want to be, toward the front."

Lazier will attempt to add his seventh top-ten finish to his 2002 resume at the season-ending Chevy 500 on September 15 at Texas Motor Speedway.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Buddy Lazier