Blair Racing finishes 3rd at St. Louis. MADISON, IL. (August 25, 2002) - Rayovac Blair Racing driver Alex Barron of Menifee, Calif. finished third today at Gateway International Raceway. With only three races remaining, on the Indy Racing ...
Blair Racing finishes 3rd at St. Louis.
MADISON, IL. (August 25, 2002) - Rayovac Blair Racing driver Alex Barron of Menifee, Calif. finished third today at Gateway International Raceway.
With only three races remaining, on the Indy Racing League (IRL) 2002 schedule, the Rayovac Blair team entered the thirteenth race of the season fifth in the drivers' championship standings. It has been a year of consistent top-ten finishes that has continued to keep Blair Racing and its driver, Barron, up front in the eyes of the IRL fans. In only its first year of IRL competition, the team has one win and ten top-ten finishes. Barron and the Indianapolis based Blair team, came prepared and with high hopes to the 1.25-mile oval. Barron has raced here on three different occasions and a recent test went well. "We actually had good balance in the car in qualifying and in practice, but we are off by a few tenths," said Barron after his qualifying run; he started 14th for the 200 lap event. "More importantly, for the race you have to have a solid race car under you. We've worked on our race setup. This is also a driver's track. From turning the steering wheel to driving the car, you also have to be able to set up the car. You have to be able to work with the team and the engineer. It is really tight up top in the points. Within our team we have a lot of experience here. We are getting toward the end of the season, and we have a feel for what you need to do to be strong for the whole race. The Rayovac car has been running great since the Indy 500, and we are looking to be up front at the end of the season. You also have to have a strong motor and strong package. Our Chevrolet and Dallara are working well, and that is what it takes to win." In today's pre-race warm up, Barron and the Rayovac machine was powerful, running second fastest in the 25 car field.
As Barron predicted, he had a good car and was ready for the 250 mile event. On the start, the always ready Barron, moved up from 14th to 11th and quickly into the top-ten and ninth by lap seven. Barron kept the Rayovac Blair Chevrolet powered machine in seventh until lap 41 and moved into fifth by lap 51. Running in fourth, the first regularly scheduled pit stop was made and the Blair team was spectacular on the stop on lap 61. No changes were made to the well engineered Dallara and Barron took off for yet another great run. With the help of his spotter, the Chevrolet power and the Blair team behind him, Barron began picking off the field. Moving up into second by lap 111. Barron took the lead on lap 119 with team cheering him on in the timing stand and pit lane. Barron led until 147, when he stopped again for fuel and tires. He returned to racing action and on the restart the car drifted up into the gray area of the track. Losing traction and momentum. But Barron masterly guided the #44 back into action and charged once again at the field. He went onto to finish third, his best finish at the Gateway International Raceway.
"I came down and did not want to get into Helio," said Barron. "We had cold tires and with the debris up high the front end took off and we lost momentum. We just wanted to get back up front and take off. We are glad that we ended up third. We need to keep chipping away at the championship until the end of the season. We worked all weekend to finish the race and that's what we did. We had a great car today, our engineer and the team tuned a great car. The Rayovac car has been strong all year and Blair Racing continues to do a great job. Chevrolet, Speedway Engines and VDS gave me one of the most powerful race cars I've ever had. We want to show Chevrolet how powerful the engine really is. They have worked so hard to get us where we are. We need to get to the end of the year and stay focused on the championship.
It was fun today and that's what drivers look forward to. Larry Blair has put together a great team and his great to work for. I want to continue to drive for him - this is his dream and I am certainly living my dream. We signed a deal with Chevrolet and that was our breakthrough. Rayovac came on board and that we have run strong ever since. It's great to race when you have power. We have a lot of great guys on our team that keeps pushing hard. This is a life long dream. I've waited a long time and it took a lot of work to get here."
The drivers' championship and series comes to an end in only three weeks. Two races remain, September 8 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL and the final race at Texas Motor Speedway on September 15. The race is on a 1.5-mile, D-shaped tri-oval. The race airs live on ABC at 1:00 p.m. (EDT). The fourteenth race of the season will also air live on the IMS Radio Network. The IRL's official website can help you locate a radio station near you; it also has live timing and scoring at www.indyracing.com.