IRL: Homestead: Hemelgarn Racing preview

Lazier and Hemelgarn ready for Homestead. Indianapolis, Ind. -- Hemelgarn Racing has announced they will continue tradition and long-standing relationship with driver Buddy Lazier, competing in the 16-race IndyCar Series season. With the...

Lazier and Hemelgarn ready for Homestead.

Indianapolis, Ind. -- Hemelgarn Racing has announced they will continue tradition and long-standing relationship with driver Buddy Lazier, competing in the 16-race IndyCar Series season.

With the Toyota Indy 300 season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway a week away, the Hemelgarn team is working round the clock putting the finishing touches on the No. 91 Chevrolet-powered Dallara chassis.

"Even without testing, I think we can definitely be a contender in Miami," Lazier said. "I know the track and more importantly, I am confident in the ability of my team. I think we'll shock everybody and finish strong."

Team owner Ron Hemelgarn couldn't agree more.

"I realize we're starting the 2003 season later than we'd like but I feel my team and driver have always responded well to pressure. Our team is building a new car as we speak. When we arrive in Miami we will spend all practice sessions working on race setups. If our history of adversity repeats itself, we're in good shape. In 1996, we were unable to test for the Indy 500 because Buddy lay in the hospital with a broken back. The results 0x2022 we won!"

Hemelgarn recounted many other occurrences that he and his team have endured.

In 1997, 4 days before Indy 500 qualifying, the team converted to a different engine and without any practice, they qualified well and finished fourth. In 2000, at Phoenix International Speedway, Hemelgarn and his team boldly withdrew an ill-handling car. The team literally built a brand new car straight out of the box overnight. Lazier started last but finished first! In mid-April of that same year, they headed to the Indianapolis 500 with a chassis they felt would not be competitive. A new Dallara was purchased, the team worked feverishly, and Lazier finished second. Later that year Hemelgarn and Lazier won their first championship.

For this team, perhaps a slow start to the season might not be all bad.

The tough combination of Hemelgarn and Lazier has compiled one of the most successful records of any team since the inception of the IRL IndyCar Series in 1996. Instrumental in writing the league history books Lazier leads with nearly half the career record categories. His 1996 Indianapolis 500 win, 2000 IndyCar Series championship, eight victories and 39 top-10 finishes in 70 races allows Lazier to remain the all-time IndyCar Series money leader, with $8.1 million in winnings. Delta Faucet and Life Fitness remain associate sponsors. A primary sponsor has yet to be announced.

To sum it up, Hemelgarn and Lazier quote Chevrolet, "We'll be there!"

-hr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Buddy Lazier