Rayovac Blair Racing finishes 4th at Indianapolis. INDIANAPOLIS (May 26, 2002) -- Rayovac Blair Racing driver Alex Barron of Menifee, Calif. finished fourth today in the 86th running of the Indianapolis 500. Barron and the Blair Racing team...
Rayovac Blair Racing finishes 4th at Indianapolis.
INDIANAPOLIS (May 26, 2002) -- Rayovac Blair Racing driver Alex Barron of Menifee, Calif. finished fourth today in the 86th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Barron and the Blair Racing team were first timers today at the Indy 500 - but you wouldn't know it. Larry Blair assembled this team in January and today they showed well in front of the 400,000 plus fans plus the millions watching on television around the world. Barron started 26th in the 33 car field, battling traffic and the three to five wide competitors around the 2.5 mile oval for the start of the 200 lap race. Tom Gloy, President of Blair Racing was on the radio with Barron today with Blair and the team working side by side on pit strategy. Barron's skill in the car combined with the Rayovac Blair team moved the #44 Chevrolet powered by McLaren Dallara through field. The first pit stop was called on lap 32 under yellow as Barron climbed through traffic with ease. He moved into the top-ten by lap 91 and stayed there for the remainder of the race. Barron led from laps 130 to 131, and 161 to 165. Additional and scheduled stops were on laps 92, 131 and 165, all under green flag conditions. The Blair crew chose to leave him out around lap 154 when others were pitting. Barron came in on lap 165 for his final stop. This strategy combined with Barron's cool and patience left the Rayovac Blair entry as the only car that could have made it to the end if the race had stayed green. The team waited and continued to talk to Barron on the radio. On lap 173- Tomas Scheckter hit the wall bringing out the yellow flag. Another yellow was on lap 199 and Barron brought the Rayovac entry home fourth.
"John Dick and the entire team gave me a great car, it was balanced all day," said Barron. "I was able to drive flat out and it was great in traffic. I was very comfortable in the car racing alone or in traffic. We had an excellent car in the race; that was the key today. Rayovac Blair Racing is what gave us what we did today. We did consistent and good stops. We wanted to have solid pit stops and we did, that was one of the keys to end up where we ended up. We led and thought we could make it to the end but the last yellow changed that. It's an awesome feeling; the track really came to us. To survive the month with all of the ups and downs this is really something. We had good pit stops and great pit strategy. We had a good car and I really enjoyed driving it. Today says a lot for the team. To come back from our crash a few weeks ago, qualify so strong on Bump Day and today to lead and finish fourth is really great. To have Rayovac come on board at Nazareth and to finish 6th there and to run like this here at Indy -- this is great. Larry Blair put together a great team and today shows just what a good team they are. For my first Indy 500 to have the opportunity to be on a team like this and the consistency they show, it's all about opportunity. I'm hoping that we can continue to progress as the season continues. This team came together late and to be where we are right now is a big achievement."
"I am a first time spectator here and a first time team owner," said Larry Blair. "To finish fourth this is amazing. For Rayovac Blair Racing we are enormously proud of Alex and the entire team and the leadership that Tom Gloy our president has shown. It is with great pride on behalf of my entire family and team members that I congratulate Alex and Tom."
"Alex has so much experience it is hard to give him advice," said Tom Gloy, president of Blair Racing (and former driver at Indy) "I have not seen a man or driver with the talent that he has. The ability, sensations and feedback that he gives is a wonderful situation for our race team. The way he drove today was incredible. The one thing that he really doesn't understand today is that he could have won today. Until Scheckter hit the wall we were the one team that could have gone all the way today. It packed (the yellow) everyone up. It put us in the right spot at the right time today and that's what Alex did for us."
Rayovac Blair Racing team members arrived early at the famed oval to avoid the expected crowd of over 400,000 race fans. The team has been focused and preparing for today's 500 mile race, working at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the past 25 days in Garage 6A intensely practicing and preparing for the green flag. Over the month the teams and drivers practiced over 40,000 miles getting ready for today. The trackside officials indicated that this is the most competitive field since the first race here in 1911. Barron and the Rayovac team made quite an impression the entire month but especially on Bump Day. On the second and final day of qualifying they posted a speed of 228.580 mph to start 26th, in the middle of the ninth row. This year, speeds were faster than ever, the 33-car field average for qualifying speed - an Indy 500 record - was 228.648 mph, up 5.345 mph from last year. This year's pole speed of 231.342 mph is only the second time in history of the Indy 500 that the slowest qualifier was faster than the previous year's pole sitter. The slowest time in the field this year is 226.589 mph. Barron posted the 17th fastest qualifying time of the 33 starting drivers and is the third fastest rookie out of nine rookies this year. Additionally, a driver with the sir name of Barron had not raced at Indy before.
Surrounded by family and friends and well wishers from afar, Barron and Blair Racing were ready when race day arrived. The team has plenty of experience in all departments; today it came armed with race experience, team president Tom Gloy drove at Indy, engineer John Dick was on the winning team in 1990. Also, 14 of the crew members have 69 years of collective experience in Indy 500 competition. This gave this new team to the Indy Racing League and Indy an edge today.
"This team has been dedicated and stands tall in my book," said team owner Larry Blair of San Jose, Calif. "To own a team that raced at Indy, finishing fourth, it has been my dream since growing up; racing is what I love."
Barron added, "This is definitely an experience. The last two years, I've been here walking around, and this year I only had to buy one pair of shoes. The last two years, I've had to buy two and three pairs of shoes because I've done so many miles around this place talking to owners and all my friends trying to get in. It's great to be here and be in a competitive car and run with the friends I made in racing in other series. It was an awesome race."
The team is busy preparing for its next event, The Boomtown 500. The race will be held on the fast track known as Texas Motor Speedway. It will air on ESPN Television Network at 8:00p.m. EDT. The fifth race of the season will also air live on the IMS Radio Network; the IRL's official web site can help you locate a station near you and also has live timing and scoring www.indyracing.com.
www.BlairRacing.com keeps fans up-to-date with all the latest team news and information.