IRL: Indy 500: Menard race report

Rookie Meira takes Team Menard to 12th at Indy 500 Indianapolis - Johns Manville/Team Menard had its ups and downs Sunday at the 87th Indianapolis 500, but drivers Jaques Lazier and Vitor Meira focused on the positives after the race. Meira ...

Rookie Meira takes Team Menard to 12th at Indy 500

Indianapolis - Johns Manville/Team Menard had its ups and downs Sunday at the 87th Indianapolis 500, but drivers Jaques Lazier and Vitor Meira focused on the positives after the race.

Meira finished 12th - the second-highest finish by a Chevrolet-powered car - and Lazier was scored 29th after an accident early in the race. Lazier returned from a back injury that kept him out of last year's race, while Meira performed well in his first Indy 500.

"The Indy 500 was longer and harder than I ever expected," Meira said. "I am really happy to be here at the finish. It's a long race. You see everything out there. You see slow parts, you see really scary parts. I am glad to be part of the Indianapolis 500. It is amazing, to be surrounded by all these fans and this excitement."

Lazier, who started 20th, was caught up in an accident on the 61st lap of the 200-lap race.

"It was an accomplishment to be here this month, especially since I broke my back last year," Lazier said. "I am just extremely upset for everybody at Johns Manville/Team Menard. We had a good car for the race. The first yellow nailed us wrong but we were able to stay on the lead lap. We got the car working well. I was just biding my time."

The crash also involved Richie Hearn, who slid up and hit the wall in the second turn. Lazier braked hard to try to avoid Hearn, and the car spun out.

"I got a good run on the restart going into turn two," Lazier said. "I saw Richie Hearn go up in the marbles. He got chopped pretty good. That was enough to really upset my car. It was a chain reaction with everybody else stomping on the brakes. I had to get on it really hard right in the middle of a corner. It was just enough to upset the car and spin it around."

Meira said he accomplished his primary goal - finishing the race.

"My whole day began two weeks ago when we first ran the car on track," Meira said. "It finished today. I want to thank everyone that helped me: Team Menard, Johns Manville, Metabolife. The guys on this team are winners. They deserve to finish first, but right now we are just working hard to do our best."

Johns Manville/Team Menard will return to the track at the next IRL IndyCar Series race, the Bombardier 500 on June 7 at Texas Motor Speedway.

One of the founding teams of the IRL IndyCar Series, Team Menard has two championships, 10 wins and an all-time record of 24 pole positions to its credit. Owned by John Menard, the Indianapolis-based team is supported by Menards, Johns Manville, Chevrolet, Menard Engine Group, Dallara, Firestone and Menard Cheever Technologies. For more information visit www.teammenard.com.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jaques Lazier  , Richie Hearn , Vitor Meira