JAQUES LAZIER QUALIFIES FOR INDY 500, GETS BUMPED AT LAST MINUTE; WILL AIM FOR ONE OF REMAINING 11 SPOTS NEXT WEEKEND INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Jaques Lazier, of Vail, Colo., driver for the newly formed Playa Del Racing Indy Racing League IndyCar ...
JAQUES LAZIER QUALIFIES FOR INDY 500, GETS BUMPED AT LAST MINUTE; WILL AIM FOR ONE OF REMAINING 11 SPOTS NEXT WEEKEND
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Jaques Lazier, of Vail, Colo., driver for the newly formed Playa Del Racing Indy Racing League IndyCar Series team, qualified for the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race on Sunday, May 15th -- designated Pole Day after being rained out the day before -- but was bumped from the guaranteed 22 spots for the day by rookie Jeff Bucknum in the last minute of qualifications. He will now take the remaining practice days before next weekend's final two days of qualifications to work his #21 Panoz/Toyota/Firestone up to speed in an attempt to fill one of the remaining 11 spots left in the 33-car field.
"Obviously, it was a big disappointment," said Lazier shortly after being bumped from the Indy 500 field for this weekend. "We qualified 23rd out of 22 cars. But looking at the big picture, it only means we'll probably start one row back, which doesn't hurt us too bad. Now we'll focus on the team and get ready to go racing. The big picture is that the team has done a tremendous job in a very short period of time. The team has really been putting in long hours. We just barely missed it. We'll keep our chins up and get ready for the race."
The Playa Del Racing team is a new entrant in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series, with owners/founders Gary Sallee and Sue Schafer. The team, founded in 2001 and based out of Indianapolis, was officially announced as an Indy Racing League entrant on April 6, 2005, and was on track for the first time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by May 11, 2005. The team plans on competing at the 2005 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, the IRL race at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (Oct. 16), and a few races in between in preparation for running a full-time effort in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series in 2006.
Co-Owner of the Playa Del Racing team, Gary Sallee, was optimistic about the week ahead even after a disappointing first weekend of qualifications. "We gave it the best we had on this day, and that wasn't good enough under this new format," stated Sallee. "We expect to be back next Saturday (the third day of qualifications) and do our best that day to get into the field. We look forward to greater success on race day."