IRL: Indy Racing notebook 2001-08-16

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2001 - It isn't written in stone like the Ten Commandments, but Buddy Lazier says there definitely is a stone-like "code of ethics" among competitors in the Indy Racing League. And No. 1 on the list: Thou shalt...

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2001 - It isn't written in stone like the Ten Commandments, but Buddy Lazier says there definitely is a stone-like "code of ethics" among competitors in the Indy Racing League.

And No. 1 on the list: Thou shalt not cut off the driver who has a run on you.

Lazier, winner of four of the last five races heading into the Gateway Indy 250 on Aug. 26 at Gateway International Raceway across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, spotlighted the driver code of ethics at Kentucky Speedway when asked about his duel with Robbie Buhl for the win.

Buhl and Lazier each made a brazen pass for the lead in the Belterra Casino Indy 300 on Laps 194 and 195 of the 200-lap race. The passes were clean as each driver allowed the other to get by after realizing his foe had the inside momentum. Then after Lazier, driving the No. 91 Tae-Bo/Coors Light/Delta Faucet Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone, regained the advantage, he dove to the inside line exiting Turn 4 on the succeeding laps to assure Buhl wouldn't get the nose of his No. 24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold G Force/Infiniti/Firestone car up to the left side of his machine and retake the front spot.

All of this ended when Buhl's car ran out of fuel with 1 1/2 laps remaining. Lazier was asked what the dash to the checkered flag would have been like if Buhl still had been clinging to his tail to the finish.

"I would have been real surprised if he would have been able to get by me with one-and-a-half laps to go," Lazier said. "At that point, you do everything you can.

"We have developed, I think over the years - and it is an important point, it is really is, because it's a safety point - a driver code of ethics. I think all great race series have that, as closely matched as these race cars are.

"Bottom line is, you have to have a code of ethics that you live by, and that doesn't mean that you're going to help this guy, doesn't mean that you don't race hard. But the bottom line is, when a guy gets a run on you, you do not come down on him. All it's going to do is tear up equipment and hurt somebody."

Lazier said the code stands even in the closing laps, but that's when a driver in front races his hardest. Especially Lazier, who trails Northern Light Series leader Sam Hornish Jr. by 25 points.

"We're obviously locked in a points championship, and I was going to make it very difficult for him with one-and-a-half laps to go," Lazier said.

Hearn turns first test laps with Bradley: Indy Racing veteran Richie Hearn completed his first test with Bradley Motorsports as the team's official test driver Aug. 15 at Chicagoland Speedway, turning a fast lap of 212 mph on the 1.5-mile track.

The inaugural Delphi Indy 300 Indy Racing Northern Light Series event will take place Sept. 2 at Chicagoland.

Full-time Bradley race driver Buzz Calkins also turned 212-mph laps during the test in the No. 12 Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone during the test. The team canceled the second day of the planned two-day test because of the progress made on the first day.

Fastest often not the winner: Turning the fastest lap in an Indy Racing Northern Light Series event doesn't necessarily mean that driver will win the race, too.

A check of the last 19 Indy Racing Northern Light Series races over the past two seasons reveals that the driver who recorded the fastest single lap of the race also took the checkered flag at the finish only five times. This has happened on four occasions this season but only once last year.

Buddy Lazier, 1996 Indianapolis 500 champion, is the master of going fast for a single lap and going fastest for the entire race. In 2000, he was fastest at Indy with a top speed of 218.494 mph on Lap 198 as he tried unsuccessfully to catch winner Juan Montoya. He finished second. But then at Kentucky he won after clocking a 218.438 mph speed on Lap 154.

This season, Lazier had a lap of 154.896 mph en route to victory at Richmond, Va., and was fastest in a winning effort at Nashville, Tenn., with a lap of 199.160.

Laziers' grandmother dies: Services for Maxine Lazier, grandmother of Indy Racing Northern Light Series drivers Buddy and Jaques Lazier, took place Aug. 16, in Excelsior, Minn. She was the mother of the Lazier brothers' father, Bob, who drove in the 1981 Indianapolis 500.

Mrs. Lazier, who was 95, died Aug. 12, shortly after Buddy Lazier won the Belterra Casino Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway. He dedicated the race victory to her.

"She was a wonderful lady," Buddy Lazier said. "Last time she drove was a month ago. She loves racing and kept my dad in line. That's pretty impressive."

When Buddy Lazier drove from last to first last year at Phoenix International Raceway, Maxine Lazier, then 93, celebrated in Victory Circle with her grandson.

Cody meets President Bush: Cody Unser, daughter of Indy Racing standout Al Unser Jr., met President George W. Bush on Aug. 15 at Albuquerque, N.M., as part of her work with the Cody's First Step Foundation.

Cody, 14, has suffered since early 1999 from transverse myelitis, a mysterious spinal-cord inflammation. She is paralyzed and in a wheelchair.

Cody was the guest of U.S. Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico. She chatted with the President and had her picture taken with him.

Hot laps: The Buzz Calkins Fan Club celebrates its one-year anniversary this month. The club supporting 1996 Indy Racing co-champion Calkins has members in more than 17 states and continues to grow. The Michigan-based club can be found at www.BuzzCalkinsFanClub.com or by linking from www.BuzzCalkins.com ... Indy Racing Northern Light Series points leader Sam Hornish Jr. is the honorary chairman of the Loop for Life charity motorcycle ride around Interstate 465 in Indianapolis on Aug. 18. Hornish will lead nearly 2,000 riders on the 55-mile ride that benefits the Special Olympics of Indiana. For information, visit www.loopforlife.org.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buzz Calkins , Al Unser Jr. , Robbie Buhl , Buddy Lazier , Jaques Lazier  , Richie Hearn , Sam Hornish Jr.