INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday May 26, 2001 - Buzz Calkins was forced to make two qualifying attempts around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) to guarantee his spot in the 85th Running of the Indianapolis 500 but that hasn't changed the opinion that...
INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday May 26, 2001 - Buzz Calkins was forced to make two qualifying attempts around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) to guarantee his spot in the 85th Running of the Indianapolis 500 but that hasn't changed the opinion that the team is on a definite upswing. Making the move to Indianapolis from Denver over the winter, the hiring of several new crew members and an overall effort to step up to the top level of the Indy Racing Northern Light Series has been the goal of owner Brad Calkins, driver Buzz Calkins and team manager David Cripps. Early season results suggest they are nearly there.
In 1996, the racing world was at Bradley's feet. It won the inaugural IRL race at Walt Disney World and was co-champion of the series that year. A streak of 13-straight race finishes and a number of top-10 finishes would then follow. While strong results, the father and son duo wanted to return to victory lane. The great success and the bitter disappoint of the past have been left behind as both look toward the goal of reestablishing the team as a weekly threat. What has happened in the past is just that, in the past. That was then, this is now.
"We are doing whatever is possible in order to win the Indy 500 and then, of course, win another championship," offered the 30-year old driver. "My expectations for this race and the rest of the season are the highest yet. I think we have put together the best team since we started in 1996 and, thus, this is our best opportunity ever to win races."
The team knew that the qualifying speed (a four-lap average of 220.039 mph) run on Saturday, May 12, Pole Day, would not keep the car in the race. On the second day of qualifications, Sunday, May 13, the team withdrew the already qualified #12 and waited to place the second car in the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing." After a long, grueling wait- made all the worse by an accident by the qualifier just proceeding the Bradley car in line- Calkins took the car out and ran the ten-mile time trial with an average of 222.467 mph. The second run secured him a spot in the race on the outside of row-eight in 24th position.
The team never looked back at the qualifying challenges instead choosing to look forward. Calkins, a marathon runner, is always a strong competitor in long, thinking-man races and Indy is the ultimate test of driver concentration and endurance. Coming off a third place finish at the last Indy Racing event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the Bradley team is ready to continue the podium finishes.
An eighth place in the chase for the Northern Light Cup after, two top-ten finishes including the podium at Atlanta and the team's best opportunity in years are all that the Bradley team needs to think about when readying for tomorrow's event. Suggestions that qualifying was not up to par or that the team has hit a bump in its path to become the top team in the IRL are usually met with one simple statement. that was then, this is now.