IRL: Nashville: Buddy Lazier preview

Lazier hopes to celebrate in Nashville victory lane. Lebanon, Tenn. -- The Indy Racing League returns to the 1.33-mile concrete Nashville Superspeedway for the 10th event on the 2002 IRL schedule. When the green flag flies for the Firestone Indy...

Lazier hopes to celebrate in Nashville victory lane.

Lebanon, Tenn. -- The Indy Racing League returns to the 1.33-mile concrete Nashville Superspeedway for the 10th event on the 2002 IRL schedule. When the green flag flies for the Firestone Indy 200, Buddy Lazier will fight to defend his title.

"I'm looking forward to defending my title on the only concrete track on the Indy Racing League schedule," Lazier said. "Nashville is a super fast track because the high banking and concrete make for a great format for us to race on. The track is wide so we can comfortably run two and three abreast."

In 2001, Lazier lit up the Nashville night sky winning the inaugural Harrah's Indy 200 in front of a capacity crowd. Fans were captivated by Lazier's aggressive driving-style as he sliced and diced his No. 91 Tae Bo/Coors Light/Life Fitness/Delta Faucet/Oldsmobile-powered Dallara chassis through traffic, lapping all but one driver in the field. Lazier never missed a beat, not even when faced with an on-track incident involving his younger brother, Jaques. He took the checkered 10 seconds ahead of second place Billy Boat and was awarded a custom-made, electric Gibson guitar as the trophy.

"After a hard fought battle, there is nothing like pulling into Victory Circle and accepting your trophy, especially when it is very special and unique. Being that the track is in Music City, it was very much an honor accepting a spectacular Gibson guitar as the trophy and would like to obtain another one."

Anxious to add a repeat Nashville victory to his growing resume, Lazier remains confident on a repeat performance. The talent is there, the car will be fast and the Hemelgarn/Coors Light crew is committed. The only missing ingredient needed is a little luck.

"We're trying as hard as we all can to turn our season around. My Coors Light team and I would like to get ourselves in the Top-five in the championship points standing. We moved to 10th (in points) after Kansas and would like to continue moving forward."

And the concrete surface may be just what Lazier and the Hemelgarn team need. Of the three Indy Racing League concrete track events thus far, the 2000 Indy Racing League champions have earned nothing less than a second place finish. In addition to their first at Nashville in 2001, they recorded two second place finishes at Dover in 1998 and 1999.

Team owner Ron Hemelgarn would like to continue the streak and leave Nashville with a back-to-back win.

"Buddy looks pretty good with those guitar trophies," Hemelgarn said. "I'd like to see him get enough to start a band."

The Firestone Indy 200 starts at 7:30 p.m. (CDT) July 20. MBNA Pole Qualifying starts at 5:30 p.m. July 19. Indy Racing League practice sessions start at noon (two groups) and 2:30 p.m. (two groups) July 19 and 2:30 p.m. (all cars) July 20.

The Firestone Indy 200 will be televised live on ESPN2 at 8:30 p.m. (EDT) Saturday, July 20. "Indy Racing 2Day" will be televised at 8 p.m. (EDT) July 20 on ESPN2.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buddy Lazier , Billy Boat