IRL: Notebook 2002-01-11

Indy Racing League Notebook Lazzaro quick in testing with Schmidt; de Ferran turns laps at Texas INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Jan. 11, 2002 - If their initial test is any indication, it looks like the pairing of team owner Sam Schmidt and driver...

Indy Racing League Notebook
Lazzaro quick in testing with Schmidt; de Ferran turns laps at Texas

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Jan. 11, 2002 - If their initial test is any indication, it looks like the pairing of team owner Sam Schmidt and driver Anthony Lazzaro will be a fast and productive one in the 2002 Indy Racing League season.

Lazzaro completed 180 miles of testing Jan. 10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in his first test since being hired as the full-time driver for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. His quickest time on the 1.5-mile oval was 27.83 seconds, but he sliced that top time to the 27.20-second range during testing Jan. 11 in the No. 99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.

That time would have put Lazzaro in the fourth row of the starting lineup last April in the Indy Racing event at Homestead-Miami.

Not only was it Schmidt's first test with Lazzaro, it also was the first test for the team since Treadway Racing took over the team's technical operations.

"The objective yesterday was to get Anthony comfortable with the car and start the communication process between Anthony and (team engineer) Tim (Neff) and the Treadway mechanics," Schmidt said Jan. 11. "Everything went smooth with no mechanical difficulties whatsoever. We were happy we were able to run that speed with a full-tank load.

"Our objective wasn't to reach top speed. It was to have a nice, comfortable car."

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de Ferran tests at Texas: 2001 Indianapolis 500 runner-up Gil de Ferran and Marlboro Team Penske continued their preparation for the 2002 Indy Racing League season with a successful test Jan. 10 at Texas Motor Speedway.

"We are just trying to get some miles on the car and learn as much as we can about the Indy Racing cars here at Texas," de Ferran said. "It has been a good day; we have collected a lot of data already."

Marlboro Team Penske and de Ferran tested with a 2001 Dallara chassis without the 2002 Indy Racing League update kit that will be installed soon. Team advisor and four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears was present throughout the session.

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Brayton Racing lands sponsor: Brayton Racing has signed Pit Bull Energy Drink to a multiyear deal as the primary sponsor of the team's Indy Racing League entry, team officials announced this week.

The team is managed by Todd Brayton, brother of the late Scott Brayton, two-time Indianapolis 500 pole winner. Teri Brayton, Todd's wife, is the owner, becoming the first female sole owner of an Indy Racing League team.

Brayton Racing will field a Dallara chassis with Chevrolet engines built by Brayton Engineering, the shop run by Todd Brayton's father, Lee.

The team plans to conduct an Indy Racing League rookie test for Australian driver John deVries later this month.

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Riding mechanic Pawl dies: The short list of surviving riding mechanics from 1930s in the Indianapolis 500 lost another member Jan. 9.

Johnny Pawl, who handled those duties in the 1936 and 1937 races, died in St. Louis. He will be buried Jan. 12 in Iberia (Mo.) City Cemetery. Shepard Chapel Funeral Home in St. Louis is handling the services.

Pawl, who later became a chief mechanic at Indy and on the AAA circuit, lived in Crown Point, Ind. He was 84 and is survived by his wife, Pebbles.

The riding mechanic returned to Indy-style cars in 1930 and continued through 1937. Pawl rode with 1932 Indianapolis 500 winner Fred Frame in 1936, but the car lasted only four laps.

The next year, Pawl was Tony Gulotta's riding mechanic. Gulotta had relief from two other drivers, but Pawl rode the full 200 laps.

Later in his career, Pawl became a distributor for Offy and Kurtis Kraft midgets. He built the car that Jimmy Davies drove to 16th in 1951 Indianapolis 500. The last car he worked on was the Belond Spl. that Johnnie Parsons drove in 1954 at Indy. Pawl also built the car Rodger Ward drove in the race in 1954 and Eddie Russo drove the next year.

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Closely matched: Helio Castroneves beat teammate and fellow Brazilian Gil de Ferran to the finish line in the Indianapolis 500 last May by 1.7373 seconds. But seldom have cars been so evenly matched as this pair of Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone machines.

Final timing-and-scoring figures show that in the pits Castroneves was quicker than de Ferran by .498 of a second. Castroneves' five stops lasted 3 minutes, 3.291 seconds, de Ferran's 3 minutes, 3.789 seconds. On the track, Castroneves was 1.239 seconds quicker.

The report also shows that five drivers - Sam Hornish Jr., de Ferran, Donnie Beechler, Castroneves and Jeff Ward -- each turned race laps in the 219-mph range. Hornish had the fastest lap of the race at 219.829. De Ferran's 219.769 lap was the fastest by a race leader.

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Hot laps: The longtime Memphis, Tenn.-based motorsports show, "Focus On Racing Radio," will go into national syndication Feb. 15 under the Westwood One umbrella of programs. The co-hosts of the one-hour show are Speed Channel motorsports journalist, Bob Varsha, and racing champion and producer Billy Edwards. The show's interview/preview format covers all major motorsports sanctioning bodies, including the Indy Racing League. "Focus" has aired in Memphis for the last 17 years under the guidance of award-winning creator and senior executive producer, Ron Martin ... Chris Schwartz has joined Penske Racing, Inc., as director of marketing and communications, a new position. Schwartz will manage all aspects of the team's marketing and communications activities, including sponsor management and development, news media information, licensing for the Penske Racing brand and coordinating Penske business units' participation with the team. The team fields entries for Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves in the Indy Racing League ... 1999 Indy Racing League champion Greg Ray will participate in the 23rd annual Make A Wish Foundation Softball Game on Jan. 12 in Joliet, Ill. ... An auto racing memorabilia show will take place Jan. 19-20 at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Resort and Inn in Indianapolis. Among items on display will be racing programs, tickets, pit badges, photos, books, magazines, models, posters and autographs. The hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Jan. 19 and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 20.

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Jeff Ward , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Donnie Beechler , Anthony Lazzaro , Sam Schmidt , Rick Mears , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske , Team Penske