Lazier Elated with Victory in Home State; Oldsmobile on Top at Pikes Peak FOUNTAIN, Colo., Sunday, June 17, 2001 -- Buddy Lazier displayed the form that propelled him to last season's Indy Racing Northern Light Series championship when he scored...
Lazier Elated with Victory in Home State; Oldsmobile on Top at Pikes Peak
FOUNTAIN, Colo., Sunday, June 17, 2001 -- Buddy Lazier displayed the form that propelled him to last season's Indy Racing Northern Light Series championship when he scored his fifth career IRL victory today in the Radisson Indy 200 at mile-high Pikes Peak International Raceway. Lazier, a resident of nearby Vail, Colo., celebrated his first win of the year on Father's Day with his father Bob and two-year-old son Flinn watching in the pits.
Lazier's Hemelgarn Racing Oldsmobile Dallara averaged 142.987 mph and crossed the finish line 10.108 seconds ahead of Sam Hornish Jr. in Pennzoil Panther Racing's Oldsmobile Dallara. Lazier scored Oldsmobile's 43rd IRL victory and avenged GM's only loss to Infiniti last year at the high-altitude track.
"When I first came here, I wanted it so bad that I overdrove the car," said Lazier. "Last year we had a failure on the very first lap. I've learned not to have high expectations here. I think that's why this is so sweet. Winning at home, there's nothing like it."
Oldsmobile engines dominated the 200-mile race as three Olds drivers led every lap. Polesitter Greg Ray took the point for the first four circuits, then faded with handling problems. Points leader Sam Hornish Jr. took charge in the middle portion, leading 152 laps and passing all but two cars. When Hornish's car lost its handling edge after the final round of pit stops, Lazier pounced and took the lead for good on lap 156 with an inside pass in the third turn.
"That Pennzoil car was really flying, but each pit stop we tuned our car and made it a little better," Lazier reported. "There at end we had the fastest car. We never gave up."
A scorching 140-degree track surface and 90-degree heat made the 200-mile race a test of endurance. "Today was difficult," said Lazier. "The heat made the track slippery and there's very little air to cool the engines and produce downforce. My hat's off to Speedway Engines -- they had a big day today."
IRL Aurora V8 engines prepared by Speedway Engine Development of Indianapolis powered the first, second, and fourth-place finishers. "We've found a combination that works well up here on the hill," said Speedway owner Rick Long. "We're very fortunate to have great teams that are well organized."
Hornish extended his lead over Eliseo Salazer in the championship race to 56 points with his fourth Top Four finish of the season. "After that last pit stop, the car was very loose," said Hornish. "I got lucky enough not to hit the wall. I thought it was over with and the car was going to be done. We've had a great year so far and we're doing what we need to do be a championship team. I could almost taste it. Last year I would have been thrilled to be second; this year I'm not so happy."
Billy Boat was satisfied with his fourth-place finish in Curb-Agajanian Motorsports' Oldsmobile Dallara. "We're not a big team, we don't have a ton of money," said Boat, who turned the fastest lap of the race at 167.546 mph. "But we have good people and we have a lot of heart. We know we're not going to sit on the pole, but we know we're going to have a good race car at the end of the day."
After last week's adrenaline-charged race in Texas, there were no accidents today at PPIR. There were only three caution periods -- two for debris on the track.
The next stop on the IRL schedule is the SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway on June 30. It will be the inaugural IRL event on the 3/4-mile Richmond oval. <pre> Race Summary
Track: Pikes Peak International Raceway, 1-mile oval Winner: Buddy Lazier, Hemelgarn Racing Oldsmobile Dallara Margin of Victory: 10.108 seconds Average Speed: 142.987 mph Pole: Greg Ray/Oldsmobile, 176.585 mph Fastest Lap: Billy Boat/Oldsmobile, 167.546 mph
Top Five Finishers Pos./Driver/Engine/Laps 1. Buddy Lazier/Oldsmobile, 200 laps 2. Sam Hornish Jr./Oldsmobile, 200 3. Robbie Buhl/Infiniti, 200 4. Billy Boat/Oldsmobile, 200 5. Airton Dare/Oldsmobile, 198
Manufacturer Results Laps Led: Oldsmobile 200, Infiniti 0 Starters: Oldsmobile 18, Infiniti 2 Running at Finish: Oldsmobile 14, Infiniti 2
Championship Standings (after 6 of 13 events) Driver/Engine/Points (victories in parentheses) 1. Sam Hornish Jr./Oldsmobile, 229 (2) 2. Eliseo Salazar/Oldsmobile, 173 3. Scott Sharp/Oldsmobile, 171 (1) 4. Buddy Lazier/Oldsmobile, 167 (1) 5. Felipe Giaffone/Oldsmobile, 166
Manufacturer/Points (victories in parentheses) 1. Oldsmobile, 60 (6) 2. Nissan, 42 (0)
Next Race: June 30, 2001, SunTrust Indy Challenge, Richmond, Va., .75-mile oval TV: ESPN, 8:00 p.m. EDT