IRL: Phoenix: Blair Racing race report

AVONDALE, Ariz. (March 17, 2002) Blair Racing competed today on the fastest track in the west, Phoenix International Raceway in the Indy Racing League (IRL) series. San Diego, Calif. native Alex Barron of Menifee, Calif. competed in the ATV...

AVONDALE, Ariz. (March 17, 2002) Blair Racing competed today on the fastest track in the west, Phoenix International Raceway in the Indy Racing League (IRL) series. San Diego, Calif. native Alex Barron of Menifee, Calif. competed in the ATV Copper World Indy 200. Today's race was the second race in the 2002 IRL championship that will race a total of 15 different events, including the Indianapolis 500.

Barron, driving the Chevrolet-powered by McLaren started 25th for the race on the one-mile oval. The team was racing a new car for this race -- it is not the same car that raced and finished eighth raced at Miami; this car has not been tested before. Due to new car teething problems, it had a mechanical in the fuel system during the Saturday morning practice and qualifying. The challenge ahead of Barron and Blair Racing was to get from the back to the front of the 25 car field for the 200-mile race.

Barron and the team set out to move to the front moving up ten positions by lap 24. Barron moved the Blair Racing entry into 13th on lap 45. On the restart on lap 71, Barron called into the pits with a mechanical problem. He pulled off of the track and was unable to complete the race.

"We were moving up pretty quickly (started 25, running 13th), and something broke on the rear end," said Barron. "It felt like someone had hit me from behind but that's not what happened. The car was walking all over the place. Before that we had a good car today. We found our gremlins from yesterday and we were moving up through the field. It's too bad. We were able to get good points at Homestead (8th) and wanted to do good here also. We are going to take the positive side of last week and move on to Fontana next week. John (Dick, Engineer) made more changes for the race today anticipating what the track was going to do and it was working out real well. We were moving up quick, the restarts were good, the pit stop was good and it is a shame that this happened for Blair Racing. The pit stop was tight and we had to get aggressive out there. Giaffone's (pit in front of Blair Racing) right rear guy helped us out by moving a tire out of the way; I thank them for that; it could have been a problem on the pit stop.

Blair's Indianapolis based team heads north to Southern California's fast two-mile oval, California Speedway. Barron raced for Blair on the Fontana track in 2001, running in the top-ten for over 90 laps and leading the event. The broadcast will air on the ESPN television network and on the IMS Radio Network. Check local listings.

About Fontana: "We are going to Fontana with high hopes. I ran there last year for Blair Racing (led, finished 9th) and did really well. I'm going there with a lot of confidence. I live close and a lot my family and friends will be there."

-br-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Barron