IRL: Phoenix: Chevy Saturday report

Jaques Lazier is quickest Chevy qualifier in Phoenix. PHOENIX, March 22, 2003 - Jaques Lazier is glad to be back in an IndyCar Series race car after missing most of last season, and he showed his delight by qualifying Team Menard's Johns...

Jaques Lazier is quickest Chevy qualifier in Phoenix.

PHOENIX, March 22, 2003 - Jaques Lazier is glad to be back in an IndyCar Series race car after missing most of last season, and he showed his delight by qualifying Team Menard's Johns Manville Chevrolet Dallara 12th on the grid for Sunday's Purex/Dial Indy 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. With a 174.26-mph qualifying run, Lazier was the quickest of the Chevy-powered entries for the 200-mile race.

"I'm very satisfied," said Lazier. "We slowed down a little from practice this morning, but that's due to the heat. I'm very happy with the progress we've made at Team Menard.

"The result we had at Homestead (20th after an accident) was not indicative of what this team is capable of and what Chevrolet is capable of," Lazier continued. "We did some testing, we've made some gains and we have a good understanding of the chassis. We're making progress in all areas."

Seven of the 22 qualifiers used the new 3.5-liter Chevy Indy V8. Sarah Fisher was the second quickest Chevy-powered entry at 173.18 mph, placing her GM Upromise Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara 14th on the grid.

"It's been a really good weekend so far," said Sarah. "We've done a lot of full-tank running. After Homestead we realized that the race setup is a lot more important. We've made race trim the focus of our efforts. My engineer put together a good qualifying setup based on what we'd done in testing and practice, and it came out running really well."

This weekend Fisher's Dallara is carrying the colors of Upromise, a free service that helps hundreds of America's leading companies give families money back for college.

"I'm excited to have Upromise on my race car this weekend," she noted. "With the lauching of my website, we've put Upromise.com on the home page so that people can go the Upromise site and sign up due to our racing efforts."

The Purex/Dial Indy 200 will start at 1:30 p.m. MST on Sunday, March 23. The 200-mile, 200-lap race is schedule to be televised live on ABC at 3:30 p.m. EST and broadcast live on the IMS Radio Network.

CHEVY DRIVER QUOTES:

BUDDY LAZIER, Delta Faucet/Life Fitness Chevrolet Dallara, qualified 15th at 173.03 mph:
"We're just learning what the car wants for qualifying. We've had a day and a half of running, and some of the other teams have had 15 days of testing, so we're working at a deficit. The lion's share of our running was with full tanks and concentrating on the race setup. Qualifying was a roll of the dice and we missed a little bit, but not too badly. I had to get out of the throttle in Turn 1 with a big push."

BUDDY RICE, Red Bull Cheever Racing Chevrolet Dallara, qualified 16th at 172.70 mph:
"We made big gains from practice yesterday, and we got a little too aggressive on the qualifying setup. We took some downforce off the car to see if you could pick up some more speed. With the warmer temperature, we took a little too much off the rearend. I had a little slide in Turn 1 and 2 and I had to lift off the throttle. That really hurt our qualifying time. At least we'll have a lot more solid car under us for the race than we had at Homestead."

SAM HORNISH JR., Pennzoil Panther Racing Chevrolet Dallara, qualified 17th at 172.45 mph:
"Phoenix is one of the most interesting tracks we run on because it's all about having the car set up well and being able to run fast over a long period of time. We're going to have a tough race ahead of us tomorrow but we'll keep our heads up and make it to the end.

"We ran quite a bit quicker in practice this morning, so I'm not sure what changed for qualifying. The sun comes out, the track heats up. I'm doing all I can do and the team is working hard, so it's not a lack of trying. We're just a little behind, trying to figure out how to get back up there.

"GM powered us to two championships, so I can't complain. We have to work together as a group, all the Chevrolet teams, and the better we'll be. We have new things coming all the time, and it's getting better. The results may not have showed today, but I think they will in the end."

ROBBIE BUHL, Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet Dallara, qualified 19th at 170.51 mph:
"I think we have a good race car and that's what we've been focusing on. We knew we couldn't be at the front so we concentrated on our race setup. I do like my race car right now, and we'll have a lot of fans here supporting us at the Purex/Dial Indy 200, so we need to be around at the finish and be in position to do something."

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Jaques Lazier 
Teams Panther Racing , Dreyer & Reinbold Racing